FEDEX FIELD – Dwayne Haskins tried to enjoy the moment even if it was just a meaningless fourth preseason game. He has no idea the next time he will run onto the field.
Washington’s rookie quarterback, the No. 15 overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft, played the first half of Thursday’s 20-7 preseason loss to the Baltimore Ravens. It was his show.
Haskins started slow with a three-and-out series, but finished strong. He completed 10-of-17 passes, including maybe the best of his preseason on a 21-yard out to wide receiver Darvin Kidsey that was wiped out by a holding penalty.
No matter. In the end, Haskins had 104 passing yards with a touchdown to wide receiver Steven Sims and no turnovers or sacks taken. It was a good dress rehearsal for the season opener against the Philadelphia Eagles. Haskins just won’t be starting that game. Veteran quarterback Case Keenum will.
“I learned at Ohio State, sat behind J.T. [Barrett],” Haskins said of his time in college sitting as a redshirt freshman before starting as a redshirt sophomore last fall. “Every game was an opportunity to learn and for me to keep getting better. I might not be the starter right now, but maybe one day. I’ll just keep working on that.”
Haskins entered the preseason with Colt McCoy and Keenum ahead of him on the depth chart, but McCoy still isn’t recovered from last year’s broken leg. Haskins is the clear No. 2 right now and at any point he could be playing in his first NFL game - whether that’s because Keenum struggles or gets hurt.
“[Haskins] was good. Had good energy. Communicated the offense well to others, made some nice plays,” Redskins coach Jay Gruden said. “He hurried a couple of them and had some pressure. But overall I thought he moved the ball and had a nice touchdown drive.”
Gruden will want to check out the film to confirm what he saw. But even against backups and special teamers and players who will be cut this weekend, Haskins did his job in front of his hometown fans. His touchdown pass to Sims was a dart that was scooped off the grass. No defender could touch it.
Earlier on that first quarter drive, he found tight end Donald Parham for a 25-yard catch over the middle to get the ball into scoring position. Wide receiver Robert Davis had a 14-yard catch for a first down a few plays before that. Tight end J.P Holtz had a 24-yard catch just before the Sims touchdown.
That eight-play drive was a thing of beauty and the perfect way for Haskins to end his preseason. Washington's three second-quarter drives weren’t as fruitful, but the rookie is learning. He has been through OTAs and now an entire training camp. He's ready for the next step whenever that comes.
“I still think I have a ways to go,” Haskins said. “But my demeanor in the huddle is better, me talking to my guys in between plays, getting in and out of the huddle, being clean with the operation is something I want to get better at. Just get more comfortable in the offense. It’s something I’ve done that every day.”
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