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Redskins VP: 'New staff knows' Haskins is starting QB

Dwayne Haskins played his best football in the final month of his rookie season. It coincided with the time Ron Rivera was out of coaching. The young quarterback can really win over his new coach in the ensuing months.

After being hired by the Redskins last month, Rivera highlighted the growth Haskins demonstrated late in the season. He also said he would wait to name a starting QB, citing the need for competition.

Based on Friday's comments from senior vice president of player development Doug Williams, it's probably fair to say Haskins' primary competition on the pecking order is himself.

"The new staff knows that Dwayne Haskins is the starting quarterback here," Williams told reporters at a community event, per ESPN. "The only thing that can happen is for Dwayne to give it back to them. It's up to him to learn the playbook, wear the coaches out. He's got to stay at the facility until they run him out of the building. ...

"Dwayne has a long way to go. But like I told him, he was doing what we expected him to do. He was ascending. Hopefully the way he goes now, he keeps going up. All eyes are going to be on him. At the same time you've got a new coaching staff and they're not married to him."

Williams and owner Dan Snyder have thus far been the Redskins' only consistent voices since Haskins entered the league. He appeared just once in the five games headed by Jay Gruden in 2019, before eventually winning the starting job under interim coach Bill Callahan. In the past month, Rivera swapped out offensive coordinator Kevin O'Connell for Scott Turner, and quarterbacks coach Tim Rattay for Ken Zampese. Washington has yet to fill its GM vacancy after firing Bruce Allen in December.

The reboot means whatever divide there might have among team brass over selecting Haskins No. 15 overall a year ago matters much less than what he does moving forward.

"Dwayne didn't have the opportunity last year where the coaches put their arms around him," Williams said. "He's got to know we want you to be good. With the new staff coming in, and what he did towards the end of the year, he's going to give this new staff an opportunity to say, 'Hey, we need to work with this kid to get the best out of him.'"

It's the type of support any developing QB needs. Haskins got a whiff of it under Callahan, who committed to starting him for the rest of the season in November. In Haskins' final two games, he completed 72 percent of his passes and threw a combined four touchdowns without an interception.

It was seemingly enough to convince the organization to press on with Haskins despite holding the No. 2 overall pick in the 2020 draft. The Redskins are not believed to be in the market for a QB but instead often linked to Haskins' former teammate, Ohio State defensive end Chase Young.

Washington still has to decide how it will fill out its QB depth chart. Case Keenum and Colt McCoy are pending free agents, while Alex Smith continues to work his way back from a severe leg injury. Haskins said he realizes he must prove himself to his new coaches, regardless.

"I'm going to have to work hard and eventually take it over," Haskins said. "Just do your best to be accountable for what you have to do and be ready to go. [Rivera's] a guy who's going to hold you accountable and make sure you put the work in. I'm all for that. I'm excited."

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