Urban Meyer: Dwayne Haskins Needs Great Players, Culture for Redskins Success

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorMay 12, 2020

LANDOVER, MD - DECEMBER 22: Dwayne Haskins #7 of the Washington Redskins prepares to hand the ball off in the first half against the New York Giants at FedExField on December 22, 2019 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Former Ohio State football head coach Urban Meyer defended his former player, Washington Redskins quarterback Dwayne Haskins, in an interview with NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah and Bucky Brooks on the Move the Sticks podcast. 

"So it's the quarterback's fault?" Meyer said (h/t Grant Gordon of NFL.com). "Never mind the fact that their coach got fired, the place is a mess, there's this going on, there's this going on, this going on. A lot of stuff I heard from behind the scenes cause, once again I have several players thereyet it's Dwayne's fault."

Meyer was referring to Washington's 2019 struggles, which saw the team finish an NFC-worst 3-13. Head coach Jay Gruden was fired after an 0-5 start, and president Bruce Allen was relieved of his duties after the year.

Haskins completed 58.6 percent of his passes for seven touchdowns, seven interceptions and 5.9 adjusted yards per pass attempt. He struggled on a floundering team but came through in his final two games with four touchdowns and zero picks.

He threw 50 touchdowns for Meyer's Buckeyes in 2018, a season that ended with a Rose Bowl win. Meyer clearly believes in Haskins' pro potential and said that he simply needs more talent around him to thrive:

"I hate to be so simplistic on this, but you better surround him with some really good players. The NFL is amazing to me is that the minute a team, they draft a quarterback, they put him on a very bad team or there are a lot of culture issues. Which I, I don't want to start throwing stones, but I do know. I talk to my guys. I talk to a lot of these players.

"So it's the quarterback's fault now that their coach got fired after what, [Week 5]. They were in complete disarray and it's the quarterback's fault now. I wish college was that easy. For some reason it's not the quarterback's fault, it's the coach's fault. To me it's about culture and leadership. You want Dwayne to be a great player? Surround him with some really great players. Surround him with a really elite culture."

The 'Skins are attempting to do just that after hiring former Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera for the same position in Washington.

Rivera went 76-63-1 in eight-plus years with the Panthers, winning three NFC South titles and one conference championship.

The former Chicago Bears linebacker knows how to turn around a last-place team, as the Panthers went 2-14 the year prior to his arrival in 2011. In his third season, the Panthers went 12-4 and won the NFC South. Two years after that, Carolina started 14-0, finished 15-1 and made the Super Bowl.

Washington also set out to surround its franchise signal-caller with plenty of talent with a trio of mid-round draft picks in running back/wide receiver Antonio Gibson, offensive tackle Saahdiq Charles and wide receiver Antonio Gandy-Golden. An improved defense should help the cause as well, led by ex-OSU teammate and edge-rusher Chase Young, who Washington picked second in the draft.

The returns of running back Derrius Guice and wideout Terry McLaurin should also help Haskins.

Washington's 2020 campaign is scheduled to begin Sunday, Sept. 13, at home against the Philadelphia Eagles.