“What if” everything breaks right for the 2020 Redskins?
By Tim Meek
No. 1 – Dwayne Haskins becomes the Redskins franchise QB
Let’s look no further than Dwayne Haskins to start. In a QB driven league it’s clear that Vegas has low expectations for Haskins. In fact, even among our own fan base, there are mixed feelings over his probability of success. NBC Sports analyst Chris Simms recently ranked Dwayne Haskins as the 39th-rated QB in a 32-team league. Yeah, he’s got seven back-up’s rated higher.
But what if Haskins shows progression from year one? I’m not talking about a monumental leap to Peyton Manning status. What if he simply becomes a competent NFL QB? History tells us that playoff teams need a Top 24 QB. You read that correctly; winning is not absolutely contingent on having a Top 10 QB.
To validate my point, two of the four previous Super Bowl competing QB’s ranked 15th (Garoppolo) and 20th (Goff) in 2020 QB rating.
And it’s quite common for QB’s to take a big leap from year one. Here are a few recent examples:
- Matthew Stafford 53% completion percentage, 13 TD’s and 20 INT’s with 2,200 yards, improved to 64% completion percentage, 41 TD’s and 16 INT’s with 5,000 yards.
- Carson Palmer 60% completion percentage, 18 TD’s and 18 INT’s with 2,800 yards, improved to 68% completion percentage, 32 TD’s, 12 INT’s with 3,800 yards.
- Derek Carr 58% completion percentage, 21 TD’s and 12 INT’s with 3100 yards, improved to 61% completion percentage, 32 TD’s and 13 INT’s with 3,800 yards.
Dwayne finished the 2019 season with a 59% completion percentage, 7 TD’s and 7 INT’s, and 1,365 yards passing. But the reason for optimism comes from the steady progression he made during his first season.
Haskins was put in a tough situation to start his career by coming into games as the backup when the starter either wasn’t performing well or got hurt. He looked unprepared, uncertain, and like he didn’t belong.
Once Haskins was announced as the starter in Week 9 versus Buffalo, we witnessed a five-game stretch where he was wildly inconsistent with his accuracy and took too many sacks. But we also saw a QB that didn’t play scared. At no moment did the stage look too big for him.
Come on, Redskins fans, we know that look, we’ve seen it far too often the past 30 years. He was confident. He was much more agile than the scouting report told us. Sure he took some sacks, but he didn’t turn the ball over, with only 3 interceptions in that 5 game stretch. He also lead the team to two victories in five games. No need to remind you, but this was a season where the team only won three games.
It was the manner in which Haskins led the team to victory versus Detroit that should excite you. He made crucial third-down plays on late-game drives to tie and win the game. He made those plays with his arm and his feet.
Then we saw something special the final two games of the season. Haskins was 31 of 43 for 394 yards, with 4 TD’s and 0 INT’s over those games. He was the highest-rated QB in the league. Small sample size, sure. But he looked the part and proved he belongs.
The progression Haskins made in seven starts was nothing short of remarkable, considering the circumstances.
To win in this league, you need a franchise QB. I define a franchise QB as a player the organization is building around and is not considered a “stop-gap” player. For the purpose of this blog, I’d suggest there are 24 franchise QB’s in any given year.
The “what if” for Haskins in 2020 is simple. For the Redskins to be successful in 2020 and beyond, they need to Haskins to become one of the top 3/4 of QB’s in this league. Last year the NFL.com QB index had Dwayne ranked as the 28th ranked QB in the league. A few baby steps in 2020 will certainly get Dwayne to a level where he becomes a QB competent enough to lead his team to the playoffs.