Sat. Sep 19th, 2020

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One play by Dwayne Haskins a sign of progress…

5 min read
One play by Dwayne Haskins a sign of progress...

ASHBURN, Va. — One play against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday revealed Washington Redskins quarterback Dwayne Haskins‘ growth as a starter, from before the snap to after.

He checked to a different protection to handle a blitz; he slid from the pressure and climbed the pocket. He went through his progressions, finding his third target — with his feet and eyes aligned.

It’s everything the Redskins want to see from their rookie quarterback. And it resulted in a 20-yard pass.

“When he does it right, it’s really good,” Redskins quarterbacks coach Tim Rattay said.

Haskins, who will make his fourth start Sunday when the Redskins play at Green Bay (1 p.m. ET, Fox), remains a work in progress — like any young quarterback. He has thrown two TD passes and six interceptions and the Redskins know he must become more consistent with his accuracy (he’s completing 54.1% of his passes) and much better in the red zone (4-of-17, 19 yards, one touchdown, five sacks). He’s far from a finished product, good or bad. In his four starts, he ranks last in total QBR (18.3) and 29th in passer rating (70.2).

But the Redskins, on a two-game winning streak, have seen incremental progress. Two weeks ago against Detroit, after a rough first three quarters, he led two fourth-quarter drives that resulted in field goals to win the game. Against Carolina, he managed the game well, was more accurate than the week before and made throws he hadn’t been making previously.

And the 20-yard pass to Kelvin Harmon provided a snapshot of that progress. Here’s why:

Protection calls

Three weeks ago, the New York Jets confused the Redskins’ protection with different looks — sometimes sending extra rushers and sometimes creating openings for only four. The issues weren’t on Haskins alone, but he didn’t always handle it well and it resulted in constant pressure.

On Sunday, late in the play clock, two Panthers’ linemen switched sides with urgency. As soon as they did, Haskins stepped up and called out a new protection. Based on film study, he said he knew an overload blitz was coming to the right — so he had the line slide protection accordingly. They picked up the overload and running back Chris Thompson was then responsible for the other side; he, too, picked up the blitz.

“It has progressed a lot,” Redskins center Chase Roullier said. “It’s a process. It’s something he’s gotten a lot more comfortable with, switching us around. … On that play, he was able to flip the protection and make a big play.”

One week does not mean he has become an expert. Every week will present a new challenge based on the defenses and the various blitzes.

“That’s the thing he has to keep studying,” Rattay said.


After Sunday’s game, Haskins said his favorite plays were the ones in which he was able to move through his progressions while moving around in the pocket. That’s what he did on the pass to Harmon.

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