Chris Cooley calls it straight. When a player performs well, Cooley gives plenty of credit, and when a player is bad, the former Washington tight end often tries to be nice even in poor performances.
Watching the tape from Washington's Week 2 loss to the Cardinals, however, Cooley had very little positive to say about quarterback Dwayne Haskins.
"When you go through this game, it’s a 'D' performance," Cooley said. "It’s not pretty by any means, and while it got better, it got better because there was some soft coverage and Terry [McLaurin] made some plays underneath and [Steven] Sims had a little screen where he took one for 15."
A former broadcaster for the Washington Football Team, Cooley now delivers his film breakdowns via The Kevin Sheehan Podcast. His biggest problem with Haskins' game seems to be the lack of chunk plays.
"There was nothing completed down the field, nothing,” Cooley said.
Through two games this year Haskins is averaging 6.3 yards-per-attempt, which ranks 30th in the NFL. Lamar Jackson leads the league at 9.8 yards-per-attempt and there are 12 quarterbacks at 8 YPA or higher.
Some of Haskins' issues might be mechanical, Cooley said, and that's something Washington coach Ron Rivera suggested as well after the loss. Rivera said Haskins speeds up when he sees an open receiver early in games, not planting his feet for a solid base in the throw.
Cooley saw that, and more.
"I just do not think he’s ever comfortable making any throw where he’s driving, moving forward to his right side. All his throws need to be squaring his hips to the line of scrimmage. Where if you think of normal technique of the quarterback, your hips would be perpendicular to the line of scrimmage as opposed to almost always trying to get parallel to line of scrimmage when you’re making these throws.”
For the game, Haskins finished 19 of 33 for 223 yards and one touchdown. In the first half when the game was still competitive, Haskins completed 9 of 16 passes for 66 yards and was sacked four times.
“I think a lot of the incompletions that he has go hand-in-hand with technique as a passer,” Cooley said.
This is a young quarterback, Haskins only has nine career NFL starts and only started one season in college at Ohio State. He's had good NFL games too, particularly to close out the 2019 season. This season the offense lacks weapons at skill positions and has been outmanned on the offensive line.
The pass rush has not made a dramatic difference to Cooley though.
"It doesn’t, to me, seem to matter right now if he’s under pressure, if he’s not under pressure with where he’s throwing the ball," Cooley said.
The loss in Arizona was just one game, but it wasn't pretty.
"It wasn’t a good game for Dwayne."
Staff writer Ryan Homler contributed to this report.