The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2021 OTA sessions got underway last week. That meant it was the first time the team got a chance to see new backup quarterback Dwayne Haskins on the practice field. Last week was also the first time that Steelers’ starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger got to see his newest understudy on the practice fields of the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, as well. After Tuesday’s OTA session, Roethlisberger met the media, and later during that interview he was asked to give his thoughts on what he’s seen out of Haskins so far.
“You know, I was just telling Coach Sulli [quarterbacks coach Mike Sullivan] the other day that his release and throwing motion mechanics are some of the prettiest I’ve ever seen,” Roethlisberger said of Haskins. “And I told him, I wish I had that. Just everything he does, and he throws the ball, I joked he could throw it through a car wash, and it wouldn’t get wet. He’s learning it. It’s obviously a new system for him.”
While Haskins no doubt has a cannon for an arm, he’s already shown so far in NFL action that he doesn’t have the best accuracy. The former first-round draft pick of the Washington Football Team out of Ohio State also seems to have issues when it comes to completely learning NFL systems and reading defenses, at least based on his play to date with Washington.
While Pittsburgh signed Haskins for the minimum earlier in the offseason, the Steelers won’t let him waltz right into the 2021 regular season as the team’s third string quarterback without him earning that job. That’s why the Steelers re-signed quarterback Joshua Dobbs long after free agency got underway. Dobbs should be able to both help Haskins learn the Steelers’ new offensive system that new offensive coordinator Matt Canada is implementing, in addition to pushing him for a roster spot as well.
The main thing that Haskins needs to accomplish this summer is beating out Dobbs. From there, and assuming Roethlisberger and backup Mason Rudolph both remain healthy, he’ll be expected to use the rest of the 2021 season to continue to learn the Steelers’ offense and prepare himself to possibly be the team’s backup or starter in 2022. In the meantime, Roethlisberger noted on Tuesday that he likes what Haskins brings to the team this summer.
“He’s young in the league, but it’s fun to have that young energy around,” Roethlisberger said of Haskins. “And like I said, when he throws a football, it’s pretty.”