By Mark F. Gray, Special to the AFRO, mgray@afro.com

At some point this season there will be two Black starting quarterbacks on either side of the Baltimore Washington Parkway.  However, the Baltimore Ravens will start Lamar Jackson, who they’ve tethered the future of the franchise, while the Washington Redskins will keep Dwayne Haskins under wraps for the beginning of the season.

Jackson has officially dethroned Ray Lewis as the face of the franchise, and although he may not dance better than the Hall of Fame linebacker, when the whistle blows he is a playmaker just the same. 

Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson will serve as a starting quarterback, while Washington’s Dwayne Haskins is poised to start at some point in the season. (Courtesy Photo)

but when the whistle blows he has the potential to be the most dynamic playmaker in team history.

Baltimore’s offense is tailored to allow Lamar to be himself, as he becomes the “passer” that sports analysts say he has the potential to become once he matures as a player. Those analysts seemed to have forgotten that he won the same Heisman Trophy that the Cleveland Brown’s own Baker Mayfield won a year earlier. Many of those same NFL prognosticators think that Jackson will never be an accomplished passer in the league. However, he has already won a division title despite having a late start last year.

This year Jackson will be a better passer with more weapons around him. Mark Ingram, former New Orleans Saints rusher, figures to be a calming influence in the backfield and in the huddle.  Ingram is the best Ravens running back since the days of Ray Rice. He blocks, he catches he passes, and he gets tough yards especially on third down. Baltimore’s receivers are need some work with the exception of Miles Boykin, Marquis Brown, and Michael Floyd .

That’s an uphill battle Haskins has to climb as he awaits his chance to start this year. If Washington’s offense had any semblance of a legitimate receiving corps, Haskins would be starting to open the season. There is no doubt that he is the most talented quarterback on the roster and has shown the ability to make every throw an NFL field general needs to. 

My prediction is that Washington will run the football and play better defense than they’ve ever played by mid-season. By then, they could be 2-6 looking toward next year with a quarterback in Case Keenum signed to a one year deal that will open door for Haskins debut. All that separates Haskins and Jackson are the expectations for the season. Washington is hoping to make the playoffs while Baltimore hopes to make a run at the Super Bowl.