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After taking over as starter late in the 2019 season, many presumed Dwayne Haskins Jr. would be the de facto QB1 heading into 2020. Not so fast, according to Ron Rivera.

“I think he can become a franchise-style quarterback,” Rivera said during his introductory press conference. “I do. It’s a process, though. I’m not going to say it’s going to happen overnight.”

The 22-year-old Haskins only won two of his seven starts in his rookie season but showed major strides down the stretch improving with every start. Haskins got off to a scorching start against the New York Giants in week 16 completing 12 of 15 passes for two touchdowns before suffering a season-ending ankle injury.

“Unfortunately he got hurt in the second to last game,” Rivera told The Team 980’s Brian Mitchell Show. “I would have loved to seen him finish that one and play in the last one. There were some things that said here is a young man that’s growing and developing. That’s the huge plus.”

Anytime Haskins was brought up to Rivera, he made sure to remind everyone that he’s not the only quarterback on the Washington Football Team roster who is capable of winning the starting job.

“There’s a couple of good veteran quarterbacks that are obviously going to get some opportunities to play as well,” Rivera said. “We won’t know until we get ready to open up in September.”

The only other quarterback under contract next season is Alex Smith, who’s still dealing with lengthy recovery from a broken leg suffered back in November 2018. Veteran quarterbacks Colt McCoy and Case Keenum are not under contract for 2020 but the team may look to sign one of them as a backup.

How can Haskins assert himself and become the clear-cut favorite for starting quarterback duties? Rivera says the process starts right now.

“He’s going to have to step up and become a leader,” Rivera emphasized. “That’s all going to start with your offseason, how you prepare yourself, how do you get yourself ready. He’s got to be a guy that’s willing to step up in front of his teammates and tell them, ‘Hey, let’s go, man. Let’s roll.

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Ron Rivera: Haskins Must Earn Starting Job  was originally published on