Urban Meyer defends Dwayne Haskins: Redskins were 'a mess'

Chris Lingebach
May 13, 2020 - 4:08 pm

Dwayne Haskins again finds public support from one of his mentors in former Ohio State coach Urban Meyer, who questioned the criticisms surrounding the Redskins' second-year passer.

The Redskins wrapped up a 3-13 season – which saw three separate quarterbacks start – with four straight losses. And yet they still left on a relatively high note, with Haskins – who went 2-5 as a starter in his rookie season – looking better and better with each passing week.

Haskins' entered a turbulent situation in Washington and had to make the best of it, a point Meyer feels bears repeating.

"So it's the quarterback's fault?" Meyer told Daniel Jeremiah and Bucky Brooks on the 'Move the Sticks' podcast. "Never mind the fact that their coach got fired, the place is a mess, there's this going on, there's this going on, this going on. A lot of stuff I heard from behind the scenes – cause, once again I have several players there – yet it's Dwayne's fault."

Haskins had three former players in the building last season: Haskins, Terry McLaurin (Ohio State), and Alex Smith (Utah). Those players saw the drama unfold firsthand as the Redskins fired Jay Gruden in season following an 0-5 start, only to turn the team over to running-obsessed Bill Callahan, before the calamitous season resulted in the firing of longtime team president Bruce Allen.

Meyer made a point to repeat something he's said previously this offseason. In order for Haskins to be great, the Redskins need to surround him with great players. Only this time around, Meyer left nothing up to interpretation.

"I hate to be so simplistic on this, but you better surround (Haskins) with some really good players," Meyer said. "The NFL is amazing to me is that the minute a team, they draft a quarterback, they put him on a very bad team, or there are a lot of culture issues. Which I, I don't want to start throwing stones, but I do know. I talk to my guys. I talk to a lot of these players.

"So it's the quarterback's fault now that their coach got fired after what, (Week 5). They were in complete disarray and it's the quarterback's fault now. I wish college was that easy. For some reason it's not the quarterback's fault, it's the coach's fault. To me it's about culture and leadership."

"You want Dwayne to be a great player?" he said. "Surround him with some really great players. Surround him with a really elite culture."

"Why does the New England Patriots... there's teams in the NFL that have far greater players – they have to, cause they draft every year ahead of them," Meyer went on. "So, on paper, there's teams that have been drafting ahead of the New England Patriots for 15 years. Yet they can't beat them.

"What, so they're bad players? No, there's something else there. It's called an elite culture, elite leadership. They don't have that. There's something wrong with the organization. You want Dwayne to be great? Put a lot of greatness around him. That's the one common denominator of all great quarterbacks, they have great players around them."

And the same goes for another of Meyer's former quarterbacks, Joe Burrow.

"Joe Burrow, he's at the Cincinnati Bengals now and they were 2-14 last year," Meyer said. "You want to know how Joe Burrow's gonna become great? Surround him with a great culture, with great leadership, and some great players, he'll be great. If not, he won't."

That last line is strikingly similar to what Meyer said about Haskins in April: "Will they surround him with excellent players? If they surround him with excellent players, he'll be a great quarterback. If they don't, he won't."

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