During his introductory press conference, Redskins head coach Ron Rivera explained that he wanted to see Dwayne Haskins improve as a leader.
That press conference happened in early January. But over the next five months, very little would be normal. The coronavirus began to spread vastly during the month of March, and all NFL team facilities were shut down. All in-person offseason activities, on-field work that was going to be crucial for the second-year quarterback, were canceled. Over the past two weeks, the death of George Floyd has sparked nationwide protests, demanding justice and racial equality.
Due to the circumstances, it's been a very unusual and difficult offseason for everyone. But as the head coach explained on Wednesday, he's seen Haskins grow as a leader in front of his own eyes, and he's quite proud of it.
"I think he's done very well with it. It's been kind of neat," Rivera told local media via Zoom. "It's one of those things where he's really taking what he and I talked about to heart. I really do appreciate it, because it shows maturity as well."
Haskins, who Rivera has said publicly is expected to be the starting QB entering training camp, has taken this unusual offseason to get in, in his words, "the best shape of [his] life." The passer has lowered his body percentage significantly and dropped over 10 pounds, looking noticeably slimmer.
Additionally, the quarterback hasn't let not being able to have in-person practices to prevent him from working out with his teammates. Multiple times this offseason, Haskins has been filmed throwing with several Redskins wide receivers at a local park, including Terry McLaurin, Steven Sims and Kelvin Harmon.
Dwayne. Terry. Touchdown pic.twitter.com/68zy8Yj6s1— Pete Hailey (@PeteHaileyNBCS) June 9, 2020
The passer has also worked out with some other notable wideouts, such as Antonio Brown and Stefon Diggs, as he improves his craft entering his second season. Rivera was asked about the potential of bringing in a veteran wideout like Brown, and the head coach explained he must see what the team has in the young pass-catchers first.
Haskins has responded to Rivera by showing a clear commitment to getting better this offseason, and the head coach is proud of that.
"He's a young man who's just learning the game," Rivera said. "He came out of college early, obviously, and again, it's just one of those things that as you see him grow and develop, you can see those type of things that you're looking for, that you're hoping he understands how important it is."
The head coach explained that he and his quarterback text back and forth, and they even spoke on the phone Tuesday night to see how everything is going. While Rivera is impressed by the progress Haskins has made from afar, he made it clear that he can't wait until they can work together in-person.
"I appreciate the attitude and effort he's approached this with, and really looking forward to seeing him in person," the head coach said. "I'm pretty excited to see him in person when we get the opportunity to get back together as a football team."
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