Ron Rivera’s last two years as the Panthers head coach fizzled in large part due to Cam Newton‘s injuries and he went to the Super Bowl after a season that netted Newton the league’s MVP award, so there’s likely little need to explain to him the benefits of having the right quarterback in place.
Washington drafted Dwayne Haskins in the first round last year with the hope that he’ll be that quarterback for their team and Rivera will now be charged with overseeing the work that goes into getting Haskins to that place. The new Washington head coach isn’t making any promises about what that will mean for Haskins in September.
Rivera said he believes Haskins “can become a franchise-style quarterback,” but has to “step up and become a leader” as part of a process that can’t be circumvented.
“What we’re trying to do right now is to develop that plan for his development as we go forward,” Rivera said, via John Keim of ESPN.com. “There’s a couple good veteran quarterbacks that [will] get some opportunities to play as well. We won’t know until we get ready to open up in September, so until then, everything is just a process. We can’t get ahead of it; we’ve got to stay to the plan and make sure we’re preparing ourselves properly to win football games.”
Washington’s veteran quarterbacks are Case Keenum, Colt McCoy and Alex Smith. Keenum and McCoy are set for free agency while Smith missed the entire 2019 season recovering from a broken leg. He wants to return to the field, but seeing if that’s realistic is one of many things that needs to fall into place before the quarterback picture in Washington comes into focus.