From the moment of his introductory press conference, Rivera has praised Haskins as being a player who has the right skillset to be successful. Although his development will be a process, Rivera even went so far as to say he believes Haskins could be a “franchise-style quarterback.”
Rivera has gone out his way to say that he likes what he has seen from the No. 15 overall pick. For Haskins, that feeling is mutual.
"I think he's going to bring a lot of great discipline," Haskins told Redskins.com's Kyle Stackpole before the NFL Honors at Super Bowl LIV in Miami. "[He'll help us] be accountable for one another and try to win games. After all the conversations we've had, I look forward to the future and what we can do together as a team, and I think he's going to do a great job."
Rivera got to see firsthand what Haskins can do when he was the head coach of the Carolina Panthers. Haskins completed 13 of 25 passes for 147 yards as he led the Redskins to a 29-21 victory.
But the connection between Haskins and Rivera's staff goes back even further to when he was vying to be a first-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. When Redskins offensive coordinator Scott Turner was Rivera's quarterbacks coach with the Panthers, he and Rivera met with Haskins for a pre-draft evaluation.
The Panthers already had their franchise quarterback in Cam Newton, but Turner said Haskins impressed the Panthers' staff.
"I was able to study him as a quarterbacks coach," Turner said in his introductory phone conference. "Got to spend a little time with him, really liked his personality."
The matchup between the Panthers and Redskins was Rivera's last as the head coach with Carolina, as he was relieved of his duties on the Monday following the game. But once Redskins owner Dan Snyder started to meet with Rivera about possibly being the Redskins' next head coach, he began to watch film from their games and evaluated every player.
For Rivera, Haskins' first-career win over the Detroit Lions is a prime example of what Haskins can bring as a starting quarterback.
"I always go back to the fourth quarter," Rivera said. "I always go back to his last two drives that put him in position to score points when he needed to score points."
Haskins threw for 156 yards in that game and put his offense in position to score the game-tying and winning field goals in the final minutes of regulation. He completed a 17-yard pass to Terry McLaurin that allowed Dustin Hopkins to kick a 39-yard field goal that put the Redskins up, 19-16, with 16 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
"That means that this kid's beginning to understand and grow," Rivera said.
It didn't take long for Haskins to officially meet Rivera and his staff once it was fully assembled, and the conversations he had with them got him ready for next season.
"There are a lot of great dudes in the building," Haskins said. "I'm excited to get to work."
As Rivera mentioned on Radio Row, Haskins saw a lot of playing time in the last half of the season. He was named the permanent starter in Week 9 after appearing in relief for Case Keenum against the New York Giants and Minnesota Vikings.
Haskins said he got better with each start, and his performances back up that claim. He said he's more comfortable leading his teammates in the huddle, and as he gets ready to begin offseason training, he feels that "a lot of big things will happen" as he continues to work on himself.
Haskins plans to stay in Ashburn to train, but he also wants to work with McLaurin and fellow wideouts Steven Sims and Kelvin Harmon to prepare for their second season in the NFL. He believes the young core of players on the Redskins' roster are a special group that is "really hungry" to prove itself.
With Rivera and his new coaching staff leading the way, his expectations for the 2020 season are high.
"I feel like we can do a lot of big things this year."