ASHBURN, go. — If there was any doubt in the Washington organization about coach Ron Rivera, he was fired on Monday. He asked team owner Daniel Snyder if he could release quarterback Dwayne Haskins Jr., a player who is known to love Snyder and who had included him in the selection draw in 2019 (against the wishes of his players).
But for this franchise to take a step forward, Snyder needs to hear the same voice he heard Monday morning. Not to mention the scouts who work all year round to evaluate the quaternary game, both in college and in the NFL.
The main reason why Washington hasn’t been a consistent winner since the early nineties remains the quarterback position. When Taylor Heinicke starts Sunday’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles (20:20 p.m., NBC), he becomes the 31st player to do so. Quarterback behind a game for Washington since 1993.
Here is what the post-season range looks like now and what the future scenarios are.
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This season, Washington needs to find a quarterback they can build up. The team still has Alex Smith, one of the best players in a long time, who has played a key role in their run to the playoffs. But what is his future as an effective NFL starter? Washington can save $13.6 million by cutting Smith.
When it comes to the quarterback’s next decision, Snyder must trust his soccer team. He is lobbying for an exchange with Donovan McNabb; he is lobbying for the selection of Robert Griffin III. Sometimes there was a push, sometimes not enough. Snyder signed Jeff George in 2000 after Brad Johnson had one of his best seasons as Washington quarterback in a decade. None of these moves worked, although Griffin delivered a memorable season.
Snyder has a chance to build something positive for a few years. Washington’s defensive line may anchor the unit for a while and become one of the best in the NFL. The team doesn’t need a sensational move to sell tickets; rookie goalie Chase Young could be a star to lean on. Washington needs a quarterback the football team’s talking about: Yeah, we can definitely win with him. Then Snyder has to do what he did on Monday. Listen.
MORE: The NFL world is responding to Dwayne Haskins’ resignation by Washington.
The Scouts in Washington have listed several good projects. They know what they’re doing, the coaches know what kind of quarterback they want. If they are allowed to marry their wishes, they have a better chance of finding their partner.
With Snyder facing lawsuits and disputes with his minority owners, this is the best time for Rivera to exercise his power.
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Jeff Saturday responded to Washington’s decision to fire QB Dwayne Haskins.
Rivera could have done this last week after Haskins committed his second COVID-19 offense. He was unmasked at his girlfriend’s birthday party. Given the tension in Smith’s right calf, the last thing Washington needed was to risk someone for COWID-19 and jeopardize the team’s chances of winning NFC East. Haskins thought it was selfish and immature.
But Rivera, backed by Haskins’ solid fourth quarter against Seattle the day before, chose to keep it close. Even though he went against his sermon, he is confused in his desire to give the other 52 players the best chance of winning. He always thought Haskins, after Smith, offered that opportunity. Other members of the organisation agree.
It is also true that the 23-year-old Haskins was recruited in the first round last year by the wrong organization. He came to a team in Washington where the coach (Jay Gruden) had to win to keep his job, but Haskins was a prospect who needed time to develop. It’s hard to hide a quarterback from the first round for so long, especially in Washington. It was a bad marriage that failed from the beginning.
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Then, in his second season, Haskins was on Rivera’s staff, who inherited him and had to use him in the off-season, which prevented him from taking the field with him. The coaches were intrigued by him, but they were not married to him.
Haskins made it difficult for himself by not doing what the coaches wanted him to do off the field. He should follow that advice to succeed in the NFL. Some of the staff in Washington thought they could talk to Haskins; they just wondered how much he listened or heard them.
Since his arrival in Washington, Haskins has said a lot of right things about the type of player he wants to be, and he has said he wants to be included in the Professional Football Hall of Fame. But he had to live the kind of life that players like him lead, and spend more time and energy doing more than talking. Perhaps, away from the distractions of playing in his hometown, and after a self-examination, he will be able to do it elsewhere.
He’s young and talented enough to have a better chance. As far as Mr. Haskins is concerned, a fresh start is to be welcomed.
But for Snyder, this new start will do what he did on Monday: rely on his best football player at Rivera.
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