If current times resembled anything of the least bit normal, the Redskins would be conducting OTAs right about now. But due to the novel coronavirus, nothing about the 2020 offseason has been normal.
Redskins offensive coordinator Scott Turner and quarterback Dwayne Haskins have yet to work together in-person, as all traditional offseason activities have been prohibited due to the pandemic.
While the communication between the two is primarily via Zoom video conferences, the offensive coordinator is already seeing significant growth from his second-year passer.
"Obviously we can't see him do it on the field," Turner said Wednesday in a Zoom call with the local media. "But we're putting a lot of work in. We're throwing a lot at him. You can tell he's putting work in away from the meeting time. He's working at it as much as he can."
Haskins has been tasked with learning Turner's offensive system this offseason, a system that his new quarterback mate, Kyle Allen, explained took several weeks to master last year in Carolina. To do so, the offensive coordinator has given the passer multiple tests and quizzes, as his way to see if Haskins is keeping up with all the information.
"At the beginning of every meeting, we do some quizzes, tests, test the retention," Turner said. "When we're talking to him, is he speaking the language? It's pretty easy to tell if they get it or not, and Dwayne is doing a great job."
Turner explained he's been impressed with Haskins' grasp of the system so far.
"We'll ask him a question, 'Hey, what is this coverage?' and he'll give you the correct answer," Turner said. "When you can have that dialogue and they give you the correct answer, they're repeating the things you talked about in earlier sessions, that's when you know it's really starting to click."
It's not just Haskins' strides in the classroom this offseason that Turner has been impressed by. The offensive coordinator also specifically praised the QB for the changes that he made to his body.
Haskins has cut over 10 pounds this offseason and significantly lowered his body fat percentage, too. In a recent episode of the Redskins Talk podcast, the 23-year-old explained he's in "the best shape of [his] life."
Additionally, the quarterback has spent time this offseason training with two of his primary pass-catchers from a year ago, Terry McLaurin and Kelvin Harmon hoping to build that chemistry even more.
"The physical side of it, he's doing a lot on his own. You guys have seen the pictures, he looks like he's in great shape," Turner said. "The time he's putting in with the receivers, Terry and Kelvin, they all have been throwing for some time now. That's all positive."
Haskins had plenty of struggles as a rookie in 2019, but the quarterback finished the season by playing his best football. Over his last six quarters, Haskins threw for nearly 400 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions while completing 72 percent of his passes. That stretch was by far his best of the season.
Turner explained that so much about succeeding in the NFL is about confidence, and Haskins proved to himself in the final month of the season that he can play in this league.
"It takes a while for guys to truly believe, 'Hey, I can do this. I can play in this league.' It's highly competitive and it humbles everyone," Turner said. "I think just that adjustment period with Dwayne and working his way into that, what he did that last month of the season, he allowed himself to truly believe "I can go out and do this.'"
Now that Haskins has that valuable confidence, the offensive coordinator explained that it's his job to find what Haskins does well, and then expand his offense to cater around the quarterback's strengths.
"Watching him, spending time with him, getting to know him as I have over these past couple months, you want to build on those things," Turner said. "You want to look at the things Dwayne does well and have him do those things. That builds confidence within itself, and as you do that, you can expand on what you're doing offensively and what you would ask him to do."
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