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Dwayne Haskins Has Shown Steady Improvement This Offseason, But There's Still 'A Long Way To Go'


There were times during offseason workouts when the Redskins' decision to draft quarterback Dwayne Haskins looked like a stroke of genius -- a laser delivered on a slant over the middle, a dart squeezed into an extremely tight window, a dime dropped in between two defenders and multiple deep balls that looked effortless, tearing through the Redskins Park sky.

But in other instances, the 15th-overall pick struggled. He airmailed passes and bounced others in front of his intended receivers. He took would-be sacks and threw red-zone interceptions. His timing may have been off on these plays, or he might have made the incorrect read.

Such is the life of a heralded rookie quarterback in the opening months of his NFL career. Between rookie minicamp, OTAs and veteran minicamp, the Redskins have thrown a lot at Haskins ranging from formations and protections to two-minute and no-huddle drills.

And while the coaches have been pleased with Haskins' progress, both parties understand the future development needed to successfully run an NFL offense.

"There is a lot to learn for the kid, but we want to get it all out there for him so he has an understanding of what it is going to be like come training camp," head coach Jay Gruden said Tuesday following the team's final OTA session open to the media. "A long way to go, but I like where he is at."

Take a look at some of the best photos from the Redskins' 2019 offseason workouts and minicamps.

Haskins' No. 1 objective over the past month has been familiarizing himself with the Redskins' system. There's a whole new playbook to study, terminology to decipher, formations and coverages to recognize and adjust to -- both before the snap and in the face of NFL pass rushers. He must also call plays in the huddle, which was a rare occurrence during his Heisman Trophy finalist campaign at Ohio State last season.

"It's been a process," Haskins told reporters after practice Tuesday, "but everyday I feel like I'm getting better at it."

His coaches and teammates seem to agree.

During mandatory minicamp last week, cornerback Josh Norman praised Haskins for his competitiveness and fearlessness in the pocket. Instead of looking elsewhere, Haskins often challenged Norman and other veterans like Quinton Dunbar and Landon Collins in practice. The nature of offseason workouts allowed Haskins to attempt riskier passes, even if one of them landed in the hands of Norman for an interception at the goal line.

For now, Haskins can live with those results on occassion. He knows they'll serve as valuable learning experiences down the road.

"It's all about feel, knowing when to take the right risk and when not to, knowing the right windows to throw in," Haskins explained. "It just takes time."

Even when Haskins does makes an incorrect read or messes up a hypothetical late-game situation -- i.e. running the ball with no timeouts in the final seconds of a two-minute drill -- he seldom makes the same mistake twice, first-year offensive coordinator Kevin O'Connell said. O'Connell has also noticed that Haskins attacks every workout with a sense urgency and efficiency rarely seen among rookie signal-callers.

"I've been really impressed with his ability to go through [quarterbacks] coach [Tim] Rattay's individual drills and really not waste any time out there, knowing that every moment matters for him," O'Connell said. "Sometimes rookies can swim a little bit with all the information we're throwing at him and want a little bit of a deep breath and say, 'Hold on, let me get ready for this next period.' But he hasn't been like that at all. It's just, 'What do you got for me next, let's go.'"

Haskins said learning the Redskins' offense has been a "team effort" between a host of coaches -- many of which played the position professionally -- as well as his contemporaries in the quarterbacks room.

They've helped Haskins understand route concepts and read NFL defenses, which he said are more exotic than in the college ranks.

"At Ohio State, you've got mostly quarters and man coverage, some teams you get Cover 2 and some one fire and some [Cover 1] man," Haskins said. "And then you get here and you've got two and burn and quarter-quarter-half and a whole bunch of different stuff that you don't really see on a regular basis. ...It's an adjustment, but it's fun to see the different looks out here."

With the quarterback competition set to intensify during training camp in Richmond, Va., at the end of July, Haskins' plan for the next five weeks is simple: "train, train, train." He'll be in Paris for a Jordan Brand event at the end of June, but aside from that he expects to frequent Redskins Park to study, lift, watch film and grab whomever he can for throwing sessions.

In his mind, there is no offseason.

"If he feels like he is a little bit unsure of anything, he has to study it and continue to go over it in his mind and rehash it," Gruden said. "He will have plenty of videos to watch and all that good stuff. Dwayne is going to work hard at it, that's for sure. When he comes back to camp, hopefully it will be more natural to him."

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