Nearly every single review of Dwayne Haskins' rookie season came from someone other than the quarterback himself. But on Wednesday, he had the chance to take control.
Haskins wrote a long story that Redskins.com published in the morning where he was able to really expand on all that went down between the night he was drafted to his stretch as the team's starter at the end of the year.
The whole piece is really engaging, especially because of how honest he was. The point that Haskins kept returning to, however, was that 2019 was a season packed with learning experiences.
So, here are three of the more critical things Haskins picked up on in his first experience of the NFL, as told by the 23-year-old.
1) The pros are completely different from the Big Ten
Some may think the transition from Ohio State to the Redskins would be somewhat manageable, considering how successful Haskins was as a Buckeye and how well that program performed in his breakout campaign.
Nope. The jump was still massive.
He had to change everything, from how he prepared to how he initiated the offense. Fortunately, he had teammates willing to offer advice.
"[The veteran QBs] helped me in several ways," he wrote. "They recommended I lift on Tuesdays instead of Wednesdays so my body has more time to recover and I can meet with the quarterbacks coach longer. They also offered scouting reports. Colt would say, 'I played this defensive coordinator two years ago and he likes to bring this and bring that.' And Alex would say, 'I played this corner and he plays this type of tendency.'"
"I remember talking to Ryan Anderson and Tim Settle, and they said they could tell when I was going to snap the ball based on where I was standing," Haskins added later. "It's stuff that you don't even know people are noticing."
The details that Haskins could ignore in college mattered much more in the NFL. That was definitely an initial shock.
2) Not everything is going to click instantly
This lesson is tied to the first one.
For all of his football life, Haskins was used to dominating and winning, then dominating and winning some more. Yet in his first two times under center for the Redskins, there was no dominating and there was no winning. After flopping against the Vikings in Week 8, the first-round pick was discouraged.
"It should be easier than this," Haskins wrote. "I had just thrown 50 touchdowns at Ohio State. Why wasn't it easy?"
That's when he had a two-hour conversation with Alex Smith, who reminded Haskins how quarterbacking in the NFL is one of the most difficult jobs in the world. To ultimately succeed, failures must first occur.
"'You're a rookie who hasn't played in the NFL and is learning a new system,'" Smith told Haskins.
Haskins came away from that talk feeling a lot better and with a firmer understanding of how to handle adversity.
3) Don't make things too complicated
As complex as leading an offense on Sundays can be, so much of it is basic. Is there a checkdown in the flat? Take it. Is the pocket closing down? Throw the ball away.
Once Haskins was finally named starter, he vowed to follow that line of thinking, which he wasn't doing in his early appearances.
"I decided I was going to keep things simple and let the plays come to me. That's when things started to pay off."
Beginning with his start versus the Bills, Haskins felt much more confident and calm. Eventually, those feelings led to some standout performances late in the year.
And now, he's looking forward to 2020, which'll include a better environment that'll hopefully produce continued progress and more victories.
"A lot of times last year, I thought we were dragging," Haskins wrote. "This year, I feel a new sense of urgency. That's what is fun about football. It's the 'want to,' to play your best in every situation."
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