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Dwayne Haskins Has High Hopes For New Playmakers Antonio Gibson and Antonio Gandy-Golden


The Redskins have reiterated for months that they believe Dwayne Haskins Jr. will be their starting quarterback when they open the 2020 season against the Philadelphia Eagles, and their actions have backed up those claims.

First, they refrained from signing a veteran starting quarterback in free agency and instead traded for Kyle Allen. Then, despite some speculation that they might draft Tua Tagovailoa with the No. 2 overall pick of the NFL Draft, they chose to take defensive end Chase Young.

Finally, they used two mid-round picks to add Antonio Gibson and Antonio Gandy-Golden, surrounding Haskins with young talent to help him succeed in his second year.

They may share the same first name, but Gibson and Gandy-Golden will help Haskins by bringing different dimensions to the Redskins' new offense. Gibson is a versatile player who can line up almost anywhere on the field, while Gandy-Golden is a receiver whose measurables (6-foot-4, 223 pounds) are unlike any option Haskins had in his rookie year.

"Watching Gibson play the game, he's dynamic, being able to play in and out of the backfield," Haskins told Voice of the Redskins Larry Michel and Fred Smoot on the "2020 Virtual Draft Party" show. "Watching above the rim, that's something we needed on offense."

The Redskins drafted Gibson as a running back, but his skillset encompasses much more than just lining up in the backfield. He amassed 1,104 total yards during his senior season at Memphis, and two thirds of those came as a receiver. Gibson averaged 11.2 yards on 33 rushing attempts, but he was even more productive -- 19.3 yards per reception -- as a pass-catcher.

Still, offensive coordinator Scott Turner believes Gibson can operate as a "true running back," and plans to utilize all of the former Tiger's abilities.

"That's what he showed through the draft process," Turner said. "Then you add the versatility of splitting him out, putting him in the slot, taking advantage of matchups. That's what we're going to do with him: recognize the things that he does well, have him do it, and as he matures as a player, if he can handle it, he'll get more and more action."

Personally, Gibson believes he does "everything" well, but he's willing to slip into whatever role is asked of him to help Haskins and the offense.

"That's up to Coach [Rivera] and the work I put in also," he said. "That comes with time, so I couldn't tell you right now. But if I could, I would want to impact right away. I feel like I'm going to get my playbook, I'm going to learn what I need to learn from the jump and I'm going to get to work."

While Gibson's exact role is yet to be determined, Gandy-Golden already knows at least a portion of what he will be asked to do in his rookie season: catch any pass that Haskins throws in his direction. That's something he had no difficulty with at Liberty, as he made 150 receptions in his last two seasons with the Flames.

He also has a tendency to come down with contested passes, which is something Haskins likes about his new receiver.

"We're just going to put him in different places," Haskins said. "Watching him play, he's catching balls over guys, [winning] 50/50 balls, making plays up in the air. I'm excited to have him on our offense."

Gandy-Golden's catch radius has already been highly-touted by his coaches at Liberty. Flames wide receivers coach Maurice Harris, who coached at Ole Miss from 2012-18, told WGR 550 that he has many of the same qualities as Seattle Seahawks receiver D.K Metcalf.

"He's not as fast as D.K, but I think his catch radius is probably a little bit bigger than D.K.'s," Harris said.

Gandy-Golden didn't watch too many of Haskins' games with the Redskins, but he said on “The Rundown” podcast that he was keeping an eye on Haskins' career at Ohio State.

"I think he's pretty accurate," he said. "He definitely knows where to put the ball. He has a natural sense about him when he's on the field. I know he's young, and I'm young, too, so hopefully we can get in there and connect, try to build that tandem that everybody wants to see."

The Redskins plan to keep Haskins as the starting quarterback for the 2020 season. He has a head coach who believes he can be a “franchise-style” signal caller, and now he has two new players in Gibson and Gandy-Golden who can help him thrive for years to come.

Those moves have earned Haskins' seal of approval.

"I feel like we did a great job of addressing those positions."