Ron Rivera's Early Double Standard
It has been two weeks since the benching and unceremonious demotion of quarterback Dwayne Haskins.
Two weeks in this town when it comes to football can seem like a lifetime. Especially when the head coach can’t get his stories straight as to why he made such a drastic move so early on.
First it was that they were still in a position to win the division at 1-3. Then he didn’t want to hurt Haskins psyche by continuous losing.
Then it was that Dwayne failed a test on 4th and goal by not throwing the ball into the endzone on a horrible play design by the offensive coordinator.
Then reports start coming out that Dwayne was bragging about his 300+ yard passing game after the loss to the Ravens. Players were upset and Ron felt like he needed to send a message.
Then it was Dwayne wasn’t putting enough work in on the Monday thru Friday "stuff" that the fans don’t see.
Then it was that Dwayne wasn’t the first one in the building like veteran quarterback Alex Smith who—as it has been reported—sometimes gets to the building as early as 6:45 AM and is the first one there.
Redskins legend Brian Mitchell even went so far on air postgame and said that Ron is currently putting “lipstick on a pig” with the quarterback situation.
For all the reasons that have been listed against Haskins have suddenly started to show up against Allen.
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Bragging About Statistics
In what was one of the mind-boggling parts of Rivera’s post game press conference after the loss to the Giants, the coach started rattling off Kyle Allen’s statistics to justify his good play.
According to Ron’s standards—and the players in the locker room standards—statistics shouldn’t be bragged about after a loss.
The reason for Allen’s stats being inflated and close to a 300-yard passing game is that he threw the ball 10 straight times on the final drive for 75 yards. The only reason that was necessary was that he fumbled—the only way he knows how—which led to a defensive touchdown by Trae Crowder. The same Trae Crowder who was the last pick in the 2020 draft.
Danny Rouhier, of 106.7 The Fan’s Grant & Danny, brought out some great statistics in a Twitter thread of Allen’s performance against the Giants:
But, you know, it’s Kyle Allen. So, it’s okay to brag about his extremely underwhelming statistics.
“Only Way to Learn to Win is to Play to Win”
This quote from Rivera had my head spinning.
As mentioned above, Ron didn’t want to mentally lose his young quarterback because of the rough play and losing that had been happening. Ron wanted to win. So, did Ron think Dwayne’s psyche is not tough enough to go through the rigors of what it takes to win in the NFL?
It's become clear the past two games the teams struggles to get into the win column isn't solely on Dwayne.
The best way for a young player to figure out what it takes to win is throw them in the fire and have them figure that out.
This was never a team that was going to win a division. This was supposed to be a developmental year, but Ron is now chasing cheap wins—that won’t mean anything in the playoff race—at the expense of youth development.
As I’ve said before in the great words of legendary hockey head coach Herb Brooks, “They don’t have enough talent to win on talent alone.” They also clearly don’t have enough accumulative talent to win against a terrible New York Giants team.
If Ron was really all in on Dwayne’s development, he would have left his young quarterback and worked with him on what it takes to play to win. That way, Dwayne truly understands how to win in the NFL. But, again, Kyle Allen gets that benefit, not Dwayne.
The Monday thru Friday “Stuff”
There has been criticism that Dwayne has had some commitment issues with being all in on the extra work it takes to be an elite NFL quarterback.
He was praised in the offseason for his commitment to get in better shape and learn the playbook. Rivera couldn’t stop fawning over his work ethic.
But then the season started and that seemed to have gone to the wayside.
It’s fair to criticize this part of Dwayne’s preparation if Allen is doing the extra work that Haskins isn’t. What I would want to see out of Dwayne during the week is the same that the Seahawks see out of Russell Wilson.
Wilson watches the game twice Sunday night. Then Russell goes and breaks down each down and situational play along with the upcoming defense. By Tuesday, Wilson has a double-digit page plan of attack for his receivers and running backs. If Haskins wants to be a hall of fame quarterback and maximize his talent, that is the commitment he needs to put in.
But it’s the comparison to how Alex Smith comes to work and is the first in the building that Haskins gets and not Allen.
Why isn’t Allen getting criticized for not being the first in the building? Is Allen putting in the same amount of work as Alex? If not, why is that? Is Dwayne just staying later then everyone and it doesn’t get noticed as much?
We all know what Kyle Allen is and brings to the table. The same floor as Haskins has with a much lower talent ceiling. So, if you want to win, why aren’t we seeing critical remarks of Allen trying to raise that ceiling the same as we see of Haskins who does have a higher ceiling?
What is the Real Reason?
The answer to this would require someone to be a mind reader. But we are sophisticated enough as fans and media that we have learned to connect the dots and read between the lines. Something that Rivera might not had to deal a lot with while in Carolina.
Haskins might just not be the quarterback Ron wants to run 10 to 15 years with. Whether it is the play of Haskins, his attitude and preparation during the season, or that Ron wants to rid the organization of owner Daniel Snyder’s decisions. It looks like Ron wants to wash his hands of decisions that weren’t his own.
That’s fine. He has the power in football operations and as the head coach to do that.
Rivera just needs to stop trying to continuously create double standards for his players. Especially the quarterback who is arguably the second most powerful person in Washington, D.C behind whomever the President is. He won’t be able to pull a fast one on this fan base or media market. And he needs to learn that fast or even he will get eaten up and spit out.
Alan Lepore joins "Washington Football" on SI.com, while still doing outstanding work as an editor/writer at FullPressCoverage.com or @FPC_Redskins. You can follow him on Twitter @AlanLepore or on instagram @leporealan. Alan is a Villanova University MPA Nonprofit Management candidate and is a fundraising/development professional.