Confidence again, Haskins hopes to maintain up with Pittsburgh | Information, sports activities, jobs
PITTSBURGH – Dwayne Haskins isn’t the same quarterback he was when he arrived in Pittsburgh in January. The self-doubts that crept in after his nefarious blaze in Washington have disappeared and are being replaced by a sense of confidence that he believes will help him stick to the roster cut to 53 next Tuesday.
“I think being here (allows me) to be myself” Haskins said Wednesday after being named a starter for Pittsburgh’s preseason final against Carolina on Friday night. “It allows me to go out and have fun. I feel like when (I can) you see it in my game, you see it in (as I do) operate out of the crowd, talking to my teammates. And I feel like it’s contagious in a way because I have a lot of energy. “
While Haskins likely hasn’t done enough to depose Mason Rudolph as the primary replacement for Ben Roethlisberger when the regular season opens in Buffalo on September 12, he appears to have the inside information to stay as No. 3 one last Chance to show head coach Mike Tomlin and offensive coordinator Matt Canada how far he has come in the last eight months when he faces a Carolina team that wants several defensive regulars in the line-up in the first half on Friday.
The mood for Haskins will certainly be different than the last time he saw the Panthers on the other side of the scrimmage line.
He hit the turf at FedEx Field on December 27, 2020 as a starter for a team trying to claim a division title.
He walked away in shock after being replaced by Taylor Heinicke in the second half after a 20-13 defeat. It was dropped the next day, an amazingly quick downfall for a player who was picked 15th overall in the 2019 draft.
Three weeks later, the Steelers picked up a flyer on him, and he was commended by both Tomlin and Canada for his mature approach to the job. He’s not the starter or the center of the offensive, just a 24-year-old trying to stay in the league. It’s not what he envisioned on that dizzying night 28 months ago when Washington set its hopes on the boy with the big arm who grew up in the suburbs. But he has come to terms with where he is in his career and in his life.
He’s made it his business to dive into Canada’s offense and he’s looked solid at times as he completed 28 of 42 passes for 271 yards and a touchdown in Pittsburgh’s first three exhibition games. Canada said Haskins was moving in the right direction “mainly” since the start of organized team activities in May.
“He comes to work” Canada said. “He’s trying to learn our way. He tries to watch our system, watch what we do. I was really happy with that. I think he makes quick decisions. So he has improved. “
Haskins considers himself a student at heart, though he admits he wasn’t portrayed that way during his brief stint in Washington.
“I’ve always been that type of person, whether it was a story or not, who watches films, stays long, comes early.” he said.
He praised the detailed scouting report given to him every week that not only delves into the plans but also the strengths and weaknesses of all 11 defenders he might see in a given game. He believes he has a solid working knowledge of what Canada is trying to do in his freshman year in the NFL, and points out that their relationship dates back to when Canada tried to get him off of the more than half a decade ago High school recruit.
There is a level of comfort in Pittsburgh that Haskins suggests was difficult to achieve in the country’s capital. Here too, of course, the dynamic is different. He is not being tapped as “The guy” but easy “A man,” someone whose belief in themselves has returned.
When asked about the process of putting yourself back together, Haskins’ answer is illuminating.
“It’s really just about trusting myself and believing in myself and taking a lot of time to reflect on things for yourself.” he said. “And of course, being in a situation where the people around you want you to be successful.”
NOTES: Haskins will give way to Josh Dobbs at some point during the game, although Tomlin didn’t specify how long he’ll be with Haskins before handing things over to Dobbs, who only tried 12 passes the preseason and the strange man appears to be out . … Rookie running back Najee Harris is one of the planned starters who will not play against the Panthers. … While Harris is out, Tomlin said the completely rebuilt offensive line will see some action in the early stages. The group struggled to open holes while the game was in progress. Finishing last in the NFL in yards rushing and yards per rushing in 2020, Pittsburgh averages just 3.1 yards per carry through three shows.
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