Dwayne Haskins won’t be part of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2021 offense. At least, hopefully not, or else the team is reliving that miserable 2019 season. But after making the team as presumably the #3 QB, OC Matt Canada believes Haskins’ future is bright.
Speaking with reporters yesterday, Canada praised the job Haskins has done and the potential he has.
“Obviously, we feel like he’s a very talented player and he came in and has worked very hard,” Canada told reporters via a team transcript and courtesy of Steelers.com. “As we talked last week, the ups and downs of camp, good days, and bad days. Same with games, the urgency in every play, there’s something you have to do well on every play. But we feel like there’s a great upside with Dwayne. And I’ve said it a bunch of times. He’s worked very hard. We feel good about where we’re headed, the progress he’s made, and what the future holds.”
Haskins’ first summer with the Steelers was far from perfect. It ended on a particularly sour note, struggling mightily in the preseason finale against the Carolina Panthers’ starting defense, only saving the slightest face with a meaningless touchdown drive. But overall, Haskins showed improved accuracy, decision-making, and to hear the team tell it, good preparation and study. He finished the preseason going 37/58 (63.8%) for 379 yards with two touchdowns and one interception
But a third-year quarterback who nearly fell out of the league, Canada knows there’s still a long ways to go for Haskins to get to where he and the team wants him to be.
“The same thing I want from everybody else: to get better every day. Those are our choices, right? You can get better. You can get worse, never stay the same. We want him to get better. We want him to look, watch the mental reps he gets – a lot more mental than physical when you’re in that position.”
Haskins should spend most of the year as the #3 QB, a weekly inactive who will be watching and learning, not playing. He’ll have to take advantage of the few practice reps he does get, mostly coming on Wednesdays when Ben Roethlisberger is usually given the day off.
In a lot of ways, being in that position is the best thing for him. The weight of the football world will be off his shoulders. Haskins earned buzz this camp because he was the shiny new quarterback with the big arm and first-round resume but once he’s fixed to the bench, no one will talk about him. Haskins is going from a highly-pressurized situation in Washington to just being a guy in Pittsburgh.
If Haskins utilizes this year properly and grows his game, he could be in the battle for the starting job next season should Ben Roethlisberger retire.