It might not be much of a competition, but if there’s one QB on the Pittsburgh Steelers’ roster you have to worry about throwing behind you, it’s Dwayne Haskins. And Joe Haden knows it. As a cornerback, Haden has to play his coverage and technique a little differently when #3 is on the field.
Talking with reporters following Monday’s practice, Haden discussed Haskins’ deep ball.
“Super strong arm,” Haden said when asked to evaluate Haskins’ play. “And he’s really good with the deep ball. And he’s been making a lot of really good, smart decisions since he’s been here. My biggest thing from him is he can make all the throws and his arm is very strong sometimes.”
Despite earning a “Check down” nickname from Mike Tomlin this summer, Haskins tied for the best yards-per-attempt of any QB in camp at 7.1 yards and by far the best yards-per-completion at 11.3. His 16 completions of 20+ yards was most on the team. Combined, the other three QBs had 23.
Haden said he has to worry about a vertical throw a little more when Haskins is dropping back.
“He’s a really good deep ball threat. His deep ball, I feel like, is his best ball. He can throw it very effortlessly, like 75, 80 yards. So just making sure you stay on top of the receivers.”
Haskins has also largely been efficient this camp. His completion percentage was good for most of the summer, though it fell off over the last couple of practices. He’s generally played mistake-free in game action and his offenses have put points on the board when he’s been on the field.
Though Haskins won’t be the Steelers’ starter this season and will probably function as their #3 QBs in sweats and a clipboard, facing him in practice is a good warmup for all the strong-armed QBs the Steelers will face this season, starting with Josh Allen in Week 1, Aaron Rogers in Week 4, Justin Herbert Week 11, and Patrick Mahomes Week 16.
Of course, Ben Roethlisberger’s arm has been lively this summer, too, so Haden isn’t getting the play off when it’s Big Ben chucking it deep, either.