The Pittsburgh Steelers took a low risk flier on Dwayne Haskins this offseason when they signed the cast off quarterback to a contract. Haskins left the dysfunctional Washington Football Team, with plenty of fault of his own, and is looking to get his football career back on track with a new franchise.
After a solid performance Thursday night vs. the Philadelphia Eagles, Haskins reflected on the situation he now finds himself in. That situation being the fact he is the quarterback of the Steelers and winning football games.
“It was great. Probably the most fun I have had since I came here. The energy, the fans in the stadium. Guys gravitating towards me.” Haskins said post-game. “It was a lot of fun to be out there and just put some points out there and got a win.”
The biggest play Haskins made came on a free play when he drew the defense offsides and found Anthony Johnson wide open in the back of the end zone.
“[Steelers WR Anthony Johnson] found a great spot back in the end zone. So I just wanted to give him a chance to give him the ball so it was a great free play. Coach [Mike] Tomlin talks a lot about hunting and big plays.”
Hunting big plays is something every NFL team wants to accomplish every time they step on the field, but Haskins’ is also able to reflect on his brief time with the Steelers and how different it is compared to his previous stop as a professional.
“Just the atmosphere and how competitive it is. It feels like it’s a brotherhood here and I’m just excited to be a part of it.” Haskins said. “Whether I’m playing or not playing, I still want to root on my teammates. Just to see how when the third team is in, the starters are cheering on the third team. Everyone on the field wants to see everyone make plays so it’s a lot of fun watching it.”
Haskins was asked about just how comfortable he is with Matt Canada’s offense, and he said his command of the offense is getting better.
“It’s getting better. Still learning, still trying to figure out my guys. Still trying to figure what Coach Tomlin wants to do with certain plays. But I feel like getting guys out of the huddle, being aware of the time clock, being aware of personal changes. Understanding down and distance and situational football. That’s something as a quarterback to be really locked in on. So, I feel like I showed some improvement on that today, but still a long way to go.”
At this point, it seems as if it is an open competition to who would be backing up Ben Roethlisberger if it came down to it. Currently, Mason Rudolph is listed as the backup quarterback on the depth chart, but Haskins hasn’t had an opportunity to play with any starters. Something Haskins hope he has the opportunity to do this preseason.
“As a competitor of course you want to get with the guys that make the plays. I do a good job listening to [Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger] and having conversations with the starting receivers, getting to know what they like and how they see the field.” Haskins added. “If that happens, I just want to be ready for it and I do some off the field stuff with guys as well. I feel like I have a great relationship and chemistry with all of the receivers. But if I get an opportunity, I want to make the most of it.”
The Steelers have two preseason games remaining, and with Ben Roethlisberger slated to get some playing time vs. the Detroit Lions next Saturday night you have to wonder how much playing time Haskins will receive. On top of that, which unit will Haskins be captaining when he takes the field?
At this point, Haskins seems to just be generally happy for this opportunity with the Steelers organization, but don’t confuse that with complacency. Haskins has gotten off on the right foot, and now it is up to him to keep playing well and prove his worth to the organization.
Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the rest of training camp, the preseason and the 2021 regular season.