Football Team

Wright attributes Haskins' halftime speech to one specific moment

Football Team

The story has been well-told by now.

With Washington down double digits at halftime on Sunday to the rival Philadelphia Eagles, head coach Ron Rivera was unable to address his team because he was receiving an IV for his cancer treatment. In his place, second-year quarterback Dwayne Haskins, who was just named captain, delivered by all accounts an awe-inspiring speech during the intermission.

Washington came out firing on all cylinders in the second half, scoring a total of 27 unanswered points and upsetting the defending NFC East champions. As NBC Sports Washington's JP Finlay said, it truly was like a Hollywood movie.

When team president Jason Wright first heard about Haskins' speech, he immediately thought of one instance during training camp where Rivera challenged his squad to step up.

"I remembered a moment during training camp when the offense had a particularly poor Saturday practice, resulting in coach Rivera giving the team, ahem… a talking to. But more than this, coach let the team know that he expected them to provide the visible and vocal leadership when it is was most needed," Wright wrote in his weekly president's brief on the team's website.

"And the next time there was a need, down 17-7 against a division rival, a leader rose to that expectation," Wright said. "No doubt Dwayne had all the intrinsic qualities to inspire men in that moment, but I have to think the expectations set out by coach helped the captain deliver what was needed in the moment."

 

Following the victory, Haskins was asked what motivated him to address his team in the manner he did.

"Pretty much, the moral of the speech was: we're home," Haskins said. "We're the home team. They're the visitors. There's no reason why we should be 'little bro' to them in a sense."

Haskins' speech was just the latest example of the 23-year-old developing into the leader Washington wants him to be. 

Since Rivera took over as head coach in January, he's challenged Haskins to take command of the starting quarterback job both on and off the field. 

Thus far, he's done just that.

Haskins' incredible offseason was well documented, and his performance during training camp earned him both the starting QB job and the team captain role. His numbers on Sunday don't necessarily stand out, but Haskins avoided mistakes and capitalized on opportunities given to him.

This upcoming Sunday will mark another big test for Haskins and Washington when they face the rising Arizona Cardinals, who are coming off a stunning victory over the reigning NFC champion San Francisco 49ers.