Joe Theismann surprised by timing of Dwayne Haskins' benching

Joe Theismann isn’t stunned that Ron Rivera benched Dwayne Haskins, but he is surprised it happened this week

Zach Gelb
October 08, 2020 - 7:43 am
Dwayne Haskins Washington

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Washington head coach Ron Rivera has announced that Dwayne Haskins will no longer be the team’s starting quarterback. 

A first-round pick in 2019, Haskins has completed 61.0 percent of his passes for 939 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions in four games this season, as Washington (1-3) is neck-and-neck with the Philadelphia Eagles (1-2-1) in the NFC East.

Former Washington quarterback Joe Theismann dropped by CBS Sports Radio to share his thoughts on Haskins' benching.

“I was a little bit surprised that it happened this week,” Theismann said on The Zach Gelb Show. “I think if you look at the division right now with Washington and the position they’re in and everybody else, you’re still in the hunt for a division title. Kyle Allen is much more attune to the system. He spent two or three years with Scott Turner down in Carolina, and I think Ron is looking for more efficiency. Unfortunately – and this is not Dwayne’s fault – he just hasn’t had the time in the system, nor the time in the game, to be able to develop the things that they need to to be able to efficiently run this offense.”

As Theismann explained, Haskins has talent, but he lacks experience and continuity. Haskins started one year at Ohio State, started just seven games as a rookie in 2019, transitioned to a new coaching staff this year, and did not have a normal offseason to learn the system and prepare for the season due to COVID-19.

“Ron is going with somebody who’s more familiar with [the system],” Theismann said. “I think he gave Dwayne an opportunity to be able to show what he has. . . . I’m surprised that it happened this week. I’m not surprised that it happened.”

There have been 60 quarterbacks drafted in the first round since 2000. Only three of them – J.P. Losman (four games), Paxton Lynch (four games) and Johnny Manziel (eight games) – were benched sooner than Haskins.

“I think Dwayne really lacks the experience,” Theismann said. “He’s a young guy in this game. He loves football. I know he’s passionate about it, and he throws the ball well, but his footwork has not been very good. He misses. He’s missed constantly high – missed high last year, missed high early this year – and really has not made the decisions that allow this football team to be able to be competitive. I think that’s what Ron looked at. . . . He was looking for progress. He was looking for something to say, ‘Okay, we can build going forward.’ And in their evaluation as coaches, they didn’t see it.”

Washington hosts the Rams (3-1) this Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.