- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 15, 2020

ASHBURN — A losing franchise, a new coach charged with turning things around and a struggling second-year quarterback the current staff didn’t pick.

Sound familiar?

There have been a lot of parallels between the Washington Football Team and the New York Giants since both drafted quarterbacks in the first round in 2019.

One key difference, though, will be prominently on display Sunday when the Giants host their NFC East rivals in the Meadowlands in New Jersey on Sunday.

Washington has pulled the plug, for now, on the Dwayne Haskins experiment, while New York seems as committed as ever to Daniel Jones.

Jones, like Haskins, has had more downs than ups since becoming an NFL starter, but New York coach Joe Judge says the franchise isn’t second-guessing taking him at No. 6 overall a year-and-a-half ago.

“This guy is still a young guy,” Judge said. “We’re working on him getting really comfortable in the scheme. He’s made a lot of progress for us. … He’s definitely a very resilient guy. He’s a fighter. He stands there and plays very aggressive.”

Judge’s support of Jones stands in contrast to Washington coach Ron Rivera’s handling of Haskins, who missed another day of practice Thursday with an illness after being benched last week.

The Giants are 0-5, but Judge hasn’t sounded tempted to make a quarterback change like Rivera, who has promoted Kyle Allen to lead Washington’s last-in-the-league offense.

Jones and Haskins have been linked since draft night in April 2019, when cameras caught Haskins shaking his head and laughing at the Giants’ selection of Jones sixth overall.

Sunday would have been their third meeting head-to-head — but their paths have sharply diverged since Haskins’ demotion.

The change appears to come down to a difference in philosophies.

Statistically, Jones hasn’t been much better than Haskins. The 23-year-old has gone four straight games without throwing a touchdown and his quarterback rating of 70.6 is actually worse than Haskins’ 80.3.

From the outside, there are long-term concerns with Jones as well. Specifically, Jones has committed a turnover in all but one of his 17 career games.

He’s thrown five interceptions this season and lost three fumbles.

The mistakes have New York reporters and radio hosts wondering if the Giants would move on after the season if the team had a chance to draft Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence, the sure-fire quarterback prospect who seems like a lock to go first overall.

For now, the Giants haven’t wavered from Jones.

“We have all the confidence in the world in the guys on our roster, and we have a lot of confidence in Daniel as well,” Judge said. “Listen, just my personality and personality of this coaching staff is we’re very blunt, open and honest. … He’s a tough-minded dude. He responds to a lot of criticism on the outside. But he blocks that out and he plays for his teammates internally. Those guys respect that about him.”

It’s worth noting that the football executive who drafted Jones — general manager Dave Gettleman — is still with the Giants.

That’s not the case in Washington, where Bruce Allen, the former team president who presided over taking Haskins at No. 15 overall, was fired after last season.

Many saw owner Dan Snyder’s fingerprints on the Haskins selection, though, so Rivera’s benching of the Ohio State product, especially after so few games as a starter, raised eyebrows.

Rivera has said Snyder is on board with the decision.

Washington has three straight division games coming up in the up-for-grabs NFC East, and Rivera wants to know if Allen — or veteran Alex Smith — can jumpstart the team’s moribund offense.

Rivera, meanwhile, faces daily questions about his now third-string quarterback.

Haskins, who has been subject to trade rumors recently, missed his second day of practice and was set to meet with Washington’s team doctor for further examination, Rivera said.

Rivera said he did not know if Haskins would travel with the team this weekend.Rivera was obviously agitated Thursday as reporters asked if Haskins’ illness was a distraction and if there was “confusion” over the diagnosis.

“Honestly, the only time I have to handle it is when you guys ask about it,” Rivera said.

“That’s the truth. I get the reports and we go from there. A young man’s feeling ill and we’ve got to respect that and make sure that he’s getting the proper care and he’ll be back when he’s getting better and feeling healthier. I mean it.”

Last year, when Haskins traveled to face the Giants, he was thrust into action for the first time as a pro. He ended up throwing three interceptions and later said he wanted to “throw up” while watching the film.

A year later, Haskins could very well be home, perhaps sick to his stomach in a literal sense.

Jones? He’ll be taking the field with his backup — former Washington quarterback Colt McCoy, no less — watching from the sideline.

• Matthew Paras can be reached at mparas@washingtontimes.com.

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