Back in 2015, when it first became obvious that Kirk Cousins and the Washington Redskins were headed for issues in negotiating a long-term contract, I thought the answer was pretty easy — sign Ryan Fitzpatrick. He could have been had for pretty low dollars relative to other signal callers, allowing the front office to build a team around him — one that would have been able to compete for playoff berths annually. Fitzpatrick was a reliable if somewhat inconsistent veteran performer who knew how to lead a team.
In 2015, Fitzpatrick was 32 years old; today he is 37. and will be 38 before the end of the month.
Would you rather have Ryan Fitzpatrick or Dwayne Haskins as your quarterback in 2020?
That was the question that faced SB Nation readers in Week 8.
Thy overwhelmingly chose Ryan Fitzpatrick.
I think this tells us a lot about the national narrative about Dwayne Haskins. When only about 1 in 5 fans polled would choose a 23-year-old first-round draft pick when given the options of a 37 yo journeyman or a 31-year-old borderline backup/starter, something is wrong with this picture.
I like both Fitzpatrick and Taylor, and I wouldn’t be unhappy to have either one on my team. Both are capable of starting and winning games. Both have seen themselves relegated to backup roles multiple times in their careers.
What must fans around the NFL think of Haskins, though, to get the results we see in the poll above?
Of course, Taylor and Fitzpatrick are both active for their teams right now; Taylor is backing up the Chargers first-round draft pick Justin Herbert at the moment, after beginning the year as the starter. Likewise, Fitzmagic is in Miami, backing up the Dolphins first-round pick, Tua Tagovailoa after beginning the year as the starter.
Meanwhile, Haskins, the first round pick of the Washington franchise in 2019, began the year as the starter, but was benched in favor of former UDFA Kyle Allen. Haskins, of course, wasn’t demoted to backup, but dropped to third on the depth chart and made inactive in games. It could be that Rivera is just trying to ensure he stays healthy enough to trade or that it’s part of sending a message to the young man in hopes of getting him ready to resume a starting role in the future.
Whatever Rivera’s thinking, the thinking of fans around the country is that Dwayne Haskins isn’t a better answer than Ryan Fitzpatrick to what their franchise needs, and that’s a long fall for last year’s 15th overall pick.
If you’d like to become part of the process, you can sign up to NFL Reacts by clicking here.
You’ll get a survey via email each week that takes just two minutes to complete.
Make your voice heard as part of the SB Nation fan base!
The running game should be the foundation of the Ravens’ attack, but it’s hard to imagine it working consistently against a Steelers defense that represents Baltimore’s toughest challenge this season by far. The way to beat Pittsburgh is over the top, with big passes against some vulnerable cornerbacks. Lamar Jackson and friends are capable of exploding at any moment, but I haven’t seen it enough yet to trust them this week. Pittsburgh’s formula of young wideouts making plays after the catch buoyed by an improving James Conner feels more sustainable.
I think these two teams along with the Chiefs make up the three best teams in the AFC, and possibly the NFL, so I have no strong conviction about which team will prevail. I voted for the Ravens (maybe I was the deciding vote) for no reason other than the game being in their home stadium. In a week without Washington football, and with no NFC East teams playing in the same time slot, this is undoubtedly the game to watch on Sunday afternoon.
A few other games I find interesting
The 4-2 Colts are playing the Lions in Detroit, with Indianapolis trying to keep pace with the Titans in the AFC South as the 3-3 Lions try to extend a 2-game winning streak and stay relevant in the wildcard race for the NFC. A couple of weeks ago when the Lions were 1-3, Washington fans were circling the Week 10 game in Detroit as part of a series of “get right” games for the burgundy and gold. Detroit has a division game against the Vikings in Week 9, so a win this week could see them come roaring in at 5-3 and riding a 4-game win streak when they meet the WFT. I’ll be rooting for Indianapolis on Sunday, hoping to take a bit of wind out of Detroit’s sails. SB Nation and Gregg Rosenthal are both backing the Colts to win. Rosenthal has the margin of victory at 6 points, saying:
I don’t have a great feel for either team here. They are NFL teams in the middle, prone to playing in one-score games in silent domes during a season none of us will ever forget.
