The Washington Football Team has named its starting quarterback: Dwayne Haskins. Head coach Ron Rivera announced the 2019 first-round pick will start Week 1 against the Philadelphia Eagles. 

Haskins appeared to be the leader in the clubhouse throughout camp as he entered camp as the first-team quarterback. Alex Smith was the wild card in the equation as he was cleared to practice last week and Rivera admitted he would give him the opportunity to win the job upon his return. 

Through a month of practice, Rivera gave his endorsement for Haskins and the work he’s put in to win the job. 

“I think he’s growing. He’s learning, he’s developing,” Rivera said. “This year, obviously as a team we’re at a handicap. But for a quarterback, the guy really has to learn. This has been tough. I thought he’s handled it very well. He’s gotten a lot of good work in. He’s worked with [quarterbacks coach] Ken Zampese and the other quarterbacks. You see the growth, you really do. 

“Again, we still have a way to go, but it’s promising. And that’s probably the best thing you can say about it, too, that he’s showing those moments that really tells you he’s learning.”

Haskins improved as his rookie season went on, but struggled for the majority of his first year. He completed 58.6% of his passes and threw for 1,365 yards, seven touchdowns, seven interceptions and a 76.1 rating. Washington’s pass offense was one of the worst in the NFL, averaging 175.8 yards a game (last in the league) and 5.9 yards per pass (29th). Washington was last in points per game (16.6) and 31st in yards (274.7), which spoke to Haskins’ struggles early in the year. 

A full offseason has served Haskins well. The quarterback is more confident in his abilities heading into Year 2, particularly the improvements he made to his game. 

“Probably just trusting my drop, getting to a certain part of the read where I know it’s there. Last year where the window’s too tight, move on or where I don’t like it and I’ve got to move off the read faster,” Haskins said. “Now I feel like I’m more confident, more patient. I have a better understanding of the concepts and what defenses are showing me so I’m able to attack them most effectively. So, that’s one thing I feel like I’m showing, and I’ve gotten more comfortable within the last couple weeks.”

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