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2020 Redskins Questions: Is Dwayne Haskins a guy or the guy at QB?

2020 Redskins Questions: Is Dwayne Haskins a guy or the guy at QB?

The NFL Draft wrapped up about a month ago, and while technically free agency remains open, the bulk of the action took place in mid-March. 

Ready or not, Ron Rivera's first Redskins team is largely built. The 2020 season is coming. 

Plenty of questions remain for Washington, to be expected for a team that went 3-13 last year and overhauled nearly the entire organization this offseason, but the biggest question is not about something that changed this offseason. Rather it's about the most important holdover in the organization: second-year quarterback Dwayne Haskins. 

Rivera needs to know what kind of player Haskins is in 2020, but almost more urgently, Rivera needs to know what kind of player Haskins can become. 

There is evidence to support many claims but the truth is 2019 provided Haskins with little opportunity to prove his worth. He showed ability late in the season, but showed serious flaws prior to that. 

In Haskins' first two NFL games - both coming off the bench - he played awful. 

In those two games he completed about 56 percent of his passes with no touchdowns and four interceptions. His QB rating for those two games came in at 36. 

In his first two starts, Haskins took a slight step forward. He completed about 61 percent of his passes with two touchdowns against just one interception. His passer rating jumped to 83.

In his final two starts of the year, Haskins looked like the real deal. He completed 74 percent of his passes with four touchdowns and zero interceptions. His passer rating soared to 132.

What version of Haskins will Rivera see?

It seems nearly impossible to think the version of Haskins that took the field in the two early relief appearances will ever emerge again. In those games, the rookie quarterback clearly wasn't ready for the situation, and it showed. 

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Even his first two NFL starts showed marked improvement from the prior appearances, though neither start offered real reason for excitement. That reason emerged late in the year, and that momentum seems to be carrying Haskins forward for the 2020 season. 

"I feel really confident having guys that believe in me,” Haskins said via the Redskins Talk podcast last week. “I think I’m going to have a good year.”

Sure, the Redskins drafted Haskins 15th overall last year, but as an organization, it was never clear he was the priority at quarterback. 

Now, at least right now, it seems like he is. 

Haskins seems confident despite plenty of uncertainty. There are reasons to think his struggles could continue. He will be playing with his fourth offensive coordinator in three years. The Redskins have no clear answer at tight end, or left tackle, or left guard, and it's unknown what receiver will start opposite Terry McLaurin.

That's a lot for any quarterback to handle, let alone a 23-year-old with seven career NFL starts.

Ask Haskins though and it's the time for opportunity that has him most excited. 

"I have the urgency right now. I’m itching," he said.

If all that happens - if Haskins can grasp new Redskins offensive coordinator Scott Turner's system and merge a number of new teammates from the offensive line to the skill positions - then in 2021 there will no longer be any question about Dwayne Haskins. 

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Washington WR Kelvin Harmon hopes his comeback season is similar to Adrian Peterson's

Washington WR Kelvin Harmon hopes his comeback season is similar to Adrian Peterson's

Washington's wide receiver depth took a crucial blow on Tuesday, when rising second-year pass-catcher Kelvin Harmon announced he had surgery last week to repair a torn ACL, and thus, will miss the 2020 season.

However, rather than dwelling on his current status, Harmon took to Twitter to say he's already focused on his comeback season in 2021. And luckily for the wideout, there's someone in the team's locker room he can look to for support on how to overcome the devastating knee injury, as well as how to come back even better than before.

What Harmon is referring to is current Washington running back Adrian Peterson's 2012 season, when the now 35-year-old was the suiting up for the Minnesota Vikings. In Week 16 of the 2011 season, Peterson ruptured his ACL (ironically at FedEx Field), leaving many to wonder if the running back would ever return to the dominant form he was prior to the injury.

Yet, the future Hall of Famer fully recovered from his ACL injury in less than eight months, missing no regular-season games in the process. Peterson then put together the best season of his career, rushing for 2,097 yards (just eight short of Eric Dickerson's NFL single-season record) and 12 touchdowns while leading Minnesota to the playoffs.

Additionally, Peterson earned MVP honors that season, which is the last time a non-QB has taken home the award.

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Prior to Tuesday's announcement, Harmon was poised for a breakout second season with Washington. The wideout came onto the scene late for Washington as a rookie, notching 23 of his 30 catches a season ago after Dwayne Haskins became the starting quarterback.

Plus, Harmon had earned plenty of praise from his teammates this offseason and was expected to compete for the team's No. 2 pass-catcher opposite of Terry McLaurin.

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For Harmon, returning with a 2012 Peterson-like season next year is a high bar to set for himself, especially since the running back's effort that year was one of the best single-seasons by an individual in the league's history.

But perhaps by having Peterson by his side, Harmon can snag a few tips from the running back to set himself up for a stellar 2021 season in Washington.

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Kevin Blackistone on Dan Snyder: 'He’s either got to change the name or get out of the league'

Kevin Blackistone on Dan Snyder: 'He’s either got to change the name or get out of the league'

Following Washington's statement on Monday that the current team name would be retired, The Washington Post Columnist and ESPN panelist Kevin Blackistone shared his problems with the release on Twitter.

On Monday during an interview on ESPN 92.9FM's Jason & John Show, Blackistone elaborated on the issues he took with the statement.

“My first thought was ‘Where’s the apology?’ My second thought was, ‘This is disingenuous because you still got the letterhead on here with the name just glaring,'" Blackistone said.

Blackistone, who is also a professor at the University of Maryland, had mentioned the non-existent apology in his tweet. The fact that the team name and logo which are being retired were still used in a release describing the change that was coming made him believe that the team truly didn't care. That is something Blackistone feels became even more evident when one considers how the new team name is being chosen.

Among all the options for Washington's moniker -- which is meant to honor the heritage and tradition of the franchise -- that have been considered, Blackistone noted that to his knowledge the Native American community has reportedly not been involved much in the decision.

"And my third thought was, ‘What do you have to say about the name that you’re considering given that you haven’t even given voice to, or given an ear to, the native folks who you’ve insulted since buying the team 21 years ago and having the opportunity to do this before,'" Blackistone said.

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Blackistone was not along in taking issue with the statement. The Sports Junkies felt it answered no questions, ESPN's Michael Wilbon called it "annoying" and "tone-deaf" and ProFootballTalk's Mike Florio saw it as "one final act of defiance" by team owner Dan Snyder

The combination of all the missing elements from the statement made it less impactful for Blackistone. Despite it being a big moment, there wasn't much to take away from the team's announcement

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That's something that Blackistone believes comes from the reasoning behind the name change in the first place. Washington has heard the backlash about the name for years, but it wasn't until big-name sponsors took issue that impacted the monetary situation of the league that real moves were made. Blackistone sees that as a symbol that Snyder's decision to change the name has nothing to do with right vs. wrong.

“There’s nothing altruistic about what’s going on," Blackistone said about Snyder. "He’s being forced at the point of bayonets to change the team.”

“Basically sponsors, not individual team sponsors, but sponsors for the team via the NFL," Blackistone said. "Which means, now it’s just not your pockets, but the other 31 owners pockets that are starting to be hurting. That’s why the move is being made." 

All Blackistone had to do to understand Snyder's true opinion on the name change is look back to what the owner has said about the situation in the past. The only difference to Blackistone now is that if Snyder continued to speak in the same manner, some believe it would result in Snyder losing the team.

“This is a guy who seven years ago infamously said he would never change the name, and you could put ‘never’ in caps," Blackistone said. Well, never has come home to roost and he’s either got to change the name or get out of the league.”

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