With the first preseason game just days away, Washington Redskins quarterback Dwayne Haskins will finally have an opportunity to show just how far he’s come since he took the field for rookie mini camp after being drafted.
“I’m excited, man. It’s been a little bit,” he said on Monday. “I haven’t played in a game since last year, so the biggest thing is doing the same routine — getting ready for the game, how to study, how to prepare, how to get my body ready and, you know, just trying to figure out whatever role I have in that game to do the best of my ability.”
It’s been a very competitive and beneficial two weeks in Richmond for the rookie as he continues to pick up the offense, ask questions and learn how to become an NFL quarterback.
He’s had some good days and some bad days, which is to be expected. There have been days where he’s been in a rhythm with the offense during the team sessions, and there are days when the defense has given him fits and he ends up throwing two or three interceptions in one day.
These are all things that are part of his progression from OTAs to now.
“Just being comfortable, just trying to find consistency,” he said. “Finding a rhythm is hard when you don’t go as often as a (first or second stringer). Just trying to figure out ways to hit a stride and keep getting better. I’m just trying to find every little nuance whether it’s throwing extra after practice, staying longer after a meeting, or whatever is necessary for me being ready to play.”
Not only does he have the benefit of watching Colt McCoy and Case Keenum on the field and in the meeting rooms, he also has a bonus veteran in Alex Smith with whom he has developed a relationship.
“Alex is a great guy,” said Haskins, who shared a college coach with Smith. “Urban [Meyer] told me how knowledgeable he is of the game back when I was in college and he always talks about Alex Smith when he was at Utah.”
One thing that hasn’t gone unnoticed is Smith on the field everyday with his crutches, standing with the quarterbacks after every play. Most of the time, Smith is standing with the rookie.
“After every play, after every rep, if I am standing right next to him, I just ask him what he saw, how he saw it and how he would do this, and then he gives me an insightful answer,” said Haskins.
Head coach Jay Gruden hasn’t announced how he plans to use the quarterbacks on Thursday, and we might not know anything until they take the field. No matter how much he plays, it will definitely be a special trip for Haskins as he heads back to Ohio, where he played his college ball.
“I played in Columbus,” he said, which is a couple hours southwest of Cleveland. “But of course all my Ohio State friends are hitting me up about it and stuff like that. I’m excited to be back in the state I went to college at. [I have] a few friends in Cleveland, I’m looking forward to going back and having some fun.”
Thursday is only step one in the long journey for Haskins, as he was drafted to be the future of this team. We don’t know when he will take the reins as the starter, but one thing’s for sure — he’s loving every minute of this competition.
“I’m thriving, man. I’m just having fun with it,” he said. “I mean, I’m not a seven, 10-year vet, so of course those guys have a better understanding of what they’re doing. But, I mean, I use that as an advantage because I can ask them, ‘What are you seeing? How would you handle this?’ And they do a great job helping me. So, I mean, I know that I’m going to play when it happens. I’ve got to be prepared and ready for it. But I’m rooting for everybody — rooting for Colt [McCoy], rooting for Case [Keenum], rooting for everyone and want everybody to do well.”
The competition is only going to make everyone better, and that’s the theme of this camp.
Follow along as George Wallace covers training camp in this WTOP live blog.