Dwayne Haskins' 10th career NFL start was arguably his worst.
During Washington's 34-20 loss in Cleveland this past Sunday, the second-year passer threw a trio of interceptions and fumbled once, finishing with a career-worst four turnovers. Haskins' costly mistakes more than canceled out exceptional performances from teammates Montez Sweat, Dontrelle Inman and others; head coach Ron Rivera said as much this week.
Haskins spoke with local reporters on Wednesday and admitted the film from Sunday wasn't positive. However, he did say that he's seen it, learned from it, and ready to put Week 3 in the rearview mirror.
"I have a 24-hour rule in the sense where I go through the motions of what happened in the game—what can I fix in the game or what did I do well in the game? Then the next day, you kind of watch the film, see what you did well, what you didn’t do well," Haskins said.
"The film’s not going to lie to you," Haskins said. "Then, you kind of let that Monday get the last little bad taste in your mouth after a loss on whatever mistakes you made and on Tuesday you let it go and move forward and get ready for the next week. That’s kind of what we did. What I did most importantly was just realizing that I have to be better and just focusing on the details of what we’re doing and capitalizing on the things that we’re doing well.”
Almost one year ago to date, Haskins made his NFL debut, coming on relief in Week 4 for an injured Case Keenum. The then-rookie's performance that afternoon was similar to his on Sunday, as Haskins threw three interceptions in the blowout loss.
A year later, the quarterback feels like he's more mature and able to shake off a poor performance like he had this past week, whereas last year, he let the struggles build in his head.
"I feel like I’m in a more mature mindset going into this week than I would’ve going into last week," Haskins said. "Playing against the Giants last year, I threw three interceptions and—not that it’s the end of the world—but it felt like it. This week, just learning from my mistakes, capitalizing and just making it something that never happens again or never occurs again."
Haskins' rough Week 3 outing has been a topic of conversation both locally and nationally, mainly a discussion about the passer's future in Washington. Some feel that backup Kyle Allen should play, or that Rivera will lose the locker room if he doesn't make a switch. Others feel that there's still time to be patient with No. 7; after all, Washington was never expected to compete in 2020.
The quarterback was asked how he tunes out the outside noise and Haskins responded by saying he doesn't go on social media or watch TV after a loss.
In his lengthy media session on Wednesday, the quarterback made it apparent multiple times that no one is more upset with his struggles than Haskins himself.
"In all honesty, I’m my biggest critic," Haskins said. "No one else can sit there and tell me I don’t want it more than they do. Everyone has their own opinions and perspectives about what’s going on here or what’s going on in the building or myself included."
The quarterback has sought the advice from Alex Smith, someone Haskins has called a mentor multiple times since his arrival in Washington last spring.
Smith was once in Haskins' shoes: a high-draft pick with early-career struggles on an overall poor football team. He overcame those obstacles, and eventually became one of the league's better signal-callers.
"I talked to Alex and we had some great conversations after the game and yesterday," Haskins said. "I’m just looking forward to applying myself this week and keep getting better. I can’t worry about last week or the week before. I’ll just worry about this week and do what I can to show that I’m the guy for this team."
Haskins also spoke with Rivera, who once again challenged him to step up to the plate. The quarterback responded well to the head coach's challenges throughout the offseason. Now, it's time to see if he can deliver when the games count.
"Coach Rivera and I had a great conversation on Monday," Haskins said. "I challenged myself and just the conversation we had was along the lines of showing progression, keep getting better and showing what we need to see out of me. That’s what I want to do. Everybody can be caught up in here or there or what somebody says or what somebody else says."
Haskins isn't shying away from his mistakes. He knows he has to be better, and that if he's not, his gig will only last for so long.
"In all honesty, I know I can be better. I have to be better for this offense," Haskins said. "In order for that to happen, I have to put the work in. Everybody can sit there and feel sorry for yourself or have a pity party or blame other external factors for why it is what it is."