After the Washington Redskins had just taken an embarrassing 24-3 beating at the hands of the New York Giants on Sunday, of course Redskins fans would want to hear words of reassurance from the rookie quarterback who has been here for five minutes and had just completed 9 of 17 passes for 107 yards and three interceptions.
“It rains and pours but the sun will eventually shine,” Dwayne Haskins tweeted. “Whatever it takes, that’s my word. More fuel to the fire.”
After the pep talk came a little admonishment for the beleaguered customers of this damaged franchise: “Don’t be a fan later.”
Don’t be a fan later.
With that, Haskins becomes the latest Redskin to throw shade at a once-dedicated fan base that seems to have found something else to do on Sunday afternoons. Many have moved on, and some are not coming back.
Those who remain can brush off the rookie’s “warning” as social media foolishness, or, in some cases, twist the logic enough to find something comforting and inspirational in the No. 1 pick’s tone-deafness.
Haskins’ supporters (see ESPN’s Louis Riddick, who appears to be lobbying Redskins owner Dan Snyder for Prince of Darkness Bruce Allen’s job) will either chalk it up to a generational social media gap, or play it down as part of the growing process for a young quarterback.
Everyone will miss the point.
Haskins and his ill-considered tweet represent everything that is wrong with the Washington Redskins.
This is the Redskins culture, and it is the disease. It is what gets in the way of the football.
All the focus on who will play quarterback Sunday against the New England Patriots at Ghost Town Field — Haskins, Colt McCoy or a returning Case Keenum?
None of that matters. Culture does.
Quarterback for this team? Brad Johnson, Jeff George, Patrick Ramsey, Danny Wuerffel, Mark Brunell, Jason Campbell, Rex Grossman, Robert Griffin III, Kirk Cousins, Alex Smith — you get the idea. Makes no difference. Culture makes the difference.
The obsession over whether Jay Gruden will be fired? After Norv Turner, Marty Schottenheimer, Steve Spurrier, Joe Gibbs, Jim Zorn, Mike Shanahan and now Gruden — who cares?
None of them could fix a poisonous culture in which a rookie is empowered before he ever steps foot at Redskins Park. A culture in which a player who’s done nothing feels no qualms about tweaking a fan base that’s been bleeding for decades. A culture that permits Josh Norman to do the same last week without consequence.
Culture is the disease that allows Riddick to characterize Haskins as some sort of victim.
Riddick claimed on the ESPN’s “Monday Night Countdown” that putting Haskins — the backup quarterback for the game — into the Giants contest suggests there was some anti-Haskins agenda by Gruden.
“Do you think Dwayne Haskins feels totally supported in this process?” Riddick asked. “These are the kinds of things I talk about all the time, setting people up for success. That young man right now is being set up for failure. [Owner] Dan Snyder needs to recognize that.”
All he left out was, ‘Dan, here’s my resume.’
Is it any wonder Haskins feels entitled?
He was the only player at the NFL combine who had a meeting with the Redskins owner. He was the only player who reportedly got the phone call the night of the draft saying he was a Redskin from Snyder, whose son, as we all know, was a classmate of Haskins’ at the Bullis School.
And he was the only rookie in this draft given a revered jersey — Joe Theismann’s No. 7 — to wear before he ever took a snap for the organization. Snyder put the Redskins icon in the awkward position of making the decision on Haskins’ request for No. 7, the number he wore in college.
Culture was the disease when Robert Griffin III was told by Snyder to march into Shanahan’s office and tell him he would no longer run the coach’s offense. It was the disease when Snyder gave Griffin’s family entry to the locker room, a privilege not granted to other families. It was the disease when Snyder gave Griffin use of his previous yacht for the quarterback’s honeymoon.
The diagnosis of what ails this franchise isn’t new. But the toll it takes on the organization — on the field, off the field and in the locker room — is always underestimated by those who think football actually matters at Redskins Park.
It doesn’t — not when this disease strikes the latest savior of the franchise four games into his rookie season.
Earlier in the week, Haskins’ Twitter account reacted to the report from Fox college football analyst Joel Klatt on the Rich Eisen show that Redskins coaches didn’t want to draft Haskins with the No. 15 pick, but the “front office” — Snyder and Allen — did.
That’s been reported by various outlets before, and it’s true — there was a major disagreement between the coaches, player personnel staff and Snyder, who insisted that Haskins be selected with the 15th pick.
When the latest report came out, the Haskins account replied, “Fake News.” Not long after, that was deleted.
The disease remains immune to deletion.
It should be pointed out that we don’t even know if Haskins operates his own social media. It could be a member of the firm of Haskins & Haskins. And the young man may have been as pure as the driven snow before he became a Washington Redskin.
Now? He has quickly become the latest evidence of the disease that runs through the organization.
Who is playing quarterback Sunday? Like that matters.
Just make sure you’re not a fan later. You’ve been warned.
⦁ Hear Thom Loverro on 106.7 The Fan Wednesday afternoons and Saturday and Sunday mornings and on the Kevin Sheehan Show podcast.
• Thom Loverro can be reached at email@example.com.
Copyright © 2022 The Washington Times, LLC.