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NFL

Washington’s Quarterback Situation Keeps Getting Dumber

Washington quarterback Dwayne Haskins wears his mask improperly, like a real goof.
Photo: Patrick Smith/Getty

Washington Football Team quarterback Dwayne Haskins led his team to an underwhelming 20-15 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday. Haskins was mostly crud, but by cobbling together a pair of consecutive long touchdown drives in the fourth quarter and a third that stalled at the edge of the red zone, he provided some meager encouragement that the Football Team might not be totally screwed at the most important position in the sport.

That did not last long: Sunday evening Haskins was photographed partying maskless in close proximity to other maskless young people, and now the Football Team is probably screwed at the most important position in the sport.

While we wait to figure out what is implied by “in contact with the NFL” and “handling the matter internally,” it’s useful to recall how we got here and just how ill-equipped the Football Team is to handle losing yet another quarterback ahead of Sunday’s game against the Carolina Panthers. Kyle Allen, who took the starting job from Haskins back in Week 5, was lost for the season to a grody ankle injury in Week 7. Alex Smith assumed the starting job after Washington’s bye week and was mostly healthy for most of five weeks before his reconstructed right leg crapped out early in Week 14. Haskins, at that point the only healthy quarterback on the roster, took over for what was left of an ugly win over the 49ers and then the loss to Seattle.

Saturday morning the Football Team addressed their utter lack of depth at quarterback by elevating someone named Taylor Heinicke and someone else named Stephen Montez from the practice squad. Washington’s Week 16 game against the Panthers was flexed to the late afternoon slot Tuesday because, unbelievably, this team has a chance to clinch the NFC East crown and a playoff berth with a win. The NFL’s half-assed protocols would seem to demand that Haskins be placed onto the COVID-19 reserve list, which will leave the Football Team with either Heinicke or Montez under center for the most important football game they’ve played in at least two years. This absolutely could not be happening to a more deserving franchise.

For his part, Haskins issued a public apology Tuesday morning before making his Twitter account private. This is already the second time this season that Haskins has been dinged for violating team COVID-19 protocols, after he was fined back in October for inviting a friend to the team’s hotel in New York.

Dwayne Haskins apologizes for "putting the team at risk" by ignoring safety protocols while partying after Sunday's loss.Credit: Screenshot: Twitter

Something will be learned of the rigidity of the NFL’s protocols in how they handle this situation, but it will be a little bit rich for the league, which by playing this season is effectively thumbing its gigantic nose at the notion of COVID-19 precaution, to punish a 23-year-old for effectively doing the same thing in his personal life. Either way, this is a handy reminder that the only line dividing reckless social behavior a player can be punished for participating in (going to nightclubs and parties) and reckless social behavior a player can be punished for not participating in (playing football with a hundred other dudes every Sunday) is that the latter makes money for the NFL.