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With Dwayne Haskins being demoted from starter to third string of the Nameless Washington Football Team, I’ve read dozens of hot takes on how unfair this is, how it means he’ll never start for the team again, how it’s typical of how confused and dysfunctional the franchise is, etc.
Maybe I’m naïve, but it sure seems like a lot of people just might be missing the point.
Ron Rivera could end up doing him a favor.
Consider, for a moment, Rivera realizes the young QB has not had the benefit of summer practice, exhibition games, etc. He sees Haskins making the same mistakes over and over again and believes when you give a young QB an opportunity to start, he has to do three things: 1. Earn the respect of his teammates; 2. Put in the work to get better; 3. Take chances and make mistakes, but learn from them and grow from the experience.
It would appear No. 3 ain’t happening. And with the definition of insanity being the act of doing the same thing over and over again while expecting the results to be different, Rivera has had enough crazy. So he’s having Haskins sit, putting in a QB who knows the system and will not make the same mistakes over and over again, and perhaps while watching from the sidelines, the light will come on for Haskins.
Watch and learn, they say. I believe if he does he will get another shot this season.
A lot of it is up to Haskins. He has to be as much a leader on the sideline as a 3rd-team QB as he would be as a starter. He has to prepare as if he is going to play each week. He has to be in the team facility watching film and asking questions as if he knows he’s going to get another opportunity.
If not, that will be on him. I’m an old retired businessman and if you ask anyone my age if he’s ever been fired or demoted, fairly or unfairly in their career, the answer is going to be “several times.” For many of us, it’s what fired us up to be successful, as we went from “this is just a job” to “I’ll show them.” The greatest athlete of all time – Michael Jordan – carried a chip on his shoulder the size of an aircraft carrier his entire life to show others they were wrong about him, and he was going to bury them for that disrespect.
Dwayne Haskins now has to do that too.
I’d also add if the benching doesn’t wake him up, maybe the newspaper clips will. Some are writing that Haskins doesn’t work hard, doesn’t put in the time with film study and is not the first one to practice, a label he’s carried for more than this year. These accusations are of course noted in stories and linked to an anonymous source, which is a time-honored tradition in Washington in both politics and sports: Write something that follows a particular narrative, make up an anonymous source (or quote somebody who made up something similar) and print it.
Those on that side of the coin eagerly believe it as it confirms their bias, and it is then held up as fact until disproven. That may be happening to Haskins right now among the “we want a different QB” crowd. I can't say I know what is the truth from media reports.
But as I said, I don’t believe this is the end of Haskins. The most common thing I’ve heard over my years around sports is that the speed of the game is so much incredibly faster when you go from college to the NFL. Past Redskins QBs like Mark Rypien, Stan Humphries, etc. got to sit on the bench for a year to adjust to the change in speed.
Haskins didn’t. All I see is Rivera recognizing his QB needs to watch some and learn from his mistakes, so he’s sitting him. If he didn’t, he’d be sending Haskins out every Sunday and watching him continue to make the same mistakes over and over again while expecting the results to one day be different.
Which would REALLY be insane.