Washington Football Team head coach Ron Rivera will stick with Dwayne Haskins as his quarterback despite the 23-year-old's four-turnover performance in a 34-20 loss to the Cleveland Browns.
"I just got done talking to Dwayne," Rivera said postgame. "I told him, 'I'm behind you and I'm going to stick with you. So you go and play football.'"
Haskins finished the afternoon 21-of-37 for 224 yards, two touchdowns, and three interceptions. He also fumbled once on a strip-sack by Myles Garrett in the fourth quarter, a turnover that all but clinched Cleveland's victory.
However, It wasn't all bad for the second-year quarterback on Sunday.
Haskins put together a couple of really solid drives, both ending in touchdown passes to wideout Dontrelle Inman. He also made some timely throws, including a crucial fourth-down conversion to Logan Thomas on a drive that ended with an Antonio Gibson touchdown run.
Although Haskins did do "some good things" according to Rivera, it was the three interceptions that were true momentum-killers for the Burgundy and Gold.
"He did some good things. He tried to force a couple of things," Rivera said. "When he was taking what they were giving and doing the things he's capable, we moved the ball. We put points on the board. It's unfortunate because a couple of times we were moving. We also had a couple of untimely penalties that showed up, too, that took us out of position."
Since Rivera named Haskins the starter in mid-August, the head coach has said multiple times that it's a process regarding his development. After all, Sunday was just Haskins' 10th career start.
Rivera said postgame that in order for the team to truly see where Haskins is at developmental-wise, it must continue to start the second-year passer and see how he transforms as a quarterback throughout the season.
"I think the outside noise is exactly what it is, it's noise," Rivera said. "The truth of the matter is, how's he going to learn? Is he going to learn taking the show team snaps? No. The only way he's going to learn, the only way we're going to truly find out where Dwayne is and what he can do for us is put him back on the football field and let him get exposed. That's how he grows."
The head coach then compared Haskins' development to his former quarterback when he was the boss in Carolina in Cam Newton. Rivera said that the growing pains Newton suffered early in his career allowed him to blossom into the MVP-level passer he is now, and hopes an evolution like that is possible for Haskins down the line.
"That's what we did with Cam Newton and look where he is today," Rivera said. "Cam Newton is a league MVP because we trusted him and took our lumps with him. I'll take my lumps with Dwayne right now."
Rivera added: "As long as he continues to do things that show you that he can make things happen, I'm going to support the young man. I'm not going to pull the plug on him because something like this happens. In my opinion, he's barely through a rookie year right now, in terms of being out there, learning and growing."
So, while some fans and critics may want Rivera to move on from Haskins sooner than later, don't expect a change at quarterback any time soon.
"He'll get better. He'll grow, and I think he's a guy we can follow," Rivera said.