It took 10 weeks, but the Redskins finally turned the franchise over to rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins.
On Monday, Washington interim head coach Bill Callahan stated that Haskins will be the team's QB for the remainder of the season and that the organization is ready to move forward with the 15th overall pick starting this Sunday against the Jets. It's a major moment for the team and for their future, as well as for Haskins.
"Let’s face it, let’s give Dwayne an opportunity. We’re at a juncture where we don’t want to be record-wise, so this is a good opportunity for him to take advantage of every rep, practice-wise and game-wise, so we can see growth in his play," Callahan said Monday.
The decision to go with Haskins comes after the rookie appeared in three NFL games, including his first start Week 9 in Buffalo. Against the Bills, Haskins played the best football of his brief NFL career. Though his team lost and he didn't throw any touchdowns, Haskins looked in command of the team's offense and capable of running the team.
That was big, because it didn't always look like that. And for Callahan, the coach shared a moment with Haskins after a poor performance that set the stage for the rookie's growth.
"It was interesting, he came in a few weeks ago and wanted to know what he could do better to win. That was after the Minnesota game," Callahan explained via the Redskins Talk podcast.
"He took it to heart. That loss stuck deep into him. He wanted to know exactly what he could do. He came in on a Saturday, on our off day, and we visited for a good hour or so and just talked about what he could do better, how he could perform better, how he could prepare better."
Week 8 the Redskins played the Vikings on Thursday Night Football and got back to Ashburn very early Friday morning. For Haskins to be in the building that Saturday showed that his performance bothered him. It was obvious after that loss too, as the rookie seemed quite upset in the locker room after an ugly performance that included a bad interception in a big spot for his team.
"I think that resonated," Callahan said. "He came in at 9 o'clock, so he was up early. It meant a lot, it had to be bothering him from the game Thursday night into Saturday morning. It meant a great deal to him."
The Redskins coach explained that it wasn't just the interception that was bothering Haskins, but his overall level of play in the loss.
"He took the loss really, really hard. He's a prideful guy," Callahan said. "But in a nutshell, when you get stung like that, he didn't want to see that happen again. It was a good sign, a real positive sign."
For Redskins fans searching for reasons for optimism in a lost season, Callahan's story might be an important one. Plenty of rookie passers struggle, but what's important is what comes after the struggles.
Haskins was not good in his first two appearances this season. Neither spot was ideal, coming in off the bench, on the road, and his team trailing. Still, he struggled, throwing four interceptions in just 22 pass attempts.
In his first start, however, things looked different. There were no interceptions. He completed 68 percent of his passes.
Haskins wasn't great against Buffalo, but he had improved. He looked like a different player than the upset rookie that lingered at his locker late into the night in Minnesota.
What happened in between? That meeting with Callahan, not to mention a full week of practice with the first-team offense.
Going into the Jets game on Sunday, Haskins will have gotten all the first-team work for nearly a month. That should help.
Something else happened too. As Callahan explained it, Haskins got stung, and the rookie quarterback doesn't want to feel that way anymore.
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