While everyone expects Dwayne Haskins to remain Washington’s starting quarterback in 2020 — they did draft him 15th overall after all — coach Ron Rivera has made it clear Haskins will have to earn the job.
Rivera repeatedly has talked about a quarterback competition, even bringing up Alex Smith‘s name.
Haskins, 22, spoke to reporters for the first time since Rivera addressed his job.
“That’s cool,” Haskins told reporters Friday at a community event sponsored by the team, via NBCSportsWashington.com. “I’m just going to have to work hard and eventually take it over. Just do your best to be accountable for what you have to do and be ready to go.”
Haskins went 2-5 as the team’s starter his rookie season, throwing seven touchdowns and seven interceptions. But in his final six quarters, Haskins completed 72 percent of his passes for 394 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions.
Haskins has talked to Rivera and offensive coordinator Scott Turner and used the word “excited” more than once.
Rivera said Haskins needs to “step up and become a leader,” challenging the quarterback publicly.
“[Rivera’s] a guy who’s going to hold you accountable and make sure you put the work in,” Haskins said. “I’m all for that, so I’m excited.”
If Smith can return healthy — which remains an “if” — Washington could have a quarterback battle. If not, it’s Haskins’ job.
Case Keenum has conceded his future is “probably not” in Washington, and Colt McCoy is scheduled to become a free agent in March.
That leaves Haskins and Smith.
Smith recently acknowledged he was “very much lucky to be alive” following an infection that turned septic. It necessitated an extended process aimed at saving his life and then saving his leg.
Rivera, though, is challenging Haskins to respond this offseason and prove he is the franchise quarterback Washington believed him to be on draft day.