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Five Takeaways: Dwayne Haskins' Weekly Press Conference


Quarterback Dwayne Haskins Jr. addressed reporters from Redskins Park on Wednesday following his first-career NFL road win. Here's what we took away from his media session:

1. Haskins reflects on his best performance as a pro.

Despite Haskins' uninspiring stat line against the Panthers -- he finished 13-for-25 passing for 147 yards and zero touchdowns -- the first-round rookie received the second-highest Pro Football Focus grade among NFL quarterbacks in Week 13.

Haskins took care of the ball and, for the most part, made smart decisions during the Redskins' 29-21 win in Carolina. He was able to recognize coverages and therefore eliminate certain reads pre-snap, which allowed him to get through his progressions quicker. And when he saw open receivers, he was decisive. He locked in on his targets, set his feet and delivered passes that were much more accurate than last week against the Detroit Lions.

It was a promising performance from Haskins, but also one he could certainly build on.

2. Haskins addresses the uptick in sacks since being named starter.

Over the first eight games, the Redskins gave up 22 sacks for an average of 2.75 per contest.

But in the four games since Haskins was named the starting quarterback, they've allowed an average of 4.5 sacks, including a combined total of 10 in his first-two-career starts against the Jets and Lions.

Interim head coach Bill Callahan said that sacks are the responsibility of the entire offense, so not all of the blame should go on Haskins. However, Callahan did say Haskins will sometimes hold on to the ball too much because of the trust he has in the offensive line.

Haskins went on to explain that he's too aggressive at times, especially in the red zone. He'll extend plays and attempt riskier throws instead of choosing safer options, such as checking the ball down or throwing it away. Sometimes. Those risks pay off at times; but other times, his unwavering confidence gets him into trouble.

Haskins admits that sacks happen to all quarterbacks -- "they're good, too," he said Wednesday -- but he also realizes part of the problem is self-inflicted.

"I'm just trying to figure out ways where I'm taking the check down when it's there faster, not moving on from a short route to throw a deeper route, stuff like that."

Take a look at practice photos from Wednesday's practice for the upcoming game.

3. Haskins on the two-minute offense: "That's one of my strong suits."

Facing a 2nd-and-5 in the final minute of the first half Sunday, Haskins found Steven Sims Jr. for an 11-yard gain and a first down.

On the next play, Haskins launched a pass deep left to fellow rookie Kelvin Harmon for a 20-yard pickup.

And on the play after that, Haskins moved the chains again. Upon taking the snap, he looked to his right, stepped into the throw and delivered a strike to running back Chris Thompson for 15 more yards.

Those three plays accounted for about 31% of his passing yards on Sunday and set the Redskins up inside the red zone with 32 seconds to play. And while a sack and a penalty derailed the drive, Haskins looked as comfortable during that sequence than he has since joining the Redskins.

It was as if he was back at Ohio State, slinging the ball to a host of different pass-catchers.

"Just being a little aggressive downfield with the play concepts and having defenders and high-lowing people and just being able to play in rhythm," Haskins said when asked about the series of plays. "That drive was a two-minute drill, and we're just moving the ball, pushing the ball downfield. I feel that's one of my strong suits, so I was very comfortable."

4. Haskins' relationships with rookie receivers are paying dividends.

Haskins isn't the only rookie that's been counted on to produce during his first NFL campaign.

Third-rounder Terry McLaurin has been the Redskins' go-to receiver since the regular season opener, while sixth-rounder Kelvin Harmon has started two of the last three games in place of the injured Paul Richardson.

Even Steven Sims Jr., an undrafted rookie out of Kansas, has earned more playing time as a wideout recently. And with Trey Quinn leaving Sunday's game with a concussion, he could join McLaurin and Harmon in the starting lineup moving forward.

Haskins said he has a "great connection" with all of them that dates back to before he was named the starting quarterback in Washington. Haskins and Harmon both grew up in New Jersey and worked out together this past offseason. McLaurin served as his favorite deep threat at Ohio State. And while Sims and Haskins did not play together before joining the Redskins, they spent several months on the scout team, helping the starters prepare for that week's opponent.

They've since moved up the depth chart, and, depending on Quinn's healthy, could all be in the starting lineup for the first time Sunday against the Packers, where the Redskins will be vying for their third straight win.

5. Haskins calls Aaron Rodgers one of his favorite quarterbacks.

Haskins has repeatedly voiced his obsession to become a great NFL quarterback, and he'll face one of the best in the league at Lambeau Field on Sunday.

"[Aaron Rodgers] is one of my favorite quarterbacks," Haskins said. "I just like the way he's able to distribute the ball over the field. His arm angles -- he's able to layer throws without even really having to use his feet. He's a very dynamic quarterback, and he's a fun guy to study."

Rodgers, a seven-time Pro Bowler, is on pace for his eighth 4,000-yard passing season and has thrown 22 touchdowns compared to two interceptions. He's built his career leading high-octane offenses, and this season is no different. That means the Redskins will have to match the Packers' efficiency if they want to leave Green Bay with a victory.

"There's no press to outduel [Rodgers] or to try to throw more than him, but I'm just trying to move the chains and make plays that need to be made," Haskins said. "Hopefully that puts us in a situation to win the game."

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