Mon Sep 28 5:04pm ET
By ADAM ZIELONKA
The Associated Press
Washington Football Team quarterback Dwayne Haskins throws during the first half of an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
Washington Football Team quarterback Dwayne Haskins celebrates after a 2-yard rushing touchdown by running back Antonio Gibson during the second half of an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Richard)
Washington Football Team quarterback Dwayne Haskins (7) scrambles during the second half of an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
Ron Rivera continues to support Dwayne Haskins a day after the quarterback's four-turnover game, only this time it came with a qualifier.
Washington's coach said he believes there is eventually a ''cutoff point'' in the long-term evaluation of a young quarterback such as Haskins, though he will remain the starter Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens with Washington on a two-game losing streak.
''He's developing, but we've got to continue to see positive growth. We can't see a regression,'' Rivera said Monday. ''The one thing he has to understand is there's a certain point where you're no longer a rookie. Again, to me he's still learning and growing. But there's a point where, hey, you know what, you should be more positive with your throwing plays.''
Haskins' three interceptions in the 34-20 loss to the Cleveland Browns were his first three of the season. The Browns turned each of them into a touchdown, which proved to be the difference in the game. Haskins also lost a fumble, as did rookie running back Antonio Gibson.
Washington only committed two turnovers in its first two games, so the question becomes: Was Sunday's lack of ball security a blip on the radar or a sign of bigger trouble brewing? There's still time for Rivera and the offense to sort out the answer.
''You're not gonna win football games if you don't win the takeaway battle,'' Rivera said after the game. ''I believe in that. Unfortunately, we didn't get enough turnovers back to help ourselves either.''
Rivera said the game film showed that Haskins stared down intended receivers on some of his interceptions rather than progressing through his reads and looking off defenders. He wanted Haskins to slow down both his reads and his throwing mechanics - but he stopped short of saying Week 3 marked a step backward for the second-year QB.
It was not a complete wash for the offense, which bounced back from scoring only 15 points in Week 2. Starting faster was a point of emphasis from the coaching staff all week, and the offense managed exactly that with a 75-yard touchdown drive in the first quarter to score the game's opening points.
More skill players got involved in offensive coordinator Scott Turner's schemes, with a whopping seven players running the ball at least once. While slot receiver Steven Sims Jr. didn't see any targets in the passing game, undrafted rookie Isaiah Wright made his pro debut and caught four passes for 24 yards.
WHAT NEEDS HELP
Besides the turnovers, Washington has not fared well when matched up against strong rushing attacks. The team gave up 158 yards on the ground to Cleveland after allowing 160 in Week 2 to the Arizona Cardinals.
Montez Sweat, one of Washington's 2019 first-round draft picks, turned in one of his best career performances to date.
''Montez showed that he's going to be a force to be reckoned with,'' Rivera said after the edge rusher had a sack, four quarterback hits and two tackles for loss.
Washington has 13 sacks through three weeks, second most in the NFL and the franchise's best three-game start in that category since 1983. Sweat is one of eight players to contribute at least a half sack thus far.
Starting safety Troy Apke remains vulnerable on the back end. A week after the Cardinals picked on him in the passing game, Apke played somewhat better, but failed to tackle Nick Chubb as he powered into the end zone for the Browns' first touchdown. Still, Rivera felt he saw improvement.
''One thing that pops up (is) when you put a guy like Troy Apke out there and he's inexperienced,'' Rivera said. ''Some of those things will show, but it's about seeing that positive growth. This week I thought he played well. I thought he played with better angles.''
Rivera did not have updates Monday morning about defensive linemen Chase Young and Matt Ioannidis, who left Sunday's game with groin and arm injuries, respectively. Young watched the second half from the sideline in street clothes, his right leg wrapped, and later tweeted that his injury was ''nothing major.''
Wide receiver Dontrelle Inman injured his left wrist in the fourth quarter, cutting short a two-touchdown performance. Rivera said Inman's X-ray came back negative and that he did not suffer a fracture.
6.2 - Haskins' passing yards per attempt this season, which ranks 31st among all quarterbacks to start at least one game.
A matchup with the area rival Ravens looms in Week 4. The front seven needs to get healthy, and the entire defense must learn from the mistakes it made against dual-threat quarterback Kyler Murray in Week 2 before taking on Lamar Jackson.
Five Fantasy Takeaways from Week 3
New York Jets head coach Adam Gase said that the team received good news on rookie left tackle Mekhi Becton (shoulder), who was forced to miss the team's Week 3 loss to the Colts. "The MRI turned out better than really we were thinking last night. Well see how he gets through the week and possibly he can play in this game," Gase said. The Jets really needed some good injury news given all of their injured offensive skill players early this season. Becton has been a bright spot on the team's offensive line through two games, and they'll need him this Thursday as they attempt to win their first game of the season against the winless Broncos.
Baltimore Ravens CB Tavon Young (knee) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Monday, Sept. 28. S Jordan Richards was elevated from the practice squad to replace him on the roster.
Jacksonville Jaguars DT Timmy Jernigan was released Monday, Sept. 28.
