Describing Redskins quarterback Dwayne Haskins' rookie season as a 'whirlwind' would be an enormous understatement.
Haskins was drafted 15th overall by a regime in Washington that had two different timelines; then-head coach Jay Gruden needed to win in 2019, while the passer was seen as a raw prospect. The rookie's first two appearances came in relief of veteran Case Keenum, and Haskins looked lost both times. However, Haskins was named the starter in Week 9, just a few weeks after Gruden was fired, and improved each week as the season went along.
Since taking over as head coach, Rivera has preached having competition at the position. In March, he acquired former Panthers QB Kyle Allen, who he knows quite well. But since then, Rivera has publicly stated that Haskins will be the starter entering training camp.
With the keys to the franchise now in Haskins' palm, veteran running back Adrian Peterson has high hopes for the quarterback as he enters his second season.
"I want to see him blossom," Peterson told local media on a Zoom call on Thursday. "I'm expecting big things from him."
Peterson was encouraged by the way Haskins finished his rocky rookie season, as the quarterback's best two games were his final two of the year.
Although the Redskins wouldn't win either contest, Haskins finished with a combined four touchdown passes, zero turnovers, 74% completion and 132 QBR in those contests. The rookie was on his way to the best outing of his career in Week 16 against the Giants before an ankle injury in the third quarter ended his afternoon, and in turn, his season.
"With Haskins coming back, too, I'm really excited about him and how he ended the season last year," Peterson said. "It was just tremendous to see him just unfold and let his game go to a high level. It clicked."
The veteran running back explained that how Haskins' rookie season ended has motivated the passer to really hone his craft this offseason. In a recent interview with the Redskins Talk podcast, the second-year quarterback explained that he's dropped 7% body fat this offseason and is in the "best shape of my life."
Besides working out, Peterson explained that Haskins has spent plenty of time diving into and studying Turner's offense. The 2020 season will mark the third offensive system Haskins has played under in as many years, and rumors circulated last season that he struggled to grasp the playbook at times.
Peterson believes that Haskins has learned plenty from last season and is using this offseason to fully grasp the playbook so that when it comes time to return to the field, the quarterback will be ready.
"I know he's been in his book and he's working hard to be that leader we need him to be," Peterson said. "I think last year was an eye-opener for him, just from the transition he went through from training camp to the end of the season...You can see that by how he's working out and how he's approaching things."
It's not just Haskins who Peterson is excited about, either. The running back explained that as a team, this year's roster is the most talented of the three he's been on since arriving in Washington in 2018.
"This would definitely be the best talent pool that we have since I've been here," he said that. "I feel like we have what it takes to be that team that can take it all the way. It's all about getting the pieces together, getting in our rhythm and molding as the season starts and goes."
Peterson is a future Hall of Famer. He's played on a few really good teams, but also more than his fair share of bad ones.
The Redskins have made major changes to their roster, and he knows that it could take time for Rivera and his staff to build it the way they want. Despite all that, the 14-year veteran is as optimistic as possible entering the 2020 season.
"We have the tools to run the table," he said. "I really feel that."
Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.
MORE REDSKINS NEWS