It’s each unfair and inevitable that the Cardinals’ cakewalk end result might be seen in the course of the prism of the 2 quarterbacks. However what must even be thought to be: how those groups have been constructed — or now not constructed — round their quarterbacks and what that claims about their franchises’ present status.
To get a way of the way every were given right here, it’s value having a look again on their earlier matchup.
Two years in the past, Washington traveled to Arizona to open the season and somewhat clobbered the Cardinals, a 24-6 victory that gave the impression so rosy for Washington on the time. Now it may be noticed as a demarcation level for the way the franchises diverged — and the way every ended up with its present quarterback state of affairs.
That sport has not anything to do with Sunday’s drudgery, during which Washington trailed 20-Zero at halftime and the glow of a Week 1 victory over Philadelphia totally dissipated. However it’s instructive as to how every franchise were given to its present place, with Arizona obviously ascendant at the back of its enthralling quarterback and Washington trudging ahead with a thrilling protection and, uh, Terry McLaurin.
Again in that 2018 opener, Arizona was once beneath a first-year trainer, Steve Wilks, who possession made up our minds via the tip of a Three-13 season wasn’t value transferring ahead with. The Cardinals made a company, decisive transfer — to not point out of venture — to fireplace Wilks and finally end up with Kliff Kingsbury, a former gunslinging quarterback who had maximum just lately have been fired as the top trainer at Texas Tech. Fired within the Giant 12 to employed within the NFL? Positive, why now not?
Concurrently, Washington was once beneath a fourth-year trainer, Jay Gruden, who was once not anything if now not middling and controlled some other shrug-of-the-shoulders 7-Nine marketing campaign. Slightly than be daring or gamble, Washington possession caught with Gruden headed into 2019.
The ones tendencies immediately have an effect on Murray and Haskins and the regimes with which they paintings.
In 2018, Arizona had drafted a quarterback, Josh Rosen, within the first spherical. In 2019, Kingsbury turned into the trainer. Kingsbury didn’t need Rosen. He sought after Murray with the primary pick out within the draft. Don’t blink. Do just. And thus, the Cardinals have as intriguing of a mix as there’s within the league: an offensive head trainer construction an offense for a multitalented quarterback who’s totally discovering himself in his 2d yr.
Watch the Cardinals, as a result of they’re a blast, and Murray’s the explanation. Patrick Mahomes turned into the NFL MVP in his 2d season. Lamar Jackson turned into the NFL MVP in his 2d season. Watch Murray, as a result of there’s a trend.
Which brings us to Haskins, in his 2d season, a lesser quarterback in decidedly lesser cases — now not of his personal making.
If Haskins was once certainly foisted upon Gruden — as such a lot of suspect and as The Publish has reported — then it’s simply some other knowledge level of the disorder that has outlined Washington for a technology and that new trainer Ron Rivera is making an attempt desperately to expunge. Regardless of the backstory, Gruden was once fired after a hideous Zero-Five begin to 2019, and Haskins’s first season was once performed in limbo — with a veteran unfastened agent quarterback, Case Keenum, employed necessarily to take a look at to save lots of Gruden’s activity, even if Gruden’s activity wasn’t value saving.
This means that this, in some way, is Haskins’s true rookie season — specifically because it compares with Murray, who has had Kingsbury as his head trainer and play-caller for all 18 of his profession begins. Haskins, against this, didn’t get started till Washington’s 9th sport remaining yr. He’s on his 3rd head trainer. He’s now not Murray in bodily abilities, evidently. However his running setting as a qualified hasn’t allowed him to be — but.
Nonetheless, it’s exhausting to look at Sunday’s sport and now not surprise, “What if Washington had Murray as an alternative of Haskins?” Or to look at Thursday night time’s NFL sport, during which the primary pick out on this yr’s draft, Cincinnati’s Joe Burrow, appeared very just like the league’s subsequent large megastar, and suppose, “I like Chase Younger, however wouldn’t it had been higher if Washington had the first pick out within the 2020 draft reasonably than the second one?”
Watch the sport, and make a choice the quarterback you need. It’s painful. Sure, there’s Murray’s bizarre working skill — 8 carries for 67 yards and two jaw-dropping landing jaunts — and Haskins isn’t going to be that roughly risk. And there are the uncooked stats: Via two video games this yr, Murray is 52 for 78 (66.7 p.c) for 516 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions, an 83.1 score; Haskins is 36 for 64 (56.Three p.c) for 401 yards with two touchdowns and no choices, an 85.Five score. Murray has all-world DeAndre Hopkins and Corridor-of-Famer-in-waiting Larry Fitzgerald. Haskins doesn’t. That every one issues.
However the visceral side is difficult to forget about, too. Take a stretch of a few mins within the 3rd quarter Sunday. Trailing badly, Washington — which has proven it gained’t roll over beneath Rivera — moved the ball within the Arizona 10. On 3rd and purpose from the 6, Haskins had tight finish Logan Thomas with a step on his defender finally zone. He both threw it too exhausting or with now not sufficient contact or each. It went over Thomas’s head. As a substitute of a landing, Washington kicked a box purpose.
At the Cardinals’ subsequent ownership, Arizona confronted fourth and 4 on the Washington 37. Kingsbury made the straightforward determination to move for it, and Murray zipped a wonderfully correct ball to Fitzgerald for the primary down. 5 performs later, Murray was once shaking and baking his method to a 21-yard landing run that necessarily put the sport away.
Now, let’s be transparent: That is a kind of seasons — and there were a lot of those in Washington over the last quarter-century — during which the principle goal is finding what younger items will have the ability to broaden and be key participants to a winner in two or 3 years. Even supposing the effects are tricky to take, every week could be a discovery that concentrates now not at the struggles of the current however as an alternative the probabilities of the long run.
Wait until they upload a real deep risk to enrich McLaurin. How lengthy may this defensive entrance stick in combination, and what nickname must it have? The week-to-week wins and losses subject much less when there’s actual construction to chart.
But it surely’s exhausting to suppose that, at the same time as growth is made, there gained’t be a week-to-week referendum on Haskins because the franchise quarterback. That’s now not essentially truthful. It’s simply fact. As a result of you’ll be able to’t lend a hand however go searching — at Mahomes and Jackson, at Murray and Burrow, on the veteran megastar quarterbacks who persist. All of it makes it exhausting to not surprise what it could be like in Washington had a kind of transcendent abilities fallen right here, with the correct construction and team of workers to improve him.