2021 Offseason Questions: Can Steelers, Sullivan Improve Dwayne Haskins’ Accuracy?

Kendrick Green snapping to Ben Roethlisberger

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2020 season is now in the books. It ended in spectacular fashion — though the wrong kind of spectacular — in a dismal postseason defeat at the hands of the Cleveland Browns, sending them into an early offseason mode after going 12-4 in the regular season and winning the AFC North for the first time in three years.

Since then, they have lost several players in free agency who were key members of the offense and defense. Multiple starters retired, as well. They made few notable additions in free agency, and are banking on contributions on offense from their rookies, as well as perhaps a last ride for Ben Roethlisberger.

The only thing facing them now as they head into 2021 is more questions. Right now, they lack answers. They know that they have Roethlisberger for one more year, but was that even the right decision? How successful can Najee Harris be behind a questionable offensive line? What kind of changes can Matt Canada and Adrian Klemm bring to the offense? And how can the defense retain the status quo with the losses of Bud Dupree, Steven Nelson, and Mike Hilton?

These are the sorts of questions we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football is a year-round pastime and there are always questions to ask, though there is rarely a concrete answer. This is your venue for exploring the topics we present through all of their uncertainty.

Question: Can the Steelers and new quarterbacks coach Mike Sullivan help make Dwayne Haskins a more accurate passer?

One of the most common things that we hear about the quarterback position is that you can’t teach accuracy. That’s not entirely true, but it roughly grasps at the truth that it’s very difficult to make much of an adjustment in a player’s delivery, one that each player has developed for more than a decade most likely, to significantly improve his placement.

Unfortunately, that’s a key concern for half of the quarterbacks on the roster, as neither Dwayne Haskins nor Joshua Dobbs are particularly ‘accurate’ passers by today’s standards. Haskins, though, was a first-round pick, and the Steelers are just getting their hands on him now.

New quarterbacks coach Mike Sullivan talked about some work that they are doing with the third-year quarterback to improve his base when he goes into his throwing motion in the hopes of improving his placement. He also said that he’s learned it’s typically best not to tamper too much with the upper body.

The Steelers recognize that they will very soon need to field a team with a quarterback other than Ben Roethlisberger. They only brought in Haskins as a kick-the-tires experiment. If there is to be anything to come of it, they must improve his ability to deliver the ball on target. A 60 percent career accuracy doesn’t cut it, especially with his relatively low average depth of target.

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