The Washington Redskins on Monday named Haskins their starting quarterback for the rest of the season. The 15th overall draft pick takes over with Washington 1-8 and the New York Jets up next Sunday.
"We've got a lot of confidence in Dwayne," interim coach Bill Callahan said in announcing the much-expected move. "He's worked hard, he's smart, he studies, he prepares, so this will be a great opportunity for him going forward."
Haskins is 27 of 44 for 284 yards with no touchdowns and four interceptions in three appearances - two in relief and a start Nov. 3 at Buffalo. The Jets game will be his second NFL start.
"It helps to have a full week of preparation where you're the starter," second-year receiver Trey Quinn said. "I'm looking forward to seeing him grow because he's a talent. He's definitely a talent, so sky's the limit right now for him. It's just up to him to take the extra time and learn on his own."
Previous coach Jay Gruden and Callahan had been reluctant to hand the reins over to Haskins because he looked much more like a long-term project than a ready-made professional quarterback. Veteran Case Keenum started seven of the first eight games and longtime backup Colt McCoy the other.
But Haskins showed enough in his audition against the Bills to earn the full-time role. Callahan liked Haskins' consistency and decisiveness in completing 15 of 22 passes with a limited playbook.
There's also the mere fact that this is becoming a lost season for the Redskins, who are likely to have a top five draft pick and would be wise to see what they have in Haskins.
"He needs the experience," Callahan said. "Let's give Dwayne an opportunity. We're at a juncture where we don't want to be record-wise, so this is a good opportunity for him to take advantage of every (snap) practice-wise and game-wise so we can see growth in his play."
There already has been growth in Haskins from a very raw training camp through this week.
"He's always had an arm, always standing tall in the pocket and is confident in himself and I think the people around him," Quinn said. "Other than that, it's just getting in the pro system and kind of feeling comfortable calling the plays, going through the progressions, making the check at the line and just studying a little extra. Week by week, he's done that."
Keenum is expected to serve as the backup against the 2-7 Jets with McCoy the third QB. Haskins should have another offensive weapon at his disposal with the anticipated return of running back Derrius Guice.
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