What do you do with a quarterback who has all the talent to succeed at the NFL level, but who lacks the maturity and intelligence to ‘put it all together’, so to speak? Generally, you draft them in the first round and then realize within three or four years that you made a mistake—or five if you’re unlucky. If you actually sign them to a second contract that you can’t get out of, then that’s on you.
Washington head coach Ron Rivera wasn’t about to play that game with a quarterback that he didn’t even draft in Dwayne Haskins. The veteran head coach waived the second-year quarterback before the 2020 season was even over. He signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers earlier this week.
Andrew Fillipponi and Chris Mueller on The Fan earlier this week interviewed Michael Phillips, who has covered the Washington Football Team, to discuss the signing and of what kind of worker the young quarterback is.
“I will say this. He worked, hard, but not smart, if that makes sense”, he said. “He would go in there, he would watch the film, he would spend the time with the coaches, but then they would run the play on Sunday and you just got the sense of, like, ‘oh shoot, he doesn’t know what’s going on’”.
He cited an example of a pick play in which he threw to the receiver who was carrying out the pick, rather than the player running around the pick, thinking that is who he was supposed to throw it to. Assuming this is factual and not apocryphal, it’s an example of the lack of understanding he possesses in running an offense.
“That’s something you build over the course of a long offseason of studying. His work is cut out for him. He won’t be ready to start week one of 2021”, Phillips said. “The talent is unquestionably there. You wonder if he can fit into an NFL offense with its complexities. Defenses were figuring out what to key on with this guy. I don’t know if it’s doable or not. I think that’s what the Steelers are gonna have to figure out over the next nine months”.
Of course, the Steelers didn’t sign him to start, or to be their future. They signed him to be one of a number of futures deals, basically one-year, minimal-risk deals, and if he doesn’t pan out, then he doesn’t pan out.
It’s obvious that if Haskins is going to make a career for himself, then there is a lot of work to do to get him to where he should be. It’s up to him to put in that work.