Entering 2020, the hope for Dwayne Haskins was that Year 2 would be filled with marginal improvements and success. Though the season is just two weeks old, that has not been the case.
Being that the quarterback has started just nine games, dealt with two systems and a lack of offensive weapons and protection, it's fair to assume that it's not quite time to start looking past Haskins just yet, right? Maybe, but this is the NFL, a league where potential can only outweigh production for so long.
Yet beyond that, there is the question as to whether the passer has shown enough raw talent to provide hope for the future. According to Pro Football Focus' Associate Director of Content Austin Gayle, that hasn't been the case.
Based on what he's seen so far -- despite it being a limited sample size -- Gayle believes the Haskins' era may be a short one.
“I think the Dwayne Haskins’ experiment, unless massive things change for the rest of this year, is going to end in Washington," Gayle said on 106.7's The Sports Junkies.
What does that mean for the future of the position in Washington? For Gayle, should the franchise once again find itself in a position to make a top pick next April, a quarterback should be at the top of its draft board.
“I think if the Washington Football team is in a position to grab one of these big three quarterbacks in 2021...I think they’re going to have to pull the trigger," Gayle said.
Gayle is referring to Clemson's Trevor Lawrence, Ohio State's Justin Fields and North Dakota State's Trey Lance. All three are talented prospects with bright futures, but isn't that exactly where Dwayne Haskins was two years ago? Before evaluating new arms, the focus -- for now -- remains on the man who is under center in Washington. Why is there a belief that in Year 2 his fate is already decided?
In Gayle's eyes, it all stems from Haskins' accuracy issues. The eye test and numbers will show you that Haskins misses passes, and he misses high. Head coach Ron Rivera says he knows how to fix that, but now it needs to be fixed.
The problem with the inaccuracy, however, isn't just about Haskins. It's about how other quarterbacks with the same issues have fared. According to the PFF metrics, accuracy problems don't just correct themselves over the years. More often than not, they remain.
“The problem for me, and the reason why I’m willing to call it is looking at last year and through two games this year, he is up there with the least accurate quarterbacks in the NFL," Gayle said. "We have yet to see quarterbacks that aren’t accurate with the football progress significantly.”
Gayle used Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson and Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen -- who Haskins has mirrored to begin his career -- as examples. Both have struggled with accuracy since entering the league in 2018 and they still make throws that are way off target.
One may think "Well, Jackson won an MVP and Allen is off to an incredible start in 2020, so there has to be work-arounds to accuracy issues?" That is true, but it is largely due to the other intangibles the two have. Allen has arm strength that mimics Patrick Mahomes as well as some sneaky athleticism while Jackson has defenders looking like pretzels on a weekly basis. They can cover up a problem by being great in other areas.
Gayle doesn't believe Haskins can do the same.
“I don’t see Dwayne Haskins being a top-fifteen quarterback from an accuracy perspective," Gayle said. "And for that reason, he doesn’t have the arm talent, the moxie, the running ability to overcome that."
While Gayle makes the argument that Haskins doesn't have the skills to be elite, others will say that teams can win with the right system and a good supporting cast. Once again that is true, but it will make things a lot tougher for Washington.
Gayle explained that if Washington wants to compete with Haskins, they'll need to support him with a dominant offensive line. He'll also require Terry McLaurin and other elite receiving options. It's not only challenging to acquire that much talent, it's costly as well.
‘When you have a quarterback that isn’t the quarterback but just a quarterback it’s that much harder to build around him with supporting casts," Gayle said.
“He can’t do it by himself. I’m not convinced that he’s a quarterback that elevates the talent of the supporting cast, but rather leans on it," Gayle said. "Those quarterbacks don’t last long in the NFL.”
As for the immediate future, Gayle still thinks that Haskins should be the man under center for Washington, that is unless the NFC East's struggles give Washington an opportunity to reach the postseason. If the team is close but Haskins is struggling, he feels it may be time to "pull the plug."
Plenty can change between now and the end of the season. For as many reasons as Gayle has to doubt Haskins, there are factors that could help the quarterback improve. Continuing to evolve in an offense that Ron Rivera wants to cater to him will help.
If things do end up trending the way Gayle sees, it could be another offseason in which questions surround the position.
“I’m concerned with Dwayne Haskins," Gayle said.