Dwayne Haskins performs like a 'jazz player' in bid to earn Steelers' No. 2 QB job

Dwayne Haskins' bid to put heat on Mason Rudolph for the Pittsburgh Steelers' No. 2 QB gig gained gravitas Thursday night.

The backup quarterback entered the game in the second quarter, with the Steelers trailing Philadelphia 13-0. After a three-and-out, Haskins led three straight touchdown drives -- not counting the end-of-half kneel down -- and a field goal to put the Steelers ahead to stay in the 24-16 victory.

Haskins told reporters after the game that he was simply following the orders of quarterbacks coach Mike Sullivan, who told him to play like a "jazz player."

"Pretty much be smooth, and that is what I was trying to do," Haskins said, per the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "Be smooth, allow plays to come to me, trust what I saw and let my eyes and feet tell me where to go with the ball."

Sullivan, a long-time assistant coach, with stints as an OC with the New York Giants and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, joined the Steelers as the QB coach this season. His message to Haskins resonated with the young signal-caller, who is attempting to push Rudolph for the backup job behind Ben Roethlisberger.

Haskins went 16 of 22 for 161 yards and a TD toss. He displayed a willingness to take what the defense gave him, and his accuracy was better than what we'd seen out of him in Washington. It wasn't all pretty, as the third-year QB had a couple of wonky tosses, but all-in-all, the Steelers liked the improvement in Haskins' second preseason appearance.

"I thought he was in command tonight," coach Mike Tomlin said. "He did a great job communicating with people, going through his progressions. There was a third-down play, third-and-8 maybe, and I saw him go through three or four reads and throw the ball over the middle of the field and converted for us. That was a snapshot of the night he had."

Whether Haskins can ratchet up the heat on Rudolph as we approach the regular season remains to be seen. But after quickly washing out of Washington, the 24-year-old has seen marked improvements during his time in Pittsburgh.

With two preseason games to go, Haskins will have more opportunities to display growth and show he can play sweet jazz music with the Steelers backups.

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