SNIDER: Haskins showed competitiveness, but he’s still not a starting NFL QB


Occasionally, Dwayne Haskins does enough to become a future starter. Other times, he makes you shake your head. It’s always a rollercoaster watching him play.

Bottom line: Alex Smith – get well soon. Signed, every Washington Football Team fan.

Washington wasted a fair defensive effort to lose 20-15 to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday. The defense gave Washington a puncher’s chance against a superior opponent that might reach the Super Bowl.

Out of halftime Seattle came and punched Washington in the mouth in four plays for a 20-3 lead. Washington scored twice against a relaxing Seahawks defense, but this was Seattle’s game from start to finish.

With two games remaining, anything can happen for Washington (6-8). But without Smith, it’s 50/50 Washington makes the playoffs even with two weak opponents ahead in Carolina and Philadelphia.

Haskins stared holes through his targets while defenders jumped routes for two interceptions, the first ending Washington’s best drive three yards short of Seattle’s goal line. The more Haskins was asked to do beyond three-yard passes, the more he stared and Seattle countered.

Haskins’ return drew mixed reviews. If the past two months provided amnesia to Haskins’ shortcomings, Seattle was a reminder the passer’s mechanics still need work. His internal clock is two seconds behind. For every nice throw, another stunk.

The final line of 38-of-55 for 295 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions for a 72.9 rating was rounding up.

At first, it seemed offensive coordinator Scott Turner was too conservative. The first five completions netted eight yards. But then, Turner has seen Haskins practice for the past two months so he was simply trying to keep the passer out of trouble.

A playlist written on Haskins’ sleeve is not encouraging. It’s late December, time for plays to be learned. If not now, when? Two more weeks might bring the offseason.

The distressing part is the staring, though. You just can’t do it in the NFL – ever – much less repeatedly. Defenders live for those moments. So many short passes had no chance because defenders moved up. Late in the game, Haskins got away with staring because defenses were allowing short passes.

Oh, Haskins had his moments. Countering a blitz in his own end zone with a quick flip to Robert Foster was a nice play. He made a nice throw to McLaurin. The touchdown to J.D. McKissic was a simple, but effective throw. There were scattered reasons to wonder could Haskins be better with more experience.

Many of Haskins’ better plays came when trailing badly and defenses can trade some turf for time. Those plays are fool’s gold. A real bait-and-switch from reality. Haskins showed some competitiveness, but also vulnerability after nearly two seasons.

The reality is Washington needs Smith to close out this season and probably start next year while looking for its next passer. They’ll draft too late for one of the big-name rookies, not that good quarterbacks can’t come after the first five picks.

Head coach Ron Rivera might even give Kyle Allen a second chance when healthy, which won’t attract many fans when the latter actually can return to FedEx Field next year.

Washington wasn’t expected to beat Seattle and a possible playoff rematch wouldn’t be good. At least the loss showed Washington what it’s offseason quarterback plan should be.

Rick Snider has covered Washington sports since 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @Snide_Remarks.

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