Washington Benching Dwayne Haskins, Starting Alex Smith?

Washington Benching Dwayne Haskins, Starting Alex Smith?

The Washington Football Team suffered their second loss of the season last Sunday. After falling to an up-and-coming Arizona Cardinals group in Week 2, they got absolutely stream rolled by the often hapless Cleveland Browns in Week 3.

Almost immediately after the game, questions began to swirl around starting quarterback Dwayne Haskins.

The former Ohio State star entered the proceedings with no interceptions, but ultimately threw three in the losing effort. His stat line against a Browns defense that ranks in the bottom half of the league against the pass was not pretty: two scores, three picks, 224 yards on 21 of 37 passing and a 58.8 passer rating.

Sunday’s performance did not inspire confidence in his long term viability as a starter on the part of many observers, including his head coach.

Initially, after the game, Ron Rivera supported his young quarterback.

“The truth of the matter is how is he going to learn?” he said.

“Is he going to learn by taking the show team snaps? No. The only way he can learn and we can truly find out where Dwayne is and what he can do for us is to put him back on the football field and let him get exposed.”

On Monday, the tone of Rivera’s comments changed.

“There are guys in that locker room that are playing well enough for us to win,” he said.

“There is a cut-off point for me. There is.”

Coming into the season, odds makers had Haskins listed as the favorite to be the first starting quarterback benched at +150. He was ahead of guys like Mitch Trubisky of the Chicago Bears at +250 and Tyrod Taylor of the Los Angeles Chargers at +500.

To be fair, there are certain people out there who believe benching Haskins at this juncture is premature.

One of those people? JP Finlay.

“The real question becomes, ‘is it time to bench Dwayne Haskins,’” Finlay said.

“I want to unequivocally say no to that, it is not time to bench Dwayne Haskins.

“We all know 2020 is about a referendum on the 15th overall pick from 2019. The 2019 season was a wash for this kid… Now he’s got Ron. Ron is trying to nurture him, Ron is trying to develop him. They have a coaching staff in place that’s trying to work with Haskins to get the most out of his game.”

The big question is: will benching Haskins actually fix anything?

Offensive coordinator Scott Turner’s play calling has come under extreme scrutiny. It underutilizes the team’s weapons while simultaneously being very predictable. Part of that is obviously the fault of Haskins’ execution, but the other part of it is on Turner himself.

Moreover, would Alex Smith or Kyle Allen really be an improvement at this stage? The latter threw for 17 touchdowns and 16 picks in his 13 outings with the Carolina Panthers last season. The former went 6-3 with the then-Washington Redskins before his horrific leg injury, but hasn’t actually played a meaningful game in years.

There is certainly a case to be made for upgrading from Haskins, but it is difficult to look at the quarterbacks on Washington’s roster and make a legitimate argument that they are upgrades.

One way or another, the team will likely ride it out with Haskins for a few more weeks. But three out of their next five outings are shaping up to be losses. If they don’t pull out one of them, plus both of their looming showdowns against the terrible New York Giants, Haskins may ultimately end up forcing Rivera’s hand.

Related: Earl Thomas And Texans Hit Roadblock, Is He Signing With Cowboys?

Charles Kruger

Charles Kruger has been credentialed to cover two Super Bowls, four NBA Finals, and one World Series. A 20-year veteran in the sports world, he has sources spanning the NBA, MLB, NFL, UFC and NASCAR. Currently residing in Los Angeles, Calif., he is Game 7's go-to source for rumors surrounding the Lakers, Clippers and Dodgers.

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