In the span of nine weeks of the NFL season, Dwayne Haskins has gone from the starting quarterback to benched to third-string to second-string all while trade rumors floated above. At one point, it was reported that the parting of ways between Washington and the second-year passer was "inevitable."
Based on all that, and the fact that Haskins will continue to not play as Washington goes with Alex Smith moving forward, it's fair to wonder if the relationship between the sides has soured beyond repair.
NBC Sports analyst and former NFL quarterback Chris Simms doesn't see it like that just yet. Speaking on the latest Washington Football Talk Podcast, he believes the situation can still be salvaged, largely due to head coach Ron Rivera's approach.
“I think it can still be fixed, yes. I think Ron Rivera had the right tone and approach throughout," Simms said. "I don’t look at it from anything from the football team and go, ‘oh, they really ruined this.’
“I think the way Ron Rivera’s handled it and everything doesn’t lead me to believe it’s not salvageable," Simms said.
In terms of Rivera's approach, Simms could be referring to the head coach's continued rhetoric that the benching of Haskins doesn't signify that he has given up on the quarterback. Rivera feels that the potential is still there given the skillset and youth, meaning there's no reason to think he can't turn things around.
Simms sees that as encouraging because it means the head coach is still willing to put the time in and work with his young quarterback. That makes it easier to salvage the connection.
However, a relationship can only thrive when both members are on the same page. So, Simms is curious as to how Haskins feels about the situation.
“Now the other part of that is, there’s another side to it that also has to want to make it salvageable as well, and that’s Dwayne Haskins," Simms said.
“Does he want to make it work, I don’t really know. I don’t know where this goes either.”
Simms understands that it can be frustrating for Haskins to experience what has been a roller coaster to begin his NFL career. Two coaches and two offenses in two seasons is not easy. Still, the only thing he can do now is play with the hand he's been dealt.
At this point, who Haskins is at a professional level is still somewhat unknown to Simms and others. With one year as a starter at Ohio State, in what Simms considers a basic and simple offense, more time and experience is probably needed to assess his full potential.
The rest of 2020 will act as the time for him to do just that. Even if he's not starting down the stretch, how he grows in practice and what his work ethic is will be crucial to determining his fate, according to Simms.
“I think really, these last eight weeks, whatever where we’re at, it is gonna dictate the future of Dwayne Haskins," Simms said.
Where it stands today, Simms is unsure of what that future will be. He does believe things can be salvaged in Washington, but that's not the only option. Progress could keep him in the Burgundy and Gold, or influence another team to take a chance. Even if he stays, it may just be as a backup.
Much like Haskins' 2020 so far, the rest has plenty of variables.
“I think any of those things can be on the table at this point," Simms said.