needed to do that for me,” Haskins said. “I applied pressure with everything I did this offseason with my body and how I studied and it’s making a big difference.”
He added: “I just cut off a lot of toxic stuff in my life. I feel really good right now.”
Receiver Terry McLaurin, who overlapped with Haskins at Ohio State, said he’s noticed.
“I’ve been here working out with him in Virginia the last month or so, and he looks really cut up, he’s slimmed down,” McLaurin said. “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 his focus is great right now. Physically, mentally, his personal life, he’s cleaning some things up as well. He’s ready to prove himself right really and just be the leader and the quarterback that this franchise needs and deserves.
“He knows it’s going to come with work and dedication, but he’s taking the right steps.”
New opportunity: The change in leadership in Ashburn was welcomed by many, but it’s particularly refreshing for Haskins, who gets a fresh start with coach Ron Rivera and offensive coordinator Scott Turner.
Rivera made clear from the beginning he wouldn’t be promising Haskins anything, much less the starting job, but his tune in recent weeks has been much more positive.
“He is really taking what he and I talked about to heart,” Rivera said. “I really do appreciate it because it shows maturity as well. He is a young man who is just learning the game, came out of college early obviously, and it’s just one of those things where as you see him grow and develop, you can see those types of things that you are hoping for. I appreciate the attitude and effort that he has approached this with.”
Rivera bought Carolina backup Kyle Allen to Washington via trade, so he has an option if he needs to pull the plug on Haskins, but the best-case scenario for the new coach is that Haskins becomes the franchise player he can be, saving everybody the headache of finding another
New offense: Haskins struggled to learn
Gruden’s West Coast concepts, but said this week he’s having a much easier time with Turner’s offense.
Some of that is a year of experience, some of it is increased classroom time, but Haskins thinks the plays are more logical as well.
“Having it being a numbered system and a system where it’s more concepts, it’s more one-word plays or tempo and things of that nature, it’s easier to regurgitate and be able to play faster,” he said. “The offense we were in last year was West Coast, and it was a lot of tags and a lot of longer play calls in the huddle. This year, it feels a lot easier getting used to what we’re doing.”
New confidence: Asked about all this, all the speculation and the importance of the 2020 season for his future in Washington, Haskins shuts down the conversation.
“I’m going to deliver, it’s never a question about that,” he said. “I don’t even care about that stuff, honestly. The biggest thing for me is to be prepared mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually, and that’s what I’m doing. I’m looking forward to being a great leader for this football team this year.”
That’s the sort of confidence Rivera is no doubt happy to hear. Whether it will translate to wins is another thing — after all, the Redskins have a tough schedule, and are lacking playmakers and many other positions. But the emergence of Haskins would be a bright spot for a fan base that desperately needs one.
Redskins quarterback Dwayne Haskins (7) guarantees he’s “going to deliver” in the coming season and looks forward “to being a great leader for this football team.”