Ron Rivera shows understanding of long-term plan with comments about Cam Newton
Ron Rivera praised Cam Newton in a recent interview. But he also showed an understanding that rolling with Dwayne Haskins in 2020 was absolutely the right choice for the Redskins.
Cam Newton was never a realistic option for the Washington Redskins during the 2020 offseason. After his release from the Carolina Panthers, Newton’s name was connected to the team largely because of his relationship with Washington’s new head coach, Ron Rivera. But the reality is that a marriage between the two sides probably wouldn’t have worked out.
Don’t believe me? Just ask Rivera himself.
In a recent interview on 670 The Score in Chicago, Rivera spoke about Newton signing with the New England Patriots. And while Rivera did admit that he is a big fan of Newton’s and would’ve considered signing him, he said that the circumstances in Washington simply didn’t allow the team to add the 2015 MVP to the roster.
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"Honestly, if the circumstances would have allowed us, I would have had no issues with [signing Newton]. I would have been very confident and comfortable in going after him and bringing him to be part of what we’re doing here. To me, those circumstances would have been going through an opportunity to see what we have in Dwayne."
Essentially, the Redskins had a choice. They could sign Newton and hope that he returns to form after battling injuries for a couple of seasons or roll with their 2019 first-round pick at quarterback.
For Rivera, choosing Dwayne Haskins was a no-brainer for one simple reason. The Redskins simply need to know what they have in Haskins so they can plan accordingly for the future.
"We’ve been in this tough situation because there was a number of veteran guys that we liked, but we have to find out what we have in the young guy, and that’s the benefit of being a new head coach is that we can go ahead and we can be patient. We can put these guys through workouts and get to know what we have and feel good about it or don’t feel good about it, and then we’ve got to go out and make some changes.But until we get that opportunity to know what we have, it would have been very hard to bring in a guy who’s had such a solid career, who was league MVP at one time [in 2015], and expect the young guy to get chances to grow. So I just felt that because of our circumstances we could play this slow — and good for [Newton], he went to New England, which I think is going to be a great spot for him and I think he’s going to have a lot of success."
Rivera’s comments as a whole are spot on. Haskins needs a chance to prove himself in the NFL. He had a rocky rookie season, but he was a raw, one-year college starter coming into the league. He has a lot of arm talent and if he can show growth, it’s possible that the ‘Skins will have their quarterback of the future. And he’ll be given a chance to showcase that on the field in 2020.
But if the Redskins sat Haskins for another year behind a guy like Newton, it could’ve stunted his growth further. He may have developed behind the scenes, but the team would then have just three years at most to evaluate whether or not he was the quarterback of the future. And the Redskins probably don’t want to go through another Kirk Cousins-type negotiation, so it makes sense to have Haskins on the field in 2020.
And besides, signing Newton to a deal wouldn’t have necessarily made the Redskins contenders in the NFC East. It would’ve just tied up more money at the quarterback position for an injury-prone passer.
Overall, the Redskins made smart choices at quarterback this offseason. Acquiring Kyle Allen, a young backup with experience in Scott Turner‘s offense, was a shrewd move by the Redskins staff. So too was the decision not to chase Newton. Could Newton have a bounce-back year in New England? Sure. But even if he had come to Washington and played well, he’d still be blocking Haskins’ path to the starting job. And that could’ve further delayed the team’s biggest goal under Rivera: finding a direction.
Rivera’s praise of Newton is certainly noteworthy, but his understanding of the team’s long-term plan is the biggest thing that Redskins fans can take away from his recent interview. Rivera is set to roll with Haskins this season, and his performance will determine whether or not the team needs to find a new quarterback come the 2021 offseason.