Following his first-career home start Sunday, quarterback Dwayne Haskins Jr. addressed reporters from Redskins Park on Wednesday afternoon. Here are five takeaways from the media session:
1. Dwayne Haskins said he needs to do a better job taking what the defense gives him.
There are plenty of areas where Haskins can improve following his first-career start Sunday against the New York Jets. But upon re-watching the Redskins' 34-17 loss, his biggest takeaway centered around taking what the defense gives him.
"As a young quarterback, you have to let the game come to you," Haskins said. "You can’t try to be explosive and try to make the plays you see on Sundays every [time] that you get the opportunity to out there. Those plays will come as the game continues to flow."
Haskins said he found himself pressing at times versus New York due to poor circumstances the Redskins found themselves in. The Jets scored on two of their first three possessions and led by double digits the rest of the way, which prompted Haskins to take risks he may not have had his team been ahead or within one possession. Haskins completed just 54% of his passes (19-for-35) on Sunday for two touchdowns and an interception.
"As I continue to play in those situations and those scenarios in the game, I'll know better when when to and when to not take shots, when to extend plays and when not to, when to take a sack and when to throw a ball away," he said. "Just learn from it.”
2. Haskins attributes late-game success to "just playing ball."
Haskins' biggest mistake of the game occurred early in the fourth quarter when a miscommunication error with Trey Quinn led to an ugly interception deep in Redskins' territory. Two plays later, the Jets added another touchdown to extend their lead, 34-3.
From there, however, Haskins and the offense found rhythm for the first time all afternoon. First, he led the team on a six-play, 69-yard scoring drive that Derrius Guice capped off with a 45-yard touchdown reception of a screen pass. It served as the first-career score for both Guice and Haskins.
Following three incompletions on the next possession, Haskins bounced back with another touchdown drive in the game's final minutes. The drive began with a 41-yard, acrobatic catch from Terry McLaurin, and two plays later Haskins hit his former college teammate again for an eight-yard gain. Haskins then scrambled for four yards -- good for another first down -- before finding tight end Jeremy Sprinkle in the end zone to cut the deficit to 34-17.
“Just playing ball," Haskins said of his fourth-quarter emergence. "At that point, we’re trying to be aggressive with the football and take some shots down the field, and that’s where I feel my game really takes a stride in."
3. Haskins has high hopes for this young Redskins' offense.
Haskins has expressed confidence in his fellow offensive skill players, and they produced throughout Sunday's game. McLaurin, who has been the team's leading receiver all season, recorded a team-high 69 yards receiving against the Jets, while fellow rookie wideout Kelvin Harmon set career highs in catches (five), targets (six) and yards (53).
Haskins said they're not only great receivers, but they're also great people who have simplified his job as the starting quarterback.
"They work really hard and dedicate themselves to what they do," Haskins said. "Having known both of them for years before even coming to the Redskins is really great for our relationship as a quarterback and receiver. They come to me to talk about anything, I talk to them about anything and it’s really great because we have a great relationship.”
Haskins also understands the luxury of having a young rusher like Guice, who totaled 70 yards and a touchdown on eight total touches in his home debut. Like himself, Haskins said Guice has the drive and passion to develop into one of the best at his position.
"He’s going to be a really elite player," Haskins said. "He does a lot of things well, and he has the ‘want to’ to be good -- wants to be great -- and I’m glad he’s on my team.”
4. Haskins continues to hone in on his leadership skills.
Ohio State head coach Ryan Day taught Haskins an important lesson about leadership, which he's brought into the Redskins' locker room.
"Being a leader isn’t about being the guy screaming in guys’ faces," Haskins remembers Day telling him. "It’s the guy who has the golf club set and being able to pull out different situations for different people and for different things and different scenarios."
As a rookie starting quarterback, Haskins understands that earning the trust of his older teammates will take time. That being said, he believes he's made "tremendous strides" since joining the Redskins and is looking forward to building those relationships the rest of the season.
"For me, both learning my voice and the role I have on this team, there are going to be some times where we’re going to have to take some humble pie and speak up," Haskins said. "I feel like as I continue to play and earn more trust, those guys will continue to lean on me.”
5. “Right now we’re losing, but I don’t plan on losing for long.”
Haskins lost once as the starting quarterback for Ohio State last season, yet he's already lost twice in as many starts with the Redskins.
It's a unfamiliar feeling but one Haskins said he was prepared for. In talking to Day, he knew every game would be different and that every one would be a fight. Every NFL team has talented players, many of whom were consistent winners at their respective alma maters.
So in the face of adversity, Haskins has remained upbeat. He's eager to continue battling alongside his teammates in Washington.
"We’ve lost a couple games here, but as a person who really prides himself on positive energy, I know that if I bring my best game to practice everyday, to meetings and to the game eventually things will change and things will turn around," Haskins said. "Right now we’re losing, but I don’t plan on losing for long, and I want to win some football games."