- - Monday, November 25, 2019

Questions about quarterback Dwayne Haskins outnumber the answers, a ratio that won’t change anytime soon. With three starts in five NFL appearances — following just one season as Ohio State’s starter — the Washington Redskins’ rookie can generate as much pessimism or optimism as observers possess.

Only a few characteristics would be deemed undeniable by a consensus.

He has ideal size at 6-foot-4 and 230 pounds. He has exceptional arm strength to make any throw. And he comes across as a “young” 22-year-old, not mature beyond his years.

There are a number of legitimate concerns regarding Haskins, but his youthfulness isn’t one of them for me. I just assume he’ll grow up and grow into the 360 degrees of being an NFL quarterback. That’s why I’m not overly concerned that Haskins was celebrating with fans and missed the final snap Sunday against the Detroit Lions.

How much indignation is appropriate? I’m not sure exactly … just less than the amount unleashed after Case Keenum entered the game to take a knee in victory formation.

Snapping selfies with fans as time expires certainly is a bad look. Haskins subjected himself to national ridicule and local outrage, bringing unwanted attention on himself after Washington’s first home win in 13 months. In the clock’s last two ticks, he made a giddy moment grave, changing the subject from performance to comportment.

“I thought the game was over with already,” Haskins said Sunday. “I’ll get it next time.”

I believe him, convinced he’ll never again miss a victory formation due to premature jubilation. It was wrong and embarrassing, a mistake he surely won’t make twice. However, in the grand scheme of things, it’s more molehill than mountain. It’s something to be brought up, but not belabored.

Interim coach Bill Callahan promised to address it and the conversation should’ve been a quick one. Callahan: “Hey, Dwayne, you need to be available until the final gun.” Haskins: “Okay, coach. Will do.”

Juvenility isn’t an excuse for the incident, but it could be an explanation. You might’ve noticed that people mature at different rates. Some 16-year-olds are more grown-up than folks who have lived a quarter-century. Individuals who just reached legal drinking age can be more sophisticated than some 40-somethings.

Fellow 2019 first-round QBs Kyler Murray and Daniel Jones might be more practical than Haskins at this point — they’re all the same age — but that doesn’t indicate a character flaw on the latter’s part. It doesn’t mean he’ll never catch up. We can make predictions, but there are no guarantees either way.

I’m willing to bet Haskins draws even with Murray and Jones in finishing games.

My greater concern is him playing comparably during games.

Murray has a completion rate of 64.6 percent and Jones is at 62.5 percent. Haskins is languishing at 54.6. In quarterback rating, Murray (91.2) and Jones (87.8) are far superior to Haskins (55.9). The gap in touchdown-to-interception ratio is significant, too.

Murray has thrown 3.75 TDs for every pick, while Jones has thrown 2.12 scoring passes for every pick. Haskins is in the red, with two touchdowns (in garbage time) against six interceptions.

He can abstain from in-game selfies and wear his helmet through post-game handshakes. He can don three-piece suits for interviews and speak perfect QB jargon. But if his accuracy doesn’t improve eventually, Haskins will just be a super-mature bust.

Through three starts, he’s headed in the wrong direction. His completion rate has fallen from 68.1 against the Bills, to 54.2 against the Jets, to 44.8 against the Lions.

He failed to connect with receivers who were open, or wide open, on several occasions Sunday, notably Terry McLaurin for a would-be go-ahead touchdown in the final minutes. “His misses were a little bit of everything,” Callahan said Monday. Sometimes Haskins rushed and sometimes he was just too strong.

“He’ll learn from this experience and this game especially,” Callahan said, “not only the reads and progressions, but also more about his footwork and base and where his feet need to be set to make him a more accurate thrower.”

At least Haskins saved his best for crunch time, leading Washington to a pair of late field goals. On those drives, he completed 6-of-10 passes for 68 yards and scrambled 11 yards for a huge first down. “I think he performed under pressure as well as you possibly can perform,” Callahan said.

Haskins needs to perform much better over the course of 60 minutes. If he continues to develop — while growing as a young adult and professional athlete — no one will care that he didn’t play the full 60 minutes in his third career start.

Provided that he successfully answers urgent, long-term questions, the memory of Haskins‘ selfie will be good for a laugh one day.

⦁ Deron Snyder writes his award-winning column for The Washington Times on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Follow him on Twitter @DeronSnyder.

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