"He's a young player, obviously, just learning the system for the first time," coach Jay Gruden said of Haskins, via the Washington Post. "As far as Dwayne is concerned, you just have got to continue to work and get these reps -- mental reps, physical reps and just continue to build on his performance day after day."
Haskins' preseason appearances have been a roller coaster. One play he looks like a future Pro Bowler, making a difficult throw on a perfect read into a tight window. The next, he shows his youth, panicking under pressure and forcing a ball into triple coverage.
Redskins offensive coordinator Kevin O'Connell said how Haskins has responded to adversity portends positively when he finally takes over the starting gig.
"Part of the problem is you have to expose guys to some struggles early on so that they can see how hard of a position it's going to be," O'Connell said. "It almost ignites a work ethic and an understanding of: 'I better do everything in my power to put this offense in the best possible position, and how do I do that?' It's being prepared every single day."
The Redskins start the season with a brutal schedule, facing the Eagles in Philly, then Dallas and Chicago at home before heading to New York to face the Giants and hosting the New England Patriots. Allowing Keenum to get the early-season start against four postseason teams from a year ago could save Haskins from savage beatdowns that could hinder his progress in the long term.
Haskins will get his shot at some point this season, just not right away. Seeing the speed of regular-season action from the sideline could boost the youngster's development when he finally does get under center.
"He's such an even-keel guy and I think that's going to bode well for him in his career, being steady, never too high, never being too low," O'Connell said. "Sometimes you want to push him to show some emotion.. [You want him] to show some of those young guys in the huddle with him that it's okay for you to lead that group. It's okay for you to lead by example."
Tonight could be the last time we see Haskins on the field for a month or so, but ultimately the rookie should take the reins eventually this year.