Thursday, January 28, 2021

Why Dwayne Haskins was released by Washington

Not two years into his NFL career, young signal caller Dwayne Haskins has been released by the Washington Football Team. The 15th overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft has not had much success so far in his NFL career. In fact, it could be argued that Haskins is a NFL draft bust, however, I think thats a little too premature. In this article, we look at the possible reasons why Washington Football Team released their young QB and where he could possibly go from here.

A lack of support in an arguably toxic franchise

We’ll start with something that seems fairly obvious to many examining the fate of Haskins. It was painfully obvious that when Ron Riviera took over as the Head Coach for Washington, he had little to no faith in Haskins as his starting QB. We have seen it time and time again from NFL teams, most recently the Arizona Cardinals, that just because you were taken in the first round, doesn’t mean your place on the team is guaranteed.

The Cardinals did the same with Josh Rosen and that should have been enough of a warning for Haskins that it could happen to anyone at anytime. No matter how good an NFL player you are, it would be hard to succeed without the backing of your head coach.

Before the 2019 NFL draft, scouts pinned Dwayne Haskins as one of the best prospects of that years draft, wowing NFL scouts as he took the helm in college and guided his team to victory. His college stats seemed to back that up too; netting a 13-1 W/L record and a 54/9TD interception rate as the QB for Ohio State. At face value, it seems that Haskins had the raw talent needed to succeed in the NFL. However, when he was drafted by Washington, the franchise was already starting to suffer from big changes.

Dwayne Haskins and Josh Rosen are in the same boat
Dwayne Haskins and Josh Rosen are in the same boat

A change in franchise name, new back office staff, some pretty damning rumours and a new coaching crew didn’t give the young QB the best start to NFL life. A lack of offensive weapons and poor protection did not help Haskins at the next level either. It could be safely argued that WFT did not provide the tools needed for Haskins to realise his full potential after he was drafted in 2019, both on and off then field.

But what Haskins lacked most of all was structure. If you look back now at all the successful NFL quarterbacks such as Aaron Rodgers, Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen, they had a structure with which to grow and develop. Rodgers had Brett Favre to mentor him (when he felt like it) and Patrick Mahomes sat behind Alex Smith, who helped nurture him into the calibre of player that he is today.

Josh Allen is now in the running for this years MVP award because Buffalo invested in his talent and provided him with the tools needed to be successful. The one thing these three QB’s have in common is that the power and influence of their franchise got behind them and backed them up.

It feels like Dwayne Haskins hasn’t had that level of structure or support from WFT back office. Ron Riviera’s criticisms of Haskins were often scathing, with one memorable quote being “when’s he’s good, he’s good, but when he’s off, he’s horribly off.” I think that says it all in fairness. It seemed that from the beginning of the regular NFL season, Washington was not prepared to back up their young QB.

Dwayne Haskins Poor attitude, work ethic and performance

In the eyes of many NFL commentators, Haskins only has himself to blame for being released by Washington. It would seem the last straw came when he was caught in a party not wearing a mask, surrounded by people not wearing masks. The way the NFL, Washington, and hell any other franchise would see this is that you’re putting your other team mates at risk of infection instead of just following the rules.

His performance in recent weeks did not help that situation either, ultimately forcing Riviera and WFT hand in releasing him. Even though he did go to make a grovelling apology, while wearing a mask, it seemed like the damage had already been done and his tenure in Washington was all but over. When you’re the face of franchise, then the media will take every opportunity to shoot you down.

But what is interesting, is Washington should have seen the red flags surrounding Haskins on Draft Day. I think was 100% convinced that the New York Giants were going to draft him with the sixth overall pick in 2019. It came a shock to him, NFL fans and anyone watching when they decided to go a different direction and draft Daniel Jones instead of him.

In hindsight, this turned out to be a solid move by the Giants, even though they garnered a lot of criticism at the time. Truth be told, Haskins grew up as a Giants fan and when they entered the 2019 Draft looking for a quarterback, Haskins must have thought he had hit solid gold.

Dwayne Haskins was forced to sit there as other prospects were drafted before him and his stock quickly fell. When Washington was on the clock with the 15th pick, they selected Haskins as the QB of the future. But if you go back and watch it now, it seemed to me that he really didn’t want to be picked up by Washington. It took him what seemed like forever to put the hat on and looked almost as displeased as Eli Manning was when he was drafted by the Chargers. If a player starts his tenure with a franchise like that, then management really need to look a little closely at their draft pick.

Haskins has struggled to develop as an NFL signal caller. Although his stats with Washington are not woeful by any means, throwing for 2,804 yards in two seasons with a 12/14 TD/INT ratio, his poor leadership skills and immaturity on the football field did not inspire his team mates to follow him. To succeed as an NFL quarterback takes a certain level of maturity, leadership and athletic ability. You have to prove that you can become the face of the franchise and handle all the criticism that is thrown at you. I believe that is what makes a good NFL quarterback.

Dwayne Haskins may get 1 more chance
Dwayne Haskins may get 1 more chance

More worryingly, he seems to be teetering on the line of becoming the new Johnny Manziel. Although that may be an overreaction, he needs to be careful spending his time in clubs, especially during a pandemic, when he should be putting the work in i It is this lack of thought that would raise red flags for potential teams looking to hire him. Although everyone is allowed a blow out every so often, it is the lack of thought and maturity that really saw him push from Washington.

What’s next for Dwayne Haskins?

It has already been reported that a number of NFL teams are interested in the rookie QB, with Carolina being one of them. Should Carolina sign Haskins, then it is a likely scenario that he will sit behind Teddy Bridgewater and continue to learn and develop. However, his contract will likely cause any potential teams to hesitate in signing him. However, should the Panthers take the plunge, then it would be the best scenario for both the franchise and for Haskins. They would not have to commit to a new face in the Draft and Haskins can learn under a veteran.

The first thing Dwayne Haskins needs to do work at restoring the faith with both potential teams and with the NFL fan base as a whole. Flaunting the COVID-19 rules is a sure fire way of broadcasting that you have the potential to go rouge sometimes and this is an image that needs to be straightened out as soon as possible.

As I said earlier, it is unfair to call Dwayne Haskins a bust, however, he has a lot of work to do to prove himself as a legitimate NFL QB.

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