The Pittsburgh Steelers have, more recently, been very clear about their reasoning behind their decision to sign former first-round quarterback Dwayne Haskins, whom many likely have already labeled a bust, to a Reserve/Future contract in January.
In spite of the fact that he already managed to fail in Washington after just two seasons, prompting his release, they viewed it as potentially getting something for nothing, as head coach Mike Tomlin said. Through most of training camp and two preseason games, he has already been showing the Steelers a little something, though just how much there is left to see is in question.
He did lead the offense to three touchdown drives during Thursday’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles, including one touchdown pass, and it should’ve been two if not for a defensive pass interference penalty in the end zone. He looked more relaxed and rhythmic than a week ago, befitting the advice he had gotten from his position coach, Mike Sullivan.
“Coach Sullivan came up to me and said, ‘be like the jazz players’. That’s just pretty much, be smooth”, he told reporters after Thursday’s game. “That’s kind of what I was trying to do today, was just be smooth, and a lot of plays will come to me. Trust in what I saw, letting my eyes tell me and my feet tell me where to go with the ball”.
In all, Haskins completed 16 of 22 pass attempts during the game, throwing for 161 yards, with the one touchdown pass, a 22-yarder on a free play to Anthony Johnson. It is so far his only touchdown pass of the season, but he has been the most successful of the Steelers’ quarterbacks in terms of moving the ball and getting points on the board.
Haskins had a fantastic collegiate season for the Ohio State Buckeyes before declaring early in the draft, which Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert was very clear on, going on record as saying that it was a mistake. Given how his career went in Washington, it’s hard not to agree.
I don’t know if I agree that Haskins has the smoothness of a jazz player, though. “Jazz as in real smooth, man”, he said. “The blues and all of that stuff. Just bop your head and snap your fingers”.
I don’t care how smooth he is, though, if he can consistently put the ball in the correct end zone. It’s still a longshot that he actually turns out to be the Steelers’ next quarterback, let alone makes good and helps them win another Super Bowl, but you have to make the effort to find out.