A certain reporter on the Pittsburgh Steelers beat earlier this week garnered some attention with a report about the team’s third-string quarterback, Dwayne Haskins, purporting to have been witness to conversations on the sideline pre-game during which team staff were expressing disappointment in the third-year pro’s development and lack of maturation while watching him issue poorly-thrown passes in warm-ups.
Sunday was the first game of the season for which Haskins dressed, serving as the backup to Mason Rudolph after starter Ben Roethlisberger tested positive for COVID-19 the day before. Rudolph was able to play the entire length of the game.
Whether it was because of that report—which the reporter also relayed during a segment on 93.7 The Fan—or it was simply a coincidence tied to the fact that Haskins may still be the backup this week, wide receiver James Washington was asked a question about the third-stringer, which is probably the first question asked about him since the start of the season.
“I see a guy who’s just trying to stay ready”, the fourth-year wide receiver shared on Wednesday, when asked what he’s seen from Haskins in practice and how comfortable the receiving group would be with him. “If he comes in there, I think we’ll treat him the same way as Mason, just, whoever we have in there, we’re gonna take it and roll with it”.
The Steelers first signed Haskins, the 15th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft by the Washington Football Team, to a Reserve/Future contract in January shortly after their season ended. Head coach Mike Tomlin and others characterized it as a no-risk, high-upside proposition; he was given no guarantees and a minimum salary.
That a quarterback would clear waivers within two years of being drafted in the top half of the first round is jarring. Rumors of immaturity ran rampant behind him, and he was hoping to prove them wrong in Pittsburgh.
Throughout the offseason process, and when speaking to the media, he did give the appearance of being a professional. He even played pretty well, overall, during training camp and the preseason, barring the finale.
This report is the first that we have heard that in any way there is some dissatisfaction from within the organization about Haskins; it’s unsurprising, however, to hear nothing about a team’s third-string quarterback under most circumstances. And if Roethlisberger returns in the next couple of days, that’s where he’ll be again, on the inactive list.