As part of our Redskins 2020 Offseason Update presented by Bud Light Seltzer, we're focusing on quarterback Dwayne Haskins in our Player Spotlight feature brought to you by our friends at Acronis.
Whenever Ron Rivera decides to check his phone each morning, there is a good chance he'll have a text from Dwayne Haskins Jr. waiting for him. That's how it has been since he met with the young quarterback for the first time.
From the moment Rivera became the Redskins' head coach, he challenged Haskins to step up, be a leader and do the things franchise quarterbacks do. That all starts with the offseason, he said, and how Haskins prepares himself.
After getting glimpses of Haskins' offseason through text and social media posts, Rivera can tell he is taking their conversations to heart.
"I really do appreciate it because it shows maturity as well," Rivera told reporters June 10. "He is a young man who is just learning the game, came out of college early obviously and is just one of those things whereas you see him grow and develop, you can see those types of things that you are hoping for."
Rivera and Redskins fans would normally see that growth in person, but the COVID-19 pandemic has forced everyone to follow Haskins' tweets and Instagram posts to see the work he has been putting in this offseason. And as people see the pictures and videos, they cannot help but notice that Haskins is looking slimmer.
As it turns out, those assumptions were correct, because Haskins has lost 11 pounds and 7% body fat.
"I want to be the best player I can be for my team, and...it just fell off," Haskins said. "It wasn't intended [for me] to lose that much weight, but it just happens. I think I'll be more of a dynamic football player this year, and I'm looking forward to making some plays."
Haskins hasn't done anything out of the ordinary to lose weight; most of it has come from him simply keeping to his diet and workout program. Once he got into a rhythm, dropping a few pounds came natural to him. But he did admit that he has cut out a few things in his life.
When asked by Voice of the Redskins Larry Michael if there are any foods that he misses, Haskins quickly answered, "Double Stuffed Oreos. I can't even have that anymore."
Haskins is listed as 230 pounds on the roster, but he said he was about 235 pounds before he joined the team. He started his offseason training weighing in at about 228 pounds, and now he comes in at a lean 218.
"Dwayne's looked great," said Terry McLaurin, who has been working out with Haskins in Virginia for the past month. "He looks really cut up. He's having fun again. I feel like a lot was thrown at him his first year, and I'm not making any excuses for him at all, but I feel like just his focus is great right now."
Aside from his weight loss, Haskins has had to balance furthering his development while also learning an entirely new offense. One might think that a life in quarantine would be detrimental to both of those things, but Haskins has actually used the time to his advantage.
There are some drawbacks, as he's not able to pull his new coaches aside for an extra 15 minutes after a meeting for more personal instruction. But he has been able to craft his own routine that caters to his own needs, such as practicing his footwork and his pocket presence.
"I just wanted to work on continuing to be explosive, being dynamic in the pocket," Haskins said. "I'm also working on my out-of-pocket game with saying the plays and running the ball a little bit. And, of course, getting my timing down with my receivers. With me being lighter, I feel like I can move with better efficiency."
That strategy seems to have worked wonders for him.
"He's ready to prove himself...and just be the leader and the quarterback that this franchise needs and deserves, and he knows it's going to come with work and dedication, but he's taking the right steps," McLaurin said. "He can't wait to get back when we get with our teammates...and be able to showcase what he's been working on this whole offseason."
As for mastering his new playbook, Haskins said he is still learning, but that's where his extra time from the virtual offseason program came in handy. Outside of attending virtual meetings with his coaches, Haskins doesn't have many obligations for the rest of the day, so why not use that extra time to study and watch film to get ahead?
"I feel very comfortable just because having learned an NFL offense last year, it's easier to translate into different terminology. The concepts are the same, the reads are the same, just told differently," Haskins said. "This year, it feels a lot easier getting used to what we're doing."
The expectations are certainly high for Haskins in his second season, but he doesn't care about what people outside of the organization think about his development. He's more focused on being the leader Rivera and the team expects him to be.
"I'm going to deliver, it's never a question about that," Haskins said. "[The] biggest thing for me is to be prepared mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually. I'm looking forward to being a great leader for this football team this year."