Ron Rivera Admits Taking ‘Wrong Approach’ with Dwayne Haskins

Dwayne Haskins

Norm Hall/Getty Images Quarterback Dwayne Haskins delivers a pass against the San Francisco 49ers on December 13, 2020.

Hindsight is 20/20, but if Washington Football Team head coach Ron Rivera had it to do all over again, he would have taken a different approach with quarterback Dwayne Haskins, who lasted less than two seasons with the organization, despite being selected No. 15 overall in the 2019 NFL Draft.

Last summer, Haskins was essentially handed the starting quarterback job in Washington, in hopes that his development would be accelerated if all of his time was spent working with the club’s starters.

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“The mistake I made was that my approach was wrong,” Rivera recently told ESPN staff writer John Keim. “I should have made as big a competition as possible, and that’s on me. I wanted to try and find a guy. I thought [Haskins] was ready to take a step and take every opportunity. I try to build that rapport he needed with his teammates, and that would have been something we may have been able to see sooner and could have done something different, perhaps.”

As it turns out, Haskins got off to a rough start and Rivera felt compelled to replace him with Kyle Allen.

“Although [Washington’s] coaches were pleased with how Haskins worked in the offseason, they did not see carryover into the regular season and benched him after four games,” notes Keim, as Washington got off to a 1-3 start.

A Fresh Start in Pittsburgh, But No Guarantees

Now Dwayne Haskins has the chance for a fresh start with the Pittsburgh Steelers, who signed him to a one-year Reserve/Future contract back in January. In Pittsburgh he will have to compete with third-stringer Josh Dobbs just to earn a spot on the roster—or perhaps the practice squad.

But if he shows enough to win a job with the Steelers in 2021, he could get the opportunity to earn a greater role in 2022, as backup Mason Rudolph is the only quarterback the team has under contract beyond this season.

For what it’s worth, Haskins has been well-received by his new Steelers teammates, with QB1 Ben Roethlisberger going so far as to rave about Haskins’ mechanics. And at least one former teammate believes Haskins is capable of succeeding Roethlisberger after the future Hall of Famer retires.

Dwayne Haskins and Mason Rudolph Compared

On the other hand, the numbers Haskins produced in Washington aren’t encouraging. He won just 3 of 13 starts and completed just 267 of 444 pass attempts (60.1 percent) for 2,804 yards, producing just 12 touchdown passes against 14 interceptions. He has a career passer rating of just 74.4, this as compared to Mason Rudolph’s 82.7 career rating over a not-much-different sample size.

As such, this is probably a good year for the Steelers to have an extra preseason game on the schedule, with the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game (vs. the Dallas Cowboys) coming ahead of the three other preseason tilts on the Steelers schedule.

As such, the Steelers will get an added opportunity to get a look at Haskins, while Rudolph gets more chances to show that he has what it takes to become Pittsburgh’s starter—in 2022 and beyond. Rudolph recently indicated that he views his recent one-year contract extension as a “vote of confidence” on the part of the Steelers.

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