The 2-4 Patriots are visiting the 5-2 Bills. The Patriots were 17-3 in this series over the past decade, winning the last 6 meetings. Suddenly the Bills are favored and the question of whether it was Belichick or Brady who was the secret to the dynastic success may be about to be answered.
I picked the Patriots to win the AFC East and Tampa Bay to go to the playoffs as the third NFC wildcard team because I thought I knew the answer. So far, 2020 is proving me wrong, and neither Belichick nor Cam Newton have been able to provide the solution to what ails the Pats. If the Bills prevail this weekend, and both SB Nation readers and Gregg Rosenthal agree that they will, then you can probably start shoveling dirt into what remains of New England’s 2020 season, and bookies can start giving odds on how much longer ol’ Bill will remain the head coach in Boston. Here’s Rosenthal:
Allen’s struggles against Belichick are well-documented, and Buffalo’s defensive shortcomings versus the run could keep this game close. Still, the talent gap is wide. The Bills should have been ready to beat a limited Pats team in Foxborough last December. If they can’t do it now, something is seriously wrong.
The two NFC-only matchups I’m keen to see pit the Niners against the Seahawks and the Saints against the Bears.
I took the home team in both contests, though I’d’ve taken the Niners and Saints if the games were played at neutral sites. I see these as two close games, but I believe in Russell Wilson at home and I think the Bears are a scrappy team led by a scrappy Nick Foles who continue to surprise NFL fans almost every week. As mentioned at the top, SB Nation didn’t pick the Saints-Bears contest, but Rosenthal has the Saints by ten points:
The Bears have one of the NFL’s worst offenses, and they could be without their best player (Allen Robinson, who’s in the concussion protocol) in a short week. That sets up a get-right game in a matchup of struggling units up front when the Saints’ defense is on the field.
Deebo Samuel’s injury takes the air out of the 49ers’ resurgence, but it doesn’t end it. The team’s offensive-line cohesion, Kyle Shanahan’s play-calling, George Kittle’s Kittleness and Brandon Aiyuk’s emergence make San Francisco’s offense dangerous again. It always finds a running back. Whether a diminished 49ers defensive line can do enough to bother Peak Russ is another matter, which should make for a fun edition of what is currently the NFL’s best rivalry. This 49ers season has been a rollercoaster, but at their best, they are more complete than the ‘Hawks. San Francisco is the only team other than Tampa Bay that ranks in the top eight of DVOA in offense and defense, while the bye week didn’t solve Seattle’s defensive issues. This wouldn’t be that big of an upset.
And, of course, the NFC East
It would take a brave punter to back the Cowboys or the Giants to win outright in either of these two contests. SB Nation readers and Gregg Rosenthal are joining me in predicting big wins for the Eagles and the Bucs this week.
Here’s Rosenthal one last time (well, two last times, technically):
With Andy Dalton at quarterback, the Cowboys were the worst team in the NFL for seven quarters. There’s no particular reason to believe that’s going to change if Ben DiNucci gets the start on Sunday night. The Eagles are getting healthier with Jalen Reagor, Jason Peters, Dallas Goedert, Malik Jackson and Miles Sanders all having a chance to return this week. Carson Wentz’s miracle finish against the Giants could prove to be the turning point of Philly’s season. There’s no reason why the Eagles shouldn’t win this game easily and improve as their roster heals itself.
Even with Chris Godwin out this week, this Giants defense shouldn’t present much of a challenge. Tom Brady eats up play it safe zone defenses with long drives, and the only way past this fierce Tampa defense is over the top. Daniel Jones is among the least likely quarterbacks to take that approach
Look for the Eagles to end up the week at the top of the NFC East; the Giants are guaranteed to remain in last place, win or lose.