The article begins by citing the cases of Josh Rosen and Sam Darnold.
Josh Rosen has been put through the wringer in his first two NFL seasons — operating behind two of the worst pass-blocking offensive lines of the past decade with little to work with in the way of receiving options. Sam Darnold has been in a similar boat, though to a lesser extent, with the New York Jets. That creates a tough decision for NFL front offices when it comes to evaluating their young quarterbacks. How long do you stick with a player who is struggling on the field while excusing those poor performances due to their supporting cast?
They then say that Haskins has a bad situation himself.
Dwayne Haskins has what appears to be a brutal offensive environment in store for him in 2020 with the Washington Redskins. There were already those who wanted to bring in a free agent quarterback this offseason in Washington — perhaps reuniting Cam Newton with Ron Rivera. If Haskins falls flat in 2020 with the lack of talent around him, he might not get another chance.
The thrust of the article is that the Redskins offense simply doesn’t have enough talent for Haskins to have a fair chance. Of course, no one who has seen Terry McLaurin play can make the argument with a straight face that the Redskins have no talent whatsoever.
Highest Receiving Grades for Rookie WRs | Since 2010
- Odell Beckham Jr. (2014) 91.2
- Terry McLaurin (2019) 86.5
- Keenan Allen (2013) 86.4
- Michael Thomas (2016) 86.3
- Mike Evans (2014) 84.0
- A.J. Brown (2019) 80.9
- Chris Godwin (2017) 80.4
- Doug Baldwin (2011) 80.4
- Stefon Diggs (2015) 78.9
- Tyreek Hill (2016) 78.7
*Among players who ran 250 or more routes
There is not a single miss in that top 10. If a wideout balls out like McLaurin did as a rookie — particularly in a shaky offense like the Redskins had in 2019 – there’s a good chance they’re going to continue to play at a high level for years to come.
The article goes on to suggest that the balance of the receiving group doesn’t have the talent required to give Dwayne Haskins a fighting chance for success in 2020.
Steven Sims figures to play a large role after a strong rookie showing for a 2019 undrafted free agent out of Kansas. Kelvin Harmon should factor in prominently to the passing offense as well — a sixth-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. You go down the list from Trey Quinn (seventh-round pick out of SMU in 2018) to Antonio Gandy-Golden (fourth-round pick out of Liberty in the 2020 NFL Draft), and it becomes abundantly clear that Washington needs something big out of one of these mid-to-late round shots, similar to the gold they struck with McLaurin in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft. The highest-selected player of the bunch is Antonio Gibson, and he’s listed on the Redskins’ roster as a running back right now.
The article makes the curious choice to focus on draft position as the predictor of success, saying, “[T]he Redskins beat the odds by getting what appears to be a stud in McLaurin in the middle of the third round. They’ll have to beat the odds again to get another starting-caliber wide receiver from this group.”
I say it was a “curious choice” because in the latter part of the article, the author, Ben Linsey, suggests that the Redskins should improve the receiver group by signing Antonio Brown, himself a former 6th round draft pick who ‘beat the odds’, because 3rd-round pick Antonio Gibson, 4th round pick Antonio Gandy-Golden, and 6th round pick Kelvin Harmon are destined, due to their draft position, not to achieve greatness.
There is no question that Brown is one of the premier on-field talents at wide receiver in the NFL. From 2010 to 2018, his 94.4 PFF grade ranked second behind only Julio Jones among all wide receivers. Beyond all the toe-tapping, route-running and catching-of-the-football prowess he brings to the receiving room, Brown just commands attention from a secondary.
But the article doesn’t just point the finger at the Redskins receiving talent; PFF is critical of the Redskins offensive line talent as well.
As of right now, it’s probably safest to project Cornelius Lucas at left tackle and Wes Schweitzer at left guard for the Redskins next season. Lucas played reasonably well in a partial season of starting action with the Chicago Bears in 2019, earning a 72.2 overall grade, but he has played over 500 snaps just twice in his six-year career and has never started an entire season. Schweitzer, on the other hand, does have multiple seasons of starting experience under his belt, but he’s coming off a 2019 campaign where his 56.4 overall grade ranked just 53rd out of 70 guards with at least 500 offensive snaps.
The article goes on to acknowledge that Wes Martin could win the LG starting spot, just as Saahdiq Charles could secure left tackle, but then shits all over them, pointing to Martin’s 37.0 pass-blocking grade from 2019, and describing Charles as being at best, “a project who can turn into a quality starter a few years down the road.”
The article goes a step further by saying that Brandon Scherff is the only above average player on the offensive line, adding, “It’s hard not to question the kind of protection that Haskins will be getting in the pocket in 2020.”
The article does finish up with recommendations. Ben Linsey points to the Redskins healthy salary cap position and says that the team should spend money now to strengthen the offense.
If they don’t do anything to give Haskins more help, they’re doing it wrong. He is set up to fail in this offense as it is right now.
In addition to making his best argument that the Redskins should sign Antonio Brown, Linsey says that the team should pursue 38-year-old former Eagle Jason Peters and the 29-year-old former Lion and Saint, Larry Warford. Redskins fans know Peters well, but may be less familiar with Warford.
Published May, 2020
Warford was a third-round pick in the 2013 draft and has made the Pro Bowl in each of the past three seasons (which he spent with the Saints). Still, there had been rumors coach Sean Payton and his staff were unhappy with Warford’s performance after he allowed a team-high 32 pressures in 2019. He was cut in early May, shortly after the draft, and long after the usual free agent signing frenzy that takes place annually in March.
Here’s what Sports Illustrated said about Warford less than two weeks ago:
Warford is a 320-pound lineman who has 107 starts in his NFL career (including the playoffs). He’s ranked a Top-10 guard by Pro Football Focus, and like cornerback Logan Ryan, he is surprising analysts by remaining a free agent as the off-season heads into June.
There are conditioning concerns. Despite the fact that he has been overall healthy the last two seasons (he’s only played a full 16-game season once in his NFL career, when he was a rookie in 2013), his lack of speed has come into question, and the thought is as he gets older, that wasn’t going to improve. Warford was the second-highest-paid player on the Saints, second only to quarterback Drew Brees.
The Saints weren’t able to find a trade partner for Warford, and initial reports had him headed to the Houston Texans or the Chicago Bears. Given his consistency, it’s a mystery why he is still a free agent. Given that Warford is asking for a contract in the $7 million range - which is not high considering how durable of a player he has been – some team will benefit by signing him.
From NFL Now: It's rare to see high-level free agents in May, but there are several this year -- including G Larry Warford and DB Logan Ryan. pic.twitter.com/Jx8anic2Wo— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) May 11, 2020
After detailing the Redskins lack of talent at WR, TE and OL, the PFF article closes with a dire warning.
Haskins’ rookie season wasn’t perfect by any means, but he showed some reasons to at least want to see what he has to offer in a full campaign as the starter. For it to work, the Redskins must build around him. They didn’t do enough of that this offseason. It’s hard to see a path for success for Haskins and this Redskins’ offense in 2020, and that could mean a premature ending to his tenure as the starting quarterback in Washington.
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