SNIDER: Haskins now knows what Redskins expect and NFL demands

There were moments of confusion in Redskins quarterback Dwayne Haskins' rookie season. With three prep championships and a 50-touchdown season in college, he'd never seen so much losing up close. But in recounting his first season for in a first-person account entitled, "In My Words," Haskins offered an early moment that bodes well for his development this fall. Closing within 17-9 at Buffalo in his first start, the whirlwind of the NFL suddenly paused for the passer. "I still made some mistakes in that game, but my mind was calm," he wrote. "It was windy outside, and the Bills Mafia was loud, but I was going to be the best me, the best quarterback, the best leader I could be." The Redskins lost 24-9 and went on to a 3-13 season. Sometimes Haskins played well, though ironically not in his two victories. He later threw for 261 yards and a 121.3 rating in a 37-27 loss to Philadelphia, and was 12 of 15 with a 143.2 rating against the New York Giants before getting injured and later missing the final week of the season. The final two efforts were enough for Haskins' backers to warrant a starting job this season. But, Washington has changed coaches and Ron Rivera may lean towards his former Carolina passer Kyle Allen. If the current pandemic cancels offseason camps as expected, Allen would certainly have an edge. But, the Redskins invested a first-rounder last year on Haskins. They need to give him every chance to prove his worth over Allen. If Washington fulfills the prediction of Sports Illustrated's Jamie Eisner of the Redskins having the overall No. 1 pick in 2021, then "Tank for Trevor" or "Lose for Lawrence" will be fans' motto for the Clemson quarterback and Haskins is gone. Haskins' first-person online account shows he now understands the uphill task of competing in the NFL. He mentions the classic "sense of urgency." These things are great touchstones of understanding, but he's still a long way from proving it on the field. Still, Haskins is no longer in the fog of a rookie season. Everyone in the NFL, from water boy to owner, spends the first year on an unending treadmill of learning. The second year has a foundation on which to build and by the third season, it's prove-it time. Sure, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said Haskins needs great players around him to become an elite passer. The same could be said about every quarterback. A few pedestrian ones have even won Super Bowls given the surrounding great talent. Haskins doesn't have that luxury this season. The ground game is a hybrid of hopes and the receiver corps is no second coming of the Fun Bunch, but a promising crew still learning like Haskins. But, at least Haskins gets it now. He knows the pro game will devour him if not taken seriously. Now, we wait until the fall to see if Haskins can produce consistently, or Allen gets the nod and another first-round selection is wasted.
Rick Snider has covered Washington sports since 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @Snide_Remarks