Two of the biggest question marks surrounding Redskins quarterback Dwayne Haskins when he left Ohio State a year ago were his inexperience and maturity.
Both concerns had some validity behind them. The Ohio State passer had only started 14 games in college and was still a raw product entering the draft. But ever since the Redskins invested a first-round pick in Haskins this past April, former Burgundy and Gold signal-caller Joe Theismann has been supportive of him.
Theismann gave Haskins his blessing to sport No. 7, a number no Redskins player had worn since Theismann retired. In November, when Haskins had yet to produce like a first-round talent during his first few starts, Theismann preached patience with the rookie. A few weeks later, Haskins played his best football before an ankle sprain pre-maturely ended his season.
The Redskins have made plenty of changes this offseason, but Haskins is still likely the team's quarterback of the future. The 22-year-old is poised to make a big jump from Year 1 to Year 2 in multiple areas, and Theismann told the Redskins Talk podcast he thinks Haskins is more than capable of doing it.
"I think it's a great opportunity to grow and learn," Theismann said.
One area Theismann focused on seeing an improvement in Haskins next season is his leadership. Theismann said he saw an improvement in that department from the passer late last season, a statement Redskins wide receiver Terry McLaurin echoed yesterday.
"Once he got the starting job, he understood you can't show up at meetings five minutes before they start," Theismann said. "You can't show up [right] before the team meeting starts. I believe Dwayne figured it out."
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"He knows the work he has to do. He's a very confident young man," he continued. "He's smart, he's confident, but there's also that work ethic that you need to put in. There's a perception that goes along with reality. You show up early, maybe you have breakfast for an hour. But you're showing up early, letting the guys know you care. That's how you show guys you care. You show up early and you stay late. That's what the position is all about."
Haskins has his share of challenges in 2020. He's entering his third offensive system in three years. New head coach Ron Rivera and his staff have no previous ties to the passer; they weren't the ones that drafted him.
But Haskins also has an opportunity to prove himself. Theismann explained that Haskins continues to grow and prove his worth to the new regime, he can learn some things from Patriots quarterback Tom Brady's work ethic.
"I've been around Tom Brady for 19 years. I've seen the growth," Theismann said. "Every year we talk, it's always something else he's working on. Always growing more and more."
It's way too quick to judge whether Haskins will be a successful NFL quarterback or not. After all, he's only started seven games as a professional. But plenty of people, both within and outside the organization, sound like they are ready for No. 7 to make a huge leap in his sophomore season.
"Dwayne has the physical talent," Theismann said. "He understands foundationally what he needs to do. Now, it's going to be a chance to be able and go out and just build on it."
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MORE REDSKINS NEWS:
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- Maturing: McLaurin on Haskins
- Rivera's Impact: Simple, yet refreshing changes