ITI: What happened with Dwayne Haskins? Why isn’t he the day-one starter and how far is Alex Smith from a return?
Camenker: Dwayne Haskins isn’t the day-one starter because the team doesn’t believe he’s quite ready to start at the NFL level yet. When they drafted him, they saw him as a raw, one-year starter who needed time to develop. With two veteran quarterbacks in tow (though Colt McCoy is dealing with a leg injury that will keep him out) the team elected to go with Case Keenum, the veteran at quarterback.
That said, Haskins did show a lot of growth in his four games of action during the preseason. He flashed the arm talent needed to make some downfield plays, and after struggling with turnovers and holding the ball too long early in the preseason, his pocket presence and decision making improved.
He could eventually start, but they just want to keep honing his skill set on the bench. It also didn’t help his cause that the left side of the team’s O-Line isn’t in great shape.
As for Alex Smith, he won’t be back this year. The best-case scenario is that he’s healthy for next year and can serve as the top backup for Haskins and mentor the young passer. Of course, the team may want to rework his contract if that is to happen, but we’ll cross that bridge next offseason.