You'd think that after going through the arduous and pressure-packed pre-draft process then grinding with the Redskins ever since the team took him in the first round on April 25, Dwayne Haskins would jump at the opportunity to take a break.
Nothing crazy, but maybe something like a week or so, since OTAs and minicamp are now over and Washington doesn't head to Richmond until late July.
But in his last large media scrum before he faces plenty more at his first NFL training camp, Haskins revealed what he plans to do for the next month and a half. And aside from a quick retreat to Paris, the words "rest" or "vacation" or "chill" weren't found in those plans.
"Train, train, train," he said on Tuesday in Ashburn. "Every day, find a way to get better. ... Just try to find that one percent every day."
The 'Skins' first 2019 first-rounder feels like he's been progressing in Jay Gruden's offense, but also knows that he has plenty more to master before he can be relied upon on Sundays. His new head coach agrees.
"He has to learn it. If he feels like he is a little bit unsure of anything, he has to study it and continue to go over it in his mind and rehash it," Gruden said at a press conference. "We threw a lot at him: formations, motions, protections, route concepts, run concepts, audible, two-minute, no huddle, all of that stuff. There is a lot to learn for the kid, but we want to get it all out there for him so he has an understanding of what it is going to be like come training camp. A long way to go, but I like where he is at."
"When I know what I'm doing, I feel like I'm pretty good," Haskins explained. "Then there are times where I got to freelance, where I don't know. Just the biggest thing is trying to learn and add to the foundation every day. Once I figure out the plays, I feel like the sky's the limit for me."
Haskins has come off as humble and very focused in sessions with reporters, and he certainly was humble in the first part of that self evaluation. When he knows what he's doing, he's not just pretty good; he's the best passer the Redskins have.
But — and this is largely to be expected for someone who's fresh out of college and didn't rack up a pile of starts while there, either — when he's confused or overloaded with info, it manifests itself in various ways.
There were a few instances at one practice where No. 7 would get the offense to the line, only to pull them back to reorganize them because a coach noticed something was wrong. Overall, Haskins excelled more against rookies and at voluntary OTAs, but when guys like Josh Norman and Landon Collins were roaming the secondary in mandatory action, he had noticeable issues. He went through stretches where he was inaccurate, often times sailing throws.
Again, this is all normal. Redskins fans will have to remind themselves that Haskins, while absurdly gifted, is a 22-year-old signal caller who will face adversity. The good thing is that he's mature when it comes to handling those pains, according to Kevin O'Connell.
"If he makes a mistake, he’s been pretty good about not making the same mistake twice, which is something I’m really looking for from him," the offensive coordinator said in early June.
The Trent Williams situation could be a major topic and also a major distraction this summer. Meanwhile, the potential of players like Collins, Derrius Guice and Montez Sweat will be prime storylines as well.
However, the main attraction at the Burgundy and Gold's training camp facility from open until close should be the battle for the starting job between Haskins and Case Keenum. Keenum looks to be ahead as of now, but if Haskins is able to clean up the details and continue to absorb knowledge of the system, he'll be right in the mix for a chance to take the field when Washington travels to Philadelphia for their season opener.
He's not thinking about that, though.
"I don't really worry about starting Week 1," he said. "I just want to be ready to play Week 1, whether that's this year or next year or whenever my time comes for me to play. I just want to make sure that when I do play, I don't want to look back."
Haskins has the obvious physical tools and it appears like he has the right mindset. Now, if he can keep adding that "one percent" he mentioned, the chances of him being 100-percent ready when that call to play comes look really promising — just like he does.
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