Baldinger: Tough to grade Haskins because Redskins are bad

Ben Krimmel
November 22, 2019 - 2:41 pm

In the life of an NFL quarterback, just two starts is practically nothing.

But with just 16 games a season (for now), time moves pretty fast around here. And if you don't stop to look around once in a while, you could miss out.

And while Dwayne Haskins has thrown just 79 career passes through four games, the thorough evaluation process of the rookie passer is now underway. And with the Washington Redskins on the way to securing a top-3 pick in a draft headlined by some "cant' miss" QB talents, there is a lot riding on Haskins making a solid impression.

So what grade would Haskins receive? "It's kind of an incomplete," Radio.com Sports NFL Insider Brian Baldinger told Grant & Danny Friday.

Why incomplete? Because the situation Haskins finds himself in is not conducive to success, especially with Washington's lack of WR talent. 

"They have one elite receiver in Terry McLaurin, and he's a rookie, I don't think they feed him (the ball) enough," Baldinger said. "The offensive line has been a mess, the whole coaching thing has been a mess. So, I mean, it's kinda unfair. I mean they didn't want to play him this year, there's questions about who really wanted him within the organization. But he's clearly got a good arm and I think he's got a good head for the game. But they're playing from behind almost every single week and it's just tough right now, it's tough to really evaluate a guy like that. Is he improving? Is he just trying to get by with what he knows?"

On top of that, Haskins' college experience is so limited, there is not much to look back on. 

"And if you just played one year of college football it is just not a lot to go on," Baldinger added about Haskins' time at Ohio State. "He played in a couple of big games in his whole life and every Sunday now is a big game against a superior opponent. So it's just really hard to kinda evaluate what he can do right now 'cause they're just throwing him in there and it's not a good team around him at all."

Fortunately for Haskins, there is one person in the building at Redskins Park who understands what he is going through, former No. 1 overall pick Alex Smith.

“It’s hard as a rookie quarterback, being a first-round pick (with) the expectations,” Smith told Larry Michael. “When I walked in the building, I had to try to be somebody that I thought I needed to be.”

"You’re inherently thrust into a leadership position,” Smith said. “Nobody affects the game more than the quarterback. The entire team, the entire organization is trusting you not only to make great decisions but be accurate with the football, to be on time. These are split-second things.”

And while things on the field are moving at a lightning-quick pace for the young quarterback, Smith said it took him “years” to figure out how to be his own man in the NFL. The veteran's advice for the rookie: focus on what makes him comfortable.

“This has always been my message to Dwayne: ‘I think you need to focus on what really important, and that’s playing well,’” Smith told Michael. “Preparing himself to go play, don’t worry about the rest of the noise. In fact, eliminate it. Try to eliminate as much of the outside noise as possible. Because all your teammates really care about is going out and executing.”

However, patience isn't always afforded to every quarterback equally. And with a new coaching staff coming in for Haskins' second season, the situation could change drastically between now and Week 1 in 2020. And how drastic those changes depends on how well Haskins plays the rest of 2019.

Follow @BenKrimmel and @1067theFan on Twitter.

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