What’s the last thing you need before a season-defining NFL final week game that could see you
qualify for the playoffs? How about having to toss aside your starting, first-round drafted QB from the previous game, due to some seriously questionable personal choices and a lack of performance?
That is precisely what the Washington Football Team head coach Ron Rivera (pictured) has done in cutting troubled quarterback Dwayne Haskins after he was sanctioned for a second time due to breaches of health regulations. Also perhaps, for a less than stellar performance in defeat against the Carolina Panthers at the weekend.
In that game, which Washington lost 20-13, Taylor Heinicke replaced Haskins midway through the game after Haskins threw, 14/28 completions, two interceptions, no touchdowns for just 154 yards.
Heinicke went 12/19 for 137 yards and managed a single touchdown score to J.D.McKissic and it seems that he will now be back up for Alex Smith, should the experienced starting quarterback’s ankle injury keep him out of their final week win-or-bust showdown with the Philadelphia Eagles.
How does the change affect Washington’s Chances Against the Eagles?
A quick look at the latest betting odds with BetRivers PA reveals that despite the upheaval at quarterback, the Redskins remain the slight -125 favourites to win the game against the Eagles, who are +102 to land the victory that could hand the Dallas Cowboys a shot at the playoffs instead.
To put those odds in more context, it is worth noting that the teams did meet back on the first week of the NFL season and it was Washington that emerged as the clear winners, defeating the Eagles 27-17 at FedEx Field. Peyton Barber was key in that victory with the Running back scoring two touchdowns in the win.
Washington had won four in a row before defeats to the Seahawks and Panthers in the last two weeks and now the pressure is on for them to pick up the win in Philadelphia to earn a playoff spot despite a losing season.
What now for Haskins?
Unsurprisingly, the former Washington quarterback has come in for some pretty rough treatment in the press following being cut. However, he is not the only NFL star to lose his place on a team due chiefly to off the field issues and being accused, by some, of trying to develop his ‘brand’ ahead of his performance.
Neither is this an issue for black players in particular, despite what Booger Macfarland thinks. Have you heard of Baker Mayfield or Johnny Manziel, Booger?
My message was to all players which I said but specifically to the part of the NFL that’s makes up almost 70% the AA players. And of course I’m not speaking to ALL but in my 20+ years around the NFL I’ve seen to many cases. I stand by what I said whether u agree or disagree pic.twitter.com/6buvIc7Tje
— Booger (@ESPNBooger) December 29, 2020
While many of his critics expect Haskins to end up as a back-up somewhere, or in the CFL in a year or two, there is no doubt that he has talent and that with the right guidance and support, there is a chance he can reignite his career.
Haskins will be an expensive pick up off waivers for a team, and with just one game of the season left, there are not going to be too many takers. He may need to bide his time and reflect on the decisions he made that have left him in this position and then learn from them.
Does this Affect Washington’s Playoff Chances?
Despite the furore over Ron Rivera’s decision, the release of Haskins won’t hurt Washington’s chances a great deal against the Eagles. Haskins had not enjoyed a great season and if Alex Smith is fit to play, then a fit Smith would be a huge upgrade. If not, Heinicke looks a serviceable replacement.
Winning in Philadelphia though is a big ask, especially in a divisional game against a fierce rival, and that could be more problematic than the quarterback position issue. If Smith is fit, then Washington should eke out a narrow win.
Without him, Washington may need a bit of luck, and a Dallas Cowboys defeat in New York against the Giants, in order to make it into the postseason.