By: Ryan Cooley
The Washington Football Team lost its first game of the season. This battle would be a challenging one to win, as the Cardinals have much more talent. The score looked closer than the game actually was. Dwayne Haskins finished 19 of 33 for 223 yards with one TD and one fumble. This was the second straight week he struggled. Many fans are becoming frustrated with Haskins’ lack of production. He had a full offseason to develop, yet his numbers are worse than last year.
There have been numerous excuses for his poor play, and most are valid. Haskins has one of the worst supporting casts in the league. The offensive line has struggled immensely in the first two weeks as they have allowed pressure on 35.1% of dropbacks (3rd most in the NFL). Outside of McLaurin, the WRs have not been able to separate consistently. You cannot expect a young QB to light up the scoreboard and stat sheet with the lack of talent surrounding him.
No More Excuses
However, at some point, you have to stop making excuses for him. Pro Football Focus grades are based on individual performances, not a unit as a whole. Haskins had a 52.8-grade week one and a 46.1-grade in week two, with an overall grade of 47.3 on the season. If you don’t know much about PFF’s grading scale, know that a 47.3 is a terrible mark. That is the second-worst grade in the league; only Carson Wentz is behind him.
Some like to put most of the blame on the offensive line, which I mentioned is not talented. Nevertheless, Haskins has a lower grade (45.2) throwing from a clean pocket than he does under pressure (53.0).
Haskins was a raw prospect coming out of Ohio State, and most knew after his first game, it was going to take time until he reached his potential. He was consistently getting better with each start in 2019. In the last two games of 2019, he played exceptionally well, and most believed it was going to carry into 2020. This is why his performance this season is so frustrating. He has been nowhere near the level he was at in weeks 15 and 16 of 2019.
It is not the time to give up on Haskins, as there are still 14 games left to evaluate him. However, it is frustrating to see other young QBs have success while he struggles. Justin Herbert, who, like Haskins, is a very raw prospect, found out ten seconds before kickoff he was starting. He then went toe-to-toe with Partick Mahomes and nearly won the game. Yes, I recognize the Chargers have much better weapons than Washington. However, without a real offseason in his rookie year and only the second game of the season, Herbert managed a higher grade than both Haskins games.
It will be interesting to see how much longer Rivera and Scott Turner give Haskins. It may be the rest of the season, or they may decide to provide Kyle Allen or Alex Smith a chance if he continues to struggle. I want to reiterate that I am not saying Haskins should be benched, or Washington should move on. I am merely saying that he needs to play much better, and at some point, we need to stop with excuses.