Football Team

Jason Campbell: Benching isn't 'personal indictment' of Haskins

Football Team

When a quarterback gets benched, especially those selected in the first round who haven't yet proven themselves as a franchise guy, that player's long-term outlook is diminished quite a bit.  

Dwayne Haskins, who has made 11 starts in two years, will now have to work toward getting back onto the field as a starting quarterback. This couldn't have been how the 15th pick in the 2019 draft envisioned his career beginning.

But as former Washington quarterback Jason Campbell explains, this doesn't have to be the end for Haskins. It doesn't even have to be the end for him in Washington. He should know. Campbell was the 25th pick in the 2005 NFL Draft and started two full seasons for Washington in 2008 and 2009 after early struggles. 

"I don't think this is a personal indictment on him and saying like, 'Hey your future's over,'" Campbell told NBC Sports Washington. "I think this is just an opportunity that they just want him to see things from a different level until the opportunity presents itself again."

Haskins wasn't put in the easiest spot in 2020. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, offseason workouts were limited, preseason games were canceled and the 23-year-old was under pressure to perform in a brand-new offense under a coach that didn't draft him. 

Of course you hope for better play from him, but it's understandable for a young quarterback who's relatively inexperienced at the position to struggle under those circumstances. Now, he will watch while Kyle Allen starts. Alex Smith will be the primary backup this week against the Los Angeles Rams. It will be a hard pill to swallow. 

 

"I'm a little shocked by this by the simple point that this season is still so young," Campbell said. "He's such a young quarterback that has to go through a lot of growing pains, there's so many pieces to this team that need to be rebuilt and at the same time I understand not having minicamps, OTA's or preseason trying to learn this offense during the middle of this season can be a little tough."

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Campbell has been in a similar spot. He's been the starter before and he's been benched before. He knows exactly what Haskins is going through and has a good idea of what the coaches are telling him as well. 

"I think Coach Rivera and [offensive coordinator] Scott Turner sat down and have had a talk and said, 'Hey, this is not the end of you,' Campbell said. "'This is just an opportunity that we want you to take, I know it's not easy, we just want you to see from afar how this offense works under Allen.'

"Hopefully during this time of taking a seat for a little while, that when his time presents itself again, he will be more prepared, learn more about this offense and he can be himself, help this team win and do the things he wants to do," Campbell said.

Now it's up to Haskins to make the most of the situation. He'll have more time to observe, learn the offense and perhaps get the chance at more conversations with Smith, the veteran who's now remarkably No. 2 on the depth chart following his horrific broken leg two years ago. 

Whether it's with Washington or eventually with another team, Haskins' success in his next chance to start could largely depend on how he handles this tough moment early in his career.