Rivera says Haskins could start again if Washington can’t make playoffs

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Dwayne Haskins may get a chance to start at quarterback again in 2020, but only after the Washington Football Team is eliminated from playoff contention, Ron Rivera told Fox Sports announcer Dan Hellie.

In a conversation with 106.7 The Fan's Grant & Danny on Tuesday, Hellie said he asked Rivera — during an interview ahead of announcing Washington’s Week 11 game against the Detroit Lions — what it would take to see Alex Smith replaced as the starter.

"If Alex is healthy the rest of the way, will Dwayne have a chance to play?" Hellie asked Rivera.

"I'm gonna have to make a decision on that at some point," Rivera responded, per Hellie.

"At what point is that?" Hellie followed up. "Is that when the division would potentially be out of reach?"

Hellie: "And (Rivera) said, 'Yes.'"

On Wednesday, Rivera was asked for comment on these remarks, with a reporter saying, "There was a report yesterday that maybe you guys would look to Dwayne if the team gets mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. Just kind of where you're at on those decisions."

"Well, you know, it was reported I said it just before kickoff, and I didn't talk to anybody just before kickoff other than our team," Rivera said. "So I'm not gonna address that."

With a 2-7 record, Washington has a very slim chance to win the NFC East, which is their only path to the playoffs.

“I think that you are going to see Dwayne at some point again on the field regardless of how well Alex Smith plays,” Hellie told The Fan.

This information tracks with some of Rivera’s previous statements on the quarterback situation this season.

When Rivera made the decision to bench Haskins for Kyle Allen after a 1-3 start to the season, he did so because the team was still in competition to win the division.

“We're also, though, in a situation with what has happened in our division, it's open, and so I want to take an opportunity to see what we can do,” Rivera said in October.

And even after a second loss to the New York Giants that put Washington at 2-6 on the year, Rivera said his team was still in the playoff hunt. “The nice thing about it that the division is still up for grabs and we’ll see what happens,” Rivera said.

And, of course, even after the loss to Detroit on Sunday, because the NFC East is the worst division in football, Washington is only a few games out of the lead behind the Philadelphia Eagles (3-5-1) and Giants (3-7).

And after Allen suffered a dislocated ankle and Smith was named the starter over Haskins, Rivera explained the young quarterback could see playing time again soon.

“(Smith has) kinda showed these guys how to study and prepare for a game, how to handle it,” Rivera said on Nov. 9. “And I think this is gonna be very good for Dwayne. I think Dwayne’s gonna get an opportunity to truly see how to prepare for a game as a starter. And I think, hopefully, Dwayne will take it that way. This is an opportunity to learn and grow.

“And then, who knows? He may get his opportunity again shortly. But he’s just gotta be ready and prepare as if he’s really one play away.”

And after the NFL trade deadline came and went without Haskins being moved, despite many rumors, Rivera said the former 15th overall draft pick’s future may still be in Washington.

“It’s funny, I benched the guy and it’s like everybody thinks his career is over here in Washington,” Rivera told Rich Eisen in early November. “It’s not. The kid has an NFL arm, it’s just a matter of him developing.”

“Everybody forgets he played 12 games of college football and then last year he didn’t really get into the swing of things until the end of the year,” Rivera told Eisen. “I did everything I could to give him 11 weeks as the No. 1 [QB].”

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