When comparing Dwayne Haskins to other 2019 rookie quarterbacks like Kyler Murray, Daniel Jones and Gardner Minshew, his raw statistics don't stack up. In fact, they don't really even come close to stacking up.
But according to Pro Football Focus analyst Sam Monson, the raw statistics fail to highlight one of Haskins' greatest strengths: He was much better at steering clear from dangerous throws than the rest of his peers.
Wait, what? you're saying right now. The guy who was picked three times in a half against the Giants and who sailed a pass to Terry McLaurin in Minnesota and who threw one right to a Jet near his own goal line is being lauded for his judiciousness? The answer, actually, is yes, and Monson joined the Redskins Talk podcast to explain.
The key, according to Monson, is to look at turnover-worthy plays instead of interceptions, which he has done. Overall, Haskins had the fewest such plays, so even though he had seven picks in nine games and Minshew, for example, had just six in 14 matchups, Haskins was just less fortunate.
"I think that’s a big reason people are willing to write him off, because it’s almost box score scouting," Monson said. "You look at the numbers and it’s, ‘Well, this guy had a 2-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio, this guy was 3-to-1, and Haskins was 1-to-1.’ OK, it shouldn’t have been. There was a lot of luck rolled up into those numbers. Interceptions are generally a bad way to measure almost anything."
Being smart with the ball is extremely valuable and is also a very hard skill for young signal callers to learn, so be encouraged that Haskins seems to have a decent grasp of it already. However, it can also be a hindrance if a QB is too cautious.
Fortunately, Monson didn't see that with No. 7 last season.
"As the year went on," Monson told Redskins Talk, "he started to loosen up and started to make some of the bigger throws, started to push the ball downfield a bit more, started to make some of the higher-end plays that some of these others guys made right at the start but also were making a ton of the bad plays to offset them."
Prudent decision-making and some late improvement are two reasons why giving Haskins a full campaign as starter is an enticing thought.
Cardinals fans, for instance, are obviously thrilled about seeing what Kyler Murray can do in his second go-round, and while Haskins' stats are pedestrian next to Murray's, perhaps more Redskins supporters should be similarly enthused about their passer.
Monson certainly is.
"Haskins' numbers," he said, "do not reflect what he was last season."
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