Dwayne Haskins on 1st NFL Touchdown Pass: ‘It Was Exhilarating …’

Dwayne Haskins

(Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

Washington Redskins fans have been waiting for nearly four months to finally see first-round draft pick, Dwayne Haskins throwing the ball around FedExField.

Against the Cincinnati Bengals in the team’s preseason home opener, Haskins didn’t disappoint and had a nice bounce-back game after a shaky start to his pro career last week against the Cleveland Browns.

The former Ohio State star has all of the tools needed to be a successful NFL quarterback. He is expected to carry the Redskins offense well into the future, but more than likely, not immediately.

After his team was defeated by the Bengals 23-13, Haskins spoke with reporters about his overall performance and his first-ever NFL touchdown pass.

“It was exhilarating,” Haskins said about the touchdown. “I enjoyed it. It was fun. I will never forget it. It was exciting for me.

“I was more proud of what happened pre-snap than anything. I did a hard count, had rotation late and flipped the protection. I still got hit but Rob [Davis] did a great job of getting open. The corner and cover safety were low. I saw him backpedaling pretty slow and told him that I was throwing deep. He caught it and scored a touchdown. I wasn’t worried about getting hit. After he scored, I was excited.”

Haskins liked the way the rest of his night went and you could see at times during the game his confidence was growing. On the day, he was 7 of 14 for 114 yards and a touchdown.

“It (performance) was good,” Haskins said. “I was just trying to move the ball and make smart decisions. Don’t put the ball in harm’s way. I did great with my protections today and didn’t miss at all. I’m just trying to put it all together and get better
every day.”

Last week against Cleveland Haskins threw two interceptions that were ill-advised throws that rookies make. When asked if he made a conscientious effort to avoid the same mistakes the rookie replied.

“No, I just play,” Haskins continued. “I am not really conscious on making the same mistakes twice. Before the game, I am like, ‘Alright, I am not going to throw two picks again.’ That is what I thought and I didn’t, so that was good. When I play, I just play. I don’t think about making the same mistakes twice or just missing a throw. I just let it go and move on to the next one.”

Coach Jay Gruden was impressed with Haskins performance and understands that right now everything is a process for the rookie signal-caller.

“I mean, Dwayne showed flashes,” Gruden said. “There are a couple balls he rushed a bit. He missed a couple of shots, he rushed a little bit, didn’t put enough air under there. This is all a process for him. It’s good to see him get out there and take hits here and there. Have him do the protections, get the running game going and calling the plays. The presentation that I’m interested in right now is how he handles himself, how he controls the players in the huddle with the leadership qualities that he has. It’s fun to watch him right now. He’s a work in progress, and he’s going to continue getting better and better.”

The key thing for Gruden and the Redskins in gauging Haskins progress is that he didn’t make the same mistakes in back-to-back outings. They also would like to get Haskins better protection and more opportunities in better down and distance situations.

“These are different plays and different defenses, so you’ll never make the same mistake twice,” Gruden said. “You might overthrow a ball since things happen, but for the most part, I don’t think there’s anything scheme-related that he messed up. So we’ve got to get him protected better, and we have to be in better down and distance for goodness sake. We had second and 20 again about 13 times. There’s no quarterback that has a chance in those down and distances. So hopefully next week, we’ll get him in there and get a good drive together and get some positive down and distances and friendly for the play-caller.”