SNIDER: Redskins' huddle isn’t an inner circle

Rick Snider
November 20, 2019 - 4:11 pm
Redskins' huddle isn’t an inner circle

Will Newton/Getty Images

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You've all seen the photo of Redskins offensive linemen essentially rolling their eyes when quarterback Dwayne Haskins came by on the sideline during Sunday's loss to the New York Jets. The easy translation – go away.

Now tackle Morgan Moses later said there was no malice intended against the rookie. But then, how often does someone cover for a teammate? Answer – all the time.

Read the photo for what it was – disgust. The linemen are getting pounded while a rookie passer tries not to lose a game. They know Haskins isn't the only reason the team is now 1-9, but he's part of it. So rook, take it down the sideline somewhere else while the big men talk.

Ugh, not a good look.

It's not easy for a rookie passer to command respect in the huddle when the team is losing. Players spend nine months annually trying to get better, to win games. In Washington, it's about as productive as time behind bars.

"It's going to be a learning process," said coach Bill Callahan of Haskins, "and those are some of the growing pains that you go through."

Those growing pains may last awhile. Callahan declined to provide a hard figure on Wednesday over how long it takes to know whether a rookie passer will succeed. To be fair, it differs with everyone. Callahan said it's based on a "body of work" rather than a specified number of games.

Indeed, it takes time to earn respect in the NFL. Only a few players on a team are often widely respected by their peers. The Redskins watched Arian Peterson very closely after arriving last year. They know Peterson is a first-ballot Pro Football Hall of Famer and even the way he warms up is noticed.

It has been that way around Redskins Park for decades. When a big free agent like Deion Sanders was signed, teammates took notice. When Bruce Smith arrived that same 1999 season, young players noticed he wasn't big on practice. It all sets a tone.

But the Redskins are short on Canton candidates nowadays and that sets a tone for lackluster practices. Oh, Callahan said the team is working hard despite poor results on Sundays, but there has never been a sense of urgency for years around Redskins Park. It doesn't seem to have picked up after Callahan became interim head coach last month. Indeed, Callahan was upset over a lethargic lineman drill on Wednesday and barked to show more intensity.

Given all that, a rookie quarterback isn't instantly welcomed into a veteran inner circle. Maybe after he's won a few games, stolen a couple victories late, they'll line up behind Haskins. Until then, he can sit alone on the bench.

Rick Snider has covered Washington sports since 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @Snide_Remarks

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