Redskins fans have lofty expectations for rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)
Dwayne Haskins is the latest potential Redskins’ franchise quarterback and savior. The 15th overall pick in last month’s draft is charged with stabilizing the most important position for a franchise more than two decades removed from its glory years.
Washington hasn’t won a Super Bowl in the 22-year-old’s lifetime. Between winning the 1992 Super Bowl and selecting Haskins, the Redskins drafted four other first-round quarterbacks to lead them to the promised land. None lasted more than five seasons with the team.
Other quarterbacks, however, did have success with the franchise. And what advice do those former signal callers have for Haskins?
“Be the first one in and last one out,” Super Bowl XXVI MVP Mark Rypien said Thursday night at the Mickey Steele Celebrity Golf and Poker Tournament, an annual charity event he hosts featuring Redskins alumni. “If he wants to learn as much as he wants to learn, he wants to be the guy that’s gonna be there from day one, come in early in the morning. Get all your mental reps in and go over game plans, your play book, watch film, work out. Be the last guy to leave. That not only sets a precedent for yourself and how you should conduct yourself but it also sets a precedent for the team when their leader — whoever the leader’s going to be of this team — is the first one in and the last one out . . . Dwayne can take that team over by doing those things.”
“Be very humble,” Billy Kilmer said. “And learn a lot and study the game and do what the coaches say. That would be the best thing. Especially for a rookie in this league. Just be humble. Be attentive. Practice hard.”
“Be himself,” Jay Schroeder said. “Don’t try to be what somebody else wants you to be. You’re there because of who you are. Yes, you can fine-tune some things and get better, but you’re there because you’ve got the tools and you’ve got the goods. Know that you’ve got those and go from there.”
The Bullis product routinely displayed his talent for a national audience last fall, thriving in his only full season as a starter at Ohio State. Haskins earned 2018 Big Ten offensive player of the year honors after throwing for 4,831 yards and 50 touchdowns and a 70.0 completion percentage.
Redskins fans are hoping that collegiate production translates to the pro game under Coach Jay Gruden’s scheme. So are his predecessors.
“I loved what I saw of Dwayne when he played in college,” Rypien said. “It’s yet to be seen what he can do in the pros but the upside is that he’s a young player that is eager to take this team to that next level.”
“It’ll be interesting to see how quickly he can develop that quick-passing game,” Schroeder said, “because that’s going to be key. He’s gonna have to get the ball out sometimes instead of holding it or else he’s going to be smashed.”
“I think he’s got an unbelievable amount of talent, there’s no question about that,” Schroeder also said.
Entering his first season as a pro, Haskins doesn’t lack resources inside Redskins Park. The building is filled with ex-quarterbacks; in addition to Gruden, Senior Vice President of Player Personnel Doug Williams, offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell, quarterbacks coach Tim Rattay and senior offensive assistant Matt Cavanaugh all played the position. Will that many voices be a good thing for Haskins?
“It can be if he handles it right,” Schroeder said, “Because they’re all gonna have different opinions. What Dwayne’s gonna have to do is very simply this — he’s gotta take all that information in and go ‘What fits my game?’ and then say, ‘This little piece here from Matt fits in. This little piece from Jay fits in. I can work on those things and go from that.’ So he’s going to have to pick and choose on what actually fits his game. If he tries to change who he is, that’s a bad thing. He can’t do that. He’s a gifted athlete and you gotta work within that parameter to help him get better.”
“I think all these individuals will have an impact at some level,” Rypien said. “You just can’t get him to be saturated with so much information that his head’s spinning . . . We know what he can do and what’s he’s been able to show he can do. Now it’s just a matter of putting that into what this offense wants of him and not to try to do any more than that.”
Haskins and the Redskins resume organized team workouts Monday.
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