Washington Football Team head coach Ron Rivera recently announced that second-year quarterback and former Ohio State University product Dwayne Haskins will be the official starter under center for the foreseeable future.
Haskins will suit up for the Burgundy and Gold as the day one starter against the Philadelphia Eagles at home on Sept. 13. Rivera cites the young signal caller’s growth during the offseason as the basis for his decision.
“I made a commitment 10 years ago to another young quarterback and just told him: ‘Hey, you know what, I’m choosing you because I believe in you,’” Rivera said, referring to New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton. “That’s really how I feel about Dwayne. He’s lived up to his part of our conversation in January. Because of that, I’m living up to mine.”
The former Bullis School standout will start his first opening day NFL game against the Eagles Week 1 just a stone’s throw away from his old stomping grounds in Potomac, Md.
Though he only played in nine games last season (seven starts), the youthful gunslinger showed development in his game before suffering a high-ankle sprain injury that sidelined him against the New York Giants during the final of the 2019 campaign.
He was on pace to have the best game of his rookie season, completing 12-of-15 passes for 133 yards and two touchdowns against the G-Men.
“He deserves the opportunity. He’s going to get my support,” Rivera said. “Hopefully, we can ride it as long as I rode it with Cam. You want to be able to have that guy and have that guy in place.”
By season’s end, Haskins threw for 1,365 yards, tossed seven touchdowns, seven interceptions and boasted a quarterback rating of 76.1.
However, he will not have the services of future Pro Football Hall of Fame running back Adrian Peterson – a decision that many fans may find difficult to swallow. The team announced on Sept. 4 that Peterson had been released from the team despite being the leading rusher for the last two seasons.
The new-look backfield will feature University of Memphis standout Antonio Gibson, J.D. McKissic, Peyton Barber and Bryce Love (who will return after missing last season due to injury).
Peterson Blindsided by Coach’s Decision
Peterson rushed for more than 14,000 yards during his stellar career and the 35-year-old mentioned during the offseason that he wants to take a crack at Emmitt Smith’s all-time rushing record.
“One of the goals I set for myself when I entered the NFL was to pass the GOAT,” Peterson said during an interview with NFL Network earlier this year. “I look forward to playing a couple more years, three or four more, who knows, depending on how my body is feeling.”
Peterson said he doesn’t want to hang up his cleats until winning a Super Bowl and breaking that record in which he would need to average nearly 828 yards for the next five seasons. However, the former NFL MVP felt blindsided after being cut.
“It caught me by surprise,” Peterson said during an exclusive interview with NFL Insider Josina Anderson via Twitter.
“I was having a strong camp. It was showing up on film, taking #1 reps all the way to this week. I just got notified by the running backs coach yesterday that they want to give these . . . young guys some reps but I didn’t know I was going to get cut; there was no indication,” he said.
Peterson’s services remain valuable to other teams in the NFL as the Detroit Lions have already signed him to a one-year contract.
Philadelphia swept Washington last season in division play (0-2) and the Burgundy and Gold only achieved three wins.