2020 is a big year for Dwayne Haskins to prove himself as a franchise quarterback in the NFL.
He's entering his first full season as a starter after an up-and-down seven starts as a rookie, and the Redskins opted not to select a quarterback like Tua Tagovailoa or Justin Herbert with the second overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Haskins is the guy in Washington now, and early on in such a crucial season, he'll face off with the first quarterback taken in his 2019 draft class.
Following a Week 1 opener at home against the Eagles, Haskins and the Redskins will travel to Glendale, AZ to take on 2019 No.1 overall pick Kyler Murray and the Cardinals.
Tale of the tape
Murray won Offensive Rookie of the Year last season and is poised to make a jump in 2020. He threw for 3,722 yards, 20 touchdowns and 12 interceptions, while completing 64.4% of his passes. The Oklahoma product also ran for 544 yards (5.4 YPC) and four touchdowns.
Despite being the top pick in the draft and having just about every tool you'd want in a quarterback, there were still concerns for whether a quarterback his size (5'10") could succeed in the NFL. The jury is still out on that question, but the early signs have been good from Murray.
We've mentioned Haskins' up-and-down rookie year, though the good news is he ended the season on a high note. Over his final three starts against the Packers, Eagles and Giants, Haskins completed 67% of his passes for 564 yards, five touchdowns and one interception.
Arizona gave their quarterback a major weapon to work with this offseason. The Cardinals traded David Johnson and a fourth-round pick for DeAndre Hopkins, a second and fourth-round pick. Add the three-time All-Pro receiver to a group consisting of Larry Fitzgerald, Christian Kirk and Andy Isabella and you have an explosive bunch for Murray to throw to.
The Redskins defense figures to have its hands full in this matchup, and if they can't get the Cardinals offense off the field, it'll be up to Haskins to put points on the board and keep his team in the game.
The good news is that no team gave up more yards per game last season than the Cardinals, and while they added the versatile Isaiah Simmons in the draft, it's very likely their defense struggles to get stops in 2020.
Who has the edge?
It's difficult to determine which team's strengths will shine through months from now, but if the Redskins' defense can contain Murray and keep the game close, Washington will be in a good spot if Haskins has a nice game.
That's what makes this game so intriguing. If Haskins is going to take a step forward in year-two, lifting his team to a win in games like this is how he can do it.
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