This offseason is the most important in Dwayne Haskins' football career. The 23-year-old has a new head coach that he trusts, and that new head coach is trusting him to be the starter in their first year together.
How the passer handles these next few months, and the games that follow, could largely determine his future in the league.
But due to Coronavirus, this offseason is also the weirdest in Dwayne Haskins' football career. How does an up-and-coming QB assert himself and make his presence known in the building — things that every pundit says someone in Haskins' position must do — when there is literally no building to go to?
Well, according to what Haskins told JP Finlay in a one-on-one interview with the Redskins Talk podcast, one way to make up for the loss of in-person interactions is to rely on the phone. A lot.
"I still call Derrius, I call Landon, I call Big Mo, AP shoots me a text," Haskins said." It's not the same, not being in the building, but I miss my guys, so I always try to reach out to them, give them a FaceTime call or something, let them know I'm thinking about them."
Those small gestures could mean quite a bit to Haskins' teammates, who all watched him go through an adversity-filled rookie campaign where much went wrong. Together, the calls and texts show a more aware player, someone who's taking this next opportunity seriously, as he should.
Haskins, though, doesn't just have to check in on his fellow Redskins these days. There's also the matter of him learning a new system, one that's being taught by a new coordinator in Scott Turner and a new position coach in Ken Zampese.
LISTEN TO THE FULL INTERVIEW BELOW
Yet Haskins is optimistic he'll be able to accomplish that difficult task thanks to having gone through the process as a pro once already.
"It's not necessarily as hard to pick it up," he said. "It definitely helps having learned an NFL offense prior to it, to grasp it faster."
Haskins explained that there are meetings to install plays with Turner and Zampese four times a week. Beyond that, there are sessions where he, the other signal callers and the centers go over protections. He also talks with receivers to further familiarize himself with the terms and concepts he'll be asked to know through and through whenever the regular season commences.
As for his on-field work, he's ensuring he stays as sharp as possible. Haskins has been throwing outside constantly, and even told Redskins Talk he's been able to link up with targets like Kelvin Harmon, Terry McLaurin and Steven Sims for some of those workouts.
In all, Haskins appeared and sounded confident, despite circumstances that are complicating an already pressure-packed job. That stems from knowing that this is his chance.
Now, the chance definitely doesn't look the way he envisioned it. No one could have really envisioned this. But regardless, it's still his.
"Really looking forward to being the guy," he said.
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