Brian Mitchell: Dwayne Haskins' downfall was on him, not anyone else

Ryan Homler
·3 min read

Brian Mitchell: Haskins' downfall was on him, not anyone else originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

Less than two years since he was drafted No. 15 overall, Dwayne Haskins was released on Monday.

During the short, but eventful tenure, there were some factors that did not help Haskins. His first head coach, Jay Gruden, was not overly excited to have him as the new quarterback. When Ron Rivera came in, he said all of the right things about giving Haskins a chance, but the truth is it wasn't his draft pick any more than it was Gruden's.

Former Washington player and NBC Sports Washington analyst Brian Mitchell said he while that is a tough situation to enter, the biggest problem Haskins faced in Washington was himself.

“But I think it all boils down to one thing. It boils down to the player understanding and learning that he has to be different," Mitchell said. "He had to become a professional." 

To him, the quarterback position is more scrutinized than any other in the sport. The attention to every move one makes goes far beyond what is done on the football field.

In the public eye, it's all about making the right decisions that represent the team in a positive light. Being a quarterback comes with more responsibilities than just trying to win games. 

“If you’re not going to go out there and do the things you’re supposed to do, improve the way you’re supposed to improve and do what’s right," Mitchell said. "Listen, they’re not judging you just on the football field, they’re judging you off the football field as well. You are basically the face of a franchise, and when you don’t go out there and do the things, on a consistent basis, the right way, you’re not going to be around very long.”

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Mitchell doesn't see Washington's decision to release Haskins as premature, because at this point, there is no reason to believe change is coming. This wasn't an uncalculated move that didn't give the quarterback a chance to grow. In fact, Mitchell feels he's had more than his fair share of opportunities to prove that the mistakes - including his latest off-the-field coronavirus protocol violating one - could be corrected.

“Oh he was given a chance, he was given a chance," Mitchell said. "He was given several chances."

Mitchell himself has been a supporter of Haskins, even offering to help him turn his career around. But, like Rivera, he was over it.

"I was a great, big supporter of him until one day I realized, if he’s not going to change, he’s not going to do things the right way, then why the hell am I going out there and risking my good name on it?" Mitchell said.

Yes, Haskins joined the Washington Football Team is a less than ideal situation. 

Yet to Mitchell, that is only the tip of the iceberg. The real reason things didn't work out is because of the choices Haskins' made. In the end, that's who carries the blame.

"It’s about Dwayne Haskins more than anything else," Mitchell said.