Jacksonville Jaguars DL Daniel Ekuale was elevated from the practice squad Monday, Sept. 28. Jacksonville also waived PK Brandon Wright, place LB Leon Jacobs (knee) on the Reserve/Injured list and signed OL Jared Hilbers to the practice squad.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Chris Godwin (hamstring) is scheduled to undergo an MRI on the hamstring injury Monday, Sept. 28, he suffered in Week 3 against the Denver Broncos.
Fantasy Spin: While he's been very productive when he's been on the field, it's been a rough start physically this season for Godwin, who missed Week 2 with a concussion he suffered in the opener. If Godwin is forced to miss some more time, Scott Miller would likely jump right back into the discussion as a possible flex option in deeper leagues. Godwin's absence would also likely mean more production for Mike Evans, who posted a 7-104-1 line without his tag-team buddy around in Week 2.
Updating a previous report, Denver Broncos DT Jurrell Casey (biceps) was diagnosed with a biceps tear Monday, Sept. 28, and will miss the rest of the season, according to head coach Vic Fangio.
Chicago Bears RB Tarik Cohen (knee) was diagnosed with a torn anterior cruciate ligament and was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Monday, Sept. 28.
Fantasy Spin: Cohen signed a three-year extension just over a week ago after never missing a game through his first three-plus seasons as a pro. His absence will presumably open the door for David Montgomery to serve as a feature back in this offense, although Chicago could easily ask Cordarrelle Patterson to take on some of Cohen's passing-down work.
Free-agent PK Aldrick Rosas was added to the practice squad of the Jacksonville Jaguars on Monday, Sept. 28.
Washington Football Team DL Matt Ioannidis (biceps) was diagnosed with a biceps tear Monday, Sept. 28, and is expected to miss the rest of the season.
Denver Broncos starting defensive tackle Jurrell Casey (biceps) suffered a torn biceps in the Week 3 loss to the Buccaneers and will miss the rest of the season. The Broncos traded for Casey this offseason, hoping that he'd be a key cog in the middle of the defensive line. Coupled with the season-ending injury to linebacker Von Miller right before the start of the season, Denver's defense is a shell of its former self at this point. Even with a mouthwatering matchup against the Jets this Thursday night upcoming, the Broncos Defense is, at best, a desperation streaming option in Week 4.
Seattle Seahawks S Jamal Adams (groin) was diagnosed with a first-degree groin strain Monday, Sept. 28. Although head coach Pete Carroll did not provide a timetable, the typical recovery for such an injury is usually one to two weeks.
Denver Broncos DT Jurrell Casey (biceps) was diagnosed with a biceps tear Monday, Sept. 28, and could miss the rest of the season, according to NFL Media's Ian Rapoport.
Free-agent PK Stephen Hauschka (Bills) reportedly agreed to terms on an undisclosed contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars on Monday, Sept. 28.
The Denver Broncos Defense predictably had a tough time slowing Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady down in the 28-10 Week 3 loss. With a pair of rookie cornerbacks in Michael Ojemudia and Essang Bassey, Brady threw for 297 yards and three touchdowns on the day. Denver's D was unable to force any turnovers and sacked Brady just two times. Safety Justin Simmons once again led the unit with seven tackles (one assist). They'll have a much easier task this Thursday night against a Jets offense missing all of their best playmakers due to injury. Still, the Broncos defense might be nothing more than a sleeper as a defensive streaming unit in Week 4.
Free-agent DT Corey Liuget (Bills) reportedly agreed to terms on an undisclosed contract with the Houston Texans on Monday, Sept. 28.
Free-agent DT Ryan Glasgow was added to the practice squad of the Houston Texans on Monday, Sept. 28.
Washington Football Team defensive lineman Matt Ioannidis (biceps) suffered a torn biceps in the Week 3 loss to the Browns and will miss the rest of the 2020 season, according to a source. It's a blow to a defense that could also be missing first-round pass-rusher Chase Young (groin) in a tough Week 4 matchup against the Ravens and their high-powered offense. Ioannidis had a career-high 8.5 sacks and 64 combined tackles for Washington in 15 starts in 2019. You can safely ignore Washington's defense next week against Baltimore.
The Jacksonville Jaguars are signing former Seahawks kicker Stephen Hauschka on Monday, according to a source. Hauschka was released by the Bills at the end of training camp when he was beat out by sixth-round rookie Tyler Bass. The 35-year-old latches on with the Jaguars after the team placed Josh Lambo on Injured Reserve last week. He'll battle for the starting gig with rookie Brandon Wright, who missed one of his two extra-point attempts in last Thursday's loss to the Dolphins. Hauschka made 22 of his 28 field-goal tries (78.6 percent) with the Bills last year and is a 85.7 percent kicker in his career. On a Jacksonville team with a very mediocre offense, Hauschka can be ignored for fantasy purposes if he wins the job.
Chicago Bears QB Nick Foles was named the starting quarterback ahead of Mitch Trubisky for Week 4 against the Indianapolis Colts on Monday, Sept. 28.
Fantasy Spin: It seemed only a matter of time before this happened. Even though Trubisky wasn't all that bad in Week 3 and "led" the Bears to a 2-0 start, he just never did consistently enough to move the offense. Although Chicago did not score for the first 1 1/2 quarters Foles took over, he sparked the offense in the second half and threw for three touchdowns in the final 6:20 to rally the Bears past the Atlanta Falcons. He'll be a low-end fantasy QB2 in Week 4 against the suddenly stout Colts defense.