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QBs Coach Ken Zampese Lays Out His Plans For Dwayne Haskins


Dwayne Haskins Jr. had a productive offseason, and he hasn't been shy about documenting his progress and who he's worked out with on social media. He spent time with a bevy of veterans, including Stefon Diggs, Deshaun Watson and Cam Newton.

Newton, who spent nine years with the Carolina Panthers, might be the most important of the bunch, because he's intimately familiar with the offense Haskins will be running this season.

A photo of Haskins and Newton on the field together eventually found its way to Washington quarterbacks coach Ken Zampese, who then reached out to Haskins and told him to ask Newton anything he wanted to know because Newton "had to speak this language for years". Haskins response was simple: "I'm already on it."

Zampese has seen what happens when Haskins puts his mind to a task; he said Haskins is in "great condition" and had a good offseason. Now it's about understanding a new offense, which is what Zampese wants to see out of Haskins the most in training camp.

"That is the part that is the toughest," Zampese said. "Those physical things I think will be easier to pick up. It is the other things like the mental side of it and the memorization of where we want to go."

Zampese already has an idea of what Haskins can do on the field. He saw how quickly Haskins released the ball once he identified the correct read and noticed him executing the same throws "over and over again."

Haskins was at his best in Weeks 14-16, when he completed 67% of his passes while throwing five touchdowns to just one interception. He also had a passer rating of at least 121.3 in two of his last three games.

But anyone can drop back five steps and throw to an out route, Zampese said. What Zampese wants to see is how Haskins memorizes the playbook, fluently reiterates the plays and knows the reads "inside and out."

"I can't wait to hear him speak and fix things and see those wheels turning faster and faster when we get out there."

That's what Zampese loves about coaching young quarterbacks; he gets to mold them from the start of their careers while building a winning mentality.

"You have a chance to feed them the language and information in such a way that you get to see that this works," Zampese said. "Things start to slow down for them, and there is an added sense of urgency on top of that because they start to see success. That part is a blast for me."

Zampese has helped put together a scheme that involves "less learning," meaning that there will be fewer reads to make things easier on Haskins and the other quarterbacks. For example, there could be nine plays that only have two different reads to simplify Haskins' responsibilities.

Haskins said in June that he's still learning but does feel comfortable in the scheme Zampese and offensive coordinator Scott Turner have built. Part of that comes from spending a year in an NFL offense, but Haskins also prefers the language of the Air Coryell system over the West Coast offense he ran last year.

"The concepts are the same, the reads are the same, just told differently," he said. "It's more one-word plays or tempo and things of that nature. It's easier to regurgitate and be able to play faster. … This year, it feels a lot easier getting used to what we're doing."

Turner said he and the other offensive coaches were "throwing a lot" at players during the classroom portion of the virtual offseason program. They gave quizzes and tests to make sure they were retaining the information, which made it "pretty easy to tell if they get it or not."

"Dwayne's doing a great job," Turner said in June. "You can tell he's putting the work in away from the meeting time, and he's working at it and doing as much as he can."

Haskins promised this offseason that he would deliver -- "it's never a question about that," he said. And after spending all summer conditioning and absorbing the new offense, he's ready to showcase what he's learned.

"I just think there is a lot of meat on that bone to get," Zampese said. "He is just starting, and the atmosphere in the building with Coach Rivera will get the best out of him."

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