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There's one underrated part of Dwayne Haskins' game that Redskins OC Scott Turner really likes

There's one underrated part of Dwayne Haskins' game that Redskins OC Scott Turner really likes

While their interactions are happening through a screen instead of face-to-face in a meeting room, new Redskins offensive coordinator Scott Turner can feel how Dwayne Haskins is soaking up the offense he'll be asked to run in 2020.

That, along with the quarterback's imposing size and natural arm strength, has Turner confident about what Haskins can do in his second season in the league.

Those aren't the only reasons why Turner is optimistic, though. Aside from Haskins' mental progress and obvious-to-everyone-on-the-planet physical traits, there's something far less pronounced about the 23-year-old's game that Turner really likes.

During a Zoom call with reporters earlier this week, the coach had a chance to identify that skill.

"You look at him stand in the pocket, he doesn’t need a lot of space to operate," Turner told the media. "That was one of the first things that I looked at when I got the job. Looking at Dwayne’s pass reps and how he operated in those tight pockets. His eyes stayed downfield. He was able to push the ball down the field in those 20, 30, 40-yard throws with velocity."

A lot of times with college passers, Turner explained, they have acres of grass between them and the closest pass rusher. With the way Haskins dominated at Ohio State, that was certainly true at times for him.

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However, while some of those signal callers have trouble adjusting to the increased traffic around them as a pro, Haskins actually handled it quite well. In fact, Turner's evaluation of the former first-rounder in that area was one of the more complimentary reviews the new regime has offered up about him in the last few months. 

"You are going to make money in this league by standing in there and making throws down the field when it is tough," Turner said. "He has shown enough of that. His eyes aren’t going to go down, and he is not going to look at the defensive line. He is going to hang in there and execute the throws down the field.”

With Haskins, his raw numbers as a rookie aren't the most promising. But the raw numbers also don't necessarily account for the coaching change he had to deal with, the weak group of targets he had to throw to and the slew of other issues that made his job difficult.

So, instead of projecting what he can be in the future for the Redskins based on those stats, it's important to look closer at some of the smaller tools he exhibited. That's what Turner's doing when it comes to the QB's presence in the pocket. And if Turner's that pleased with what he's seeing, that's very encouraging.

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Redskins OC Scott Turner and his QBs making the best of their virtual offseason

Redskins OC Scott Turner and his QBs making the best of their virtual offseason

Sitting and waiting to play with your new toy is no fun. 

That essentially is what it’s like for Redskins offensive coordinator, Scott Turner. The coronavirus lockdown has the newly name OC forced to meet with his players virtually.

In a pandemic-free world, with a new head coach named, the Redskins would have had a two-week jump start on the rest of the league to meet players and install their system. Turner says despite not seeing his players on the field, they are making use of the time given to them. 

“We’re putting a lot of work in, obviously abiding by the rules the NFL has set forth — four days a week, two hours a day,” Turner said. 
Same as all the others. The Redskins QB’s choose to start at 1pm each day. The reason? Alex Smith is in Hawaii. No one seems to complain – and if anything, the others wish that they, too, were in paradise for workouts.

As for putting his new offensive system in place, Turner says he is breaking up by installs. 

“We have gotten through, I think, so far six at this point,” Turner said. “They are separated by play type and then we will do a situational install.”

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Turner said everyone’s brain works differently so the staff tries to group things together as best they can. It’s slightly different for the quarterbacks, 

“The big thing there is just every play, explain to the them what the objective is on that play, what we are trying to accomplish and what the philosophy is,” Turner said. “That’s something that’s are trying to express to those guys.”

Running those meetings are Turner and Ken Zampese, Washington’s quarterbacks coach. Then there’s Luke Del Rio, the son of Jack, the defensive coordinator. He’s only 25, but is quickly emerging in his new role as offensive quality control coach, organizing notes and coming up with useful information for the quarterbacks.

While head coach Ron Rivera continues to stress competition, he has named Dwayne Haskins Jr as their guy. Kyle Allen is the backup quarterback.

And then there is Smith.

The 13-year veteran missed all last season after suffering one of the most gruesome injuries in NFL history in Week 11 of the 2018 season. He participates in all the meetings, but we wait to see if he can miraculously return to the field. 

An ESPN E:60 documentary featured Smith’s rehab process, giving the world an inside view into the destruction of his leg and the power of his mindset to try to overcome it. Rivera has recently said Smith will have to be able to “protect himself” in order to compete at camp in August.

At the end of the 2019 season, Smith adamantly told reporters he planned to return to the game: “Without a doubt”. 

It would be nothing short of a miracle, and proof of modern-day medical practices, if that becomes a reality. Some say he’ll never play again, while others say it wouldn’t surprise them given Smith’s determination.

In the meantime, Smith continues to be a leader in the virtual meeting room offering as much input as he can. Setting the example for Haskins on how to prepare as an NFL quarterback. Haskins openly admits how smart Smith is and how willing he is to learn from him. Haskins also sees Turner as a young coach he can relate to.

It’s a new offense for Smith and Haskins to learn. Allen is more familiar, having played in it for two years in Carolina. But in the virtual classroom, Turner says all are equal. 

“We’re kind of throwing a lot at them,” Turner said. “In the beginning of every meeting, we do some quizzes, tests. Just test their retention.” 

All are quizzed at the same and all taking their own notes. Allen has said he is more than willing to help others learn the system when he can.

So how will we know the effectiveness of these virtual meetings and who has a firm grasp of the offense? From player to coach, I am told there is only one way — when live practice takes place. Until then, Turner and his quarterbacks will Zoom away.

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VIDEO: Dwayne Haskins connects with Antonio Brown over and over in offseason workout

VIDEO: Dwayne Haskins connects with Antonio Brown over and over in offseason workout

Redskins fans will devour any video of Dwayne Haskins throwing the ball that they can get their hands on these days. 

But on Wednesday, footage emerged of Haskins throwing bomb after bomb to Antonio Brown. 

Yep. That Antonio Brown.

Haskins has had, and posted about, many offseason workouts the past few months, and most of the time, those workouts have featured teammates like Terry McLaurin and Kelvin Harmon.

On Wednesday, however, the former Steelers, Raiders and Patriots pass catcher was on the same field as the Redskins quarterback. And they made some sweet, sweet (defender-less, pass rush-less) music together:

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As seen on Haskins' own Twitter, there were some other notable names in attendance besides Brown. Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs, former NFL wideout Chad Johnson and Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith all got in some work as well. 

Is this the space where you'll find analysis on whether the Redskins should sign Brown? Nope.

Is this the space where you'll get a critique of Haskins underthrowing the Pro Bowler a time or two? Nah.

But is this the space where you'll see appreciation for one really talented person chucking a ball really high and really far to another talented person? Yes. All of the yeses. 

Those videos are fun, those videos are interesting and those videos are cool. Try not to take too much away from them other than those things, as difficult as that may be.

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