With O’Connell departing, how committed are the Redskins to Haskins?

The Fan News Desk
January 08, 2020 - 9:23 am

The Washington Redskins parted ways with offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell and hired Scott Turner on Tuesday, leaving quarterback Dwayne Haskins to learn a new system before the 2020 season.

O’Connell was given the opportunity to call plays after Jay Gruden was fired in October and watched Haskins have some success. With Ron Rivera opting to hire his own coordinator, though, it’s unclear how committed the Redskins are to Haskins, NBC Sports Washington’s JP Finlay told The Sports Junkies. 

In an interview with 106.7 The Fan’s Chad Dukes shortly after being hired, Rivera listed Alex Smith, Colt McCoy, Case Keenum and Haskins as quarterback possibilities, fueling speculation about Haskins’ future with the team. 

“I was pretty surprised by that,” Finlay said. “And then you get rid of the guy that had found a little bit of success with Dwayne late in the year, and I kind of wonder what the commitment to Dwayne is too.” 

Haskins struggled at times in 2019 and played behind an offensive line that allowed 29 sacks. However, he showed improvement under O’Connell. Haskins was 60-for-95 for 711 yards and five touchdowns in the final four games of the season. 

Turner will almost certainly have full autonomy on the offensive side of the ball and is likely planning to completely revamp the offense, Finlay said. He is also expected to bring in a veteran quarterbacks coach. Ken Zampese interviewed for the job this week, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported.

But given the franchise’s offseason moves - notably parting ways with team president Bruce Allen and trainer Larry Hess - it’s clear helping Haskins develop wasn’t owner Dan Snyder’s offseason priority, Finlay told the Junkies.

“If you just look at everything that’s happened in the last week, I think it’s hard to say (developing Haskins is) still the number one priority,” Finlay said on 106.7 The Fan Wednesday. “The number one priority has changed to overhauling the culture. That’s become obvious.” 

Despite the changes to the staff, Haskins is excited about playing under Rivera, Finlay said. It’s likely Haskins remains a viable option to start next season, but given the course of the offseason, that much might not be guaranteed. 

“It’s entirely possible this is just a hard reset on Dwayne Haskins and he has to come in and show that he’s the guy and earn everything and it’ll work out completely fine,” Finlay said. “That’s probably the most likely course, but you’ve got to wonder what else is going on when you see the moves they’ve made in a week.” 

Some Redskins fans expressed frustration with the Turner hiring, wondering whether Haskins would be able to immediately thrive after being asked to learn new offense. The concern is justified, but Finlay said O’Connell and Turner are both at the same point in their careers and aren’t well-established offensive coordinators.

“(The fan reaction) makes sense, but the Redskins have been bad, and when you’re a coach coming in from another organization and you’re tasked with overhauling the culture, which is the word we heard a number of times through Rivera’s introductory press conference, you’re going to make some decisions that not everybody’s going to like,” Finlay said.

When the Junkies asked Finlay who would be sitting in the Redskins quarterback room next season, he was unsure beyond Haskins and Alex Smith, who are both under contract.

“You’d have to think they bring in a veteran backup to Dwayne, but who knows,” Finlay told the Junkies.

Listen to the full interview below.

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