Joe Gibbs on Dwayne Haskins benching: ‘His whole future is in front of him’

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The decision to bench Dwayne Haskins is one that will impact the entire Washington Football Team organization. Yet, the two men at the center of the decision are Haskins and head coach Ron Rivera.

On one end, you have a young quarterback that is dealing with a major setback in his career, dealing with doubters at every corner. On the other end sits Rivera, a new head coach who was tasked with making the incredibly tough decision of changing course on the young quarterback that was brought in to be the future.

One person who may understand the situation better than anyone else is former Washington head coach Joe Gibbs. The three-time Super Bowl champion dealt with similar circumstances during his time at the helm in Washington.

In this situation, he believes there are positives to take away for both Haskins and Rivera.

Beginning with the quarterback, Gibbs was thrown into almost an identical conundrum with one of his passers, Mark Rypien. A slow start to the QB’s career led to Gibbs giving him some time on the bench. Despite it being a tough moment for a young player to overcome, Gibbs saw Rypien thrive later on.

“Now I would say for Dwayne, a lot of people look at this and say this is a huge deal, which it is, but I think back to in my career working with Mark Rypien. When we started Mark I think we went for about six or seven games and we were turning the ball over and we benched Mark,” Gibbs said to CBS Sports. “And I think it’s one of the best things that maybe had happened to him. He had the chance to sit back, study, understand what we were trying to get across and when he came back from that he obviously took right off and led us and eventually was MVP of the Super Bowl.”

When looking at Haskins, Gibbs feels that the same thing can happen for him. At just 23 years old with only 11 career starts, there is plenty of room for Haskins to grow. At this point, Gibbs sees no reason to believe that this is the end of the road for the quarterback.

As long as he takes the moment in stride and continues to work and grow, there is a chance that the benching is just a small setback in his eventual success story.

“This is part of the NFL. I think sometimes this is a growing pain situation and I think he’s so young. I think his whole future is in front of him,” Gibbs said. “Believe me, I think if he handles this the right way, I think this could be something that would help him in his career, not hurt him.”

Moving over to Rivera, Gibbs understands just how difficult a decision of this nature is. Making a change at quarterback is never easy, especially when it means moving on from a young, growing passer.

Some will ponder if the leash was a little too short, but Gibbs isn’t about to question Rivera’s choice. Based on the reputation Washington’s current head coach has garnered over the years, Gibbs believes that he is doing what he feels is best.

“I just have great respect for him,” Gibbs said. “I just think a lot of him and his coaching staff. So I think the decisions they make there are going to be best for the team.”

That belief that Rivera is making moves in the interest of wins and success has Gibbs optimistic about the future overall.

Realistically, since the days of Super Bowls with Gibbs, Washington has been unable to consistently win. More so, the culture within the organization has taken a hit. The franchise has been trying to get back to the glory days but has failed so far.

That is something Gibbs feels is changing. With the new additions of Rivera and team president Jason Wright, the tides feel as if they are beginning to turn. There may be more bumps in the road ahead, especially at quarterback, but Gibbs is confident that the future will be bright.

“I think right now some of the things that have happened there from a culture standpoint with everybody, I think Dan [Snyder] is addressing. I know bringing in Jason Wright, I think he’s taken a real strong stance against things. I know what kind of person Ron Rivera is and I feel great about him. I think Dan has made some good decisions there and I think they’re changing direction obviously in some areas that needed to be done. But I think right now, I really am kind of excited about where we are,” Gibbs said. “The fact that Dan was able to recruit and get Ron, a lot of teams were after Ron, and for Washington to win a chance to get this coach, I think it’s a big deal for us and I think he’ll make good decisions for them. I like the direction that we’re going.”


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