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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.”

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