Fierce debate perfectly shows polarization around Dwayne Haskins (listen)

Chris Lingebach
April 09, 2020 - 5:53 pm

Nothing quite captures the polarization around the Redskins quarterback position than this conversation from 106.7 The Fan on Thursday.

A roundtable discussion between 106.7 The Fan's Chris Russell, Earl Forcey and Pete Medhurst yielded a fiery debate about Dwayne Haskins and whether he's the future for the Redskins.

"The staff at Ohio State thought that Dwayne Haskins was better than Joe Burrow," Medhurst said. "So at some point, somebody who knows what they hell they're doing showed some confidence and saw the skills of Dwayne Haskins at Ohio State and said 'this is our guy.' Now granted, Joe Burrow went and got in Joe Brady's offense and looked 10 times the quarterback that he was the previous year in a different offense."

"I'm not saying Dwayne is gonna be Joe, and I'm not saying Joe's gonna come to the pros and do what he did at LSU, because I think you're a fool if you think that guy's coming into that Bengals situation as it stands right now and is gonna play that way," he said.

"You've got a broken down A.J. Green," Medhurst continued. "You've got a running back situation that's okay, but nothing that you would call otherworldly. So if you think Joe Burrow's gonna come in there and look like that, he's gonna get the same criticisms that we were harping on Dwayne Haskins (for) over six games in the NFL this year.

"I think Dwayne Haskins deserves to have more of a sample size before we convict him of not being an NFL quarterback. I know the topic this week was, 'Oh, he tweeted the picture that he took with the fans in the stands.' We're in the middle of a pandemic! We're not doing anything! What does that hurt?"

"Who brought that up on Twitter, Pete?" Forcey asked.

"That was me. I wrote a column about it," Russell admitted. "I gotta be honest with you, it kind of irked me."

Haskins this week reposed the controversial selfie he took with Redskins fans, which famously caused him to miss the final series as time expired in their Week 12 win over the Detroit Lions. Haskins then dubbed himself "a closer" after securing his first NFL victory.

Hate it or Love it, the underdogs on top.. #HTTR

A post shared by Dwayne Haskins, Jr. -- (@dh_simba7) on

"Why?! What does it hurt?" Medhurst gasped. "Chris, what does it hurt in the middle of a pandemic?"

"Let me explain. And it irked more than just me. I'll leave it at that," Russell said of the repost. "Everybody knows that was a... you don't do that in football. He admitted days after that, 'Look, I learned a lesson. I'll never do it again.' Whatever exactly his quote was. Bill Callahan, and I know he was just the interim head coach, he was very clear about how disappointed he was."

"It became a national spectacle," he continued. "It was a dumb thing to do. It was a dumb, immature thing to do. And for him to go do that five months later, to repost it, and to caption it however he captioned it. No crime was committed. He did nothing awful, let's start with that. But to me it shows a lack of maturity, and this is a major, major, major criticism and concern that people around the NFL have. And I think it's a major criticism or concern that even Urban Meyer had.

"I think it's a concern/criticism that Jay Gruden and Kyle Smith had last year. And who is the general manger right now? Essentially the de facto general manager. I think there are people – whether they're right or wrong – that see a lot of phoniness in Dwayne Haskins. Again, they don't have to be right, but these same people were screamed at when they said the same thing essentially about Robert Griffin III, and that pretty much got exposed and served up on a silver platter."

"Then why did Urban Meyer play him and say, basically, 'Joe, it's okay for you to leave,' Medhurst protested. "If they had any concerns about Haskins..."

"Because at 19 or 20, Pete, you can play a kid and expect that he's gonna be a little bit immature if he's got enormous raw talent," Russell said.

"The guy threw 50 fricking touchdowns!" Medhurst exclaimed.

"Right, exactly," Russell said. "But that doesn't have anything to do with maturity."

Russell went on to say he thought Haskins was the best quarterback in the 2019 NFL Draft, and even ranked him ahead of Arizona's Kyler Murray.

"But to me," he went on to say, "one of the things that I did not know enough about when it came to evaluating Dwayne Haskins was what now I know, and what I've seen cases and examples of, and what others around the NFL and in that building have said, on and off the record, and that is he's got a lot of maturity issues, he needs to grow up and they don't fully trust him. Period.

"And they're not sure how hard he works. So these are all the criticisms and all the things that we have to keep in mind. Nobody is questioning how talented Dwayne Haskins is.

"As a matter of fact, the only thing I can question, quite honestly, he might hold onto the ball – as a matter of fact, I think he does – he holds onto the ball too long, but that's okay. That's a young kid trying to learn the offense, trying to learn how to play at NFL speed. That's gonna get better. But that's the only question that I have from a pure football standpoint."

"All the other intangible stuff, I gotta be honest with you, I and many others have questions about," Russell said.

Russell went on to mention he didn't interpret Ron Rivera's recent comments as an indication that Haskins is the starter, as others have. Rather, Russell said the Redskins "are gonna have to see this kid burn rubber, and they are gonna have to see this kid really work his ass off."

"And again, I'll just keep saying: they have their doubts," he added. "It's not to say that they've made a decision one way or the other. I truly don't believe they have. They have their doubts and they have their reservations. Period."