"Before the pandemic really hit, Dwayne was in the office every morning, in the building every day working," Williams said during an interview Wednesday with 106.7 The Fan's Chad Dukes. "I mean, Dwayne knows what's at hand, and it's unfortunate, Chad, that leading up to the draft, man, all these gurus was talking about 'Dwayne this' and 'Dwayne that.'
"I mean, he's a young quarterback – he deserves every opportunity like anybody else deserves. Talent-wise, coming out last year... in the last two years, I don't care who came out this year, last year, there's not a quarterback that's come out in the last two years that has the ability – from an arm strength standpoint and arm talent – that Dwayne Haskins has."
"Dwayne can throw with the best of them," Williams said. "Now mentally, he has to control the other part, and I think he has aligned himself and realized that's what he has to do and I think that's what he's doing. I think at the end of the day, give him the opportunity to do what everybody is doing, and that is to improve upon his game."
Williams was asked to name the biggest difference for quarterbacks transitioning to the professional ranks from college.
"Well you know, I'm a firm believer. I've always said this, Chad," Williams said. "Some things are taught and some things are caught. And you can learn everything you need to know about the position, but the part that nobody can teach you is how to mature to understand the leadership role that you have to take to make it happen."
"And that's what I'm hoping more than anything, that Dwayne sees himself as the CEO," he said. "And as a CEO, it ain't all Xs and Os. It's being able to have that presence when you walk in the locker room, they know my leader is walking in the locker room. When you walk in a room, you get on the bus, when you get on the airplane – that's my leader."
Williams outlined what that leadership looks like in the NFL, and how Haskins can establish himself as that presence in the Redskins locker room.
"You know, I always say the quarterback's gotta be a little different than the divas," he said. "The divas are the wide receivers and the defensive backs, alright. Let's be honest with you. Quarterback ain't no diva, so you can't put yourself in the diva. You gotta carry yourself a little different.
"But at the same time, you gotta be able to communicate with the divas, if that makes sense. And then you've got to be able to communicate with the big boys in the trenches. And that's what leadership comes from. They've got to believe in whoever the quarterback is."
"When you do that," he continued, "when you walk in that huddle, when you go to the sideline, you want to hear the defense say, 'Hey Dwayne, we've got 'em from here.' You know what I mean? That's respect. And you want to walk in the huddle on offense, and they say, 'Okay, let's go now. Let's make sure we do this and nobody's talking about Dwayne.'
"That's a presence. But you can't take that away, you can't demand that; you've got to earn that. And that's what I'm hoping he does."
The interview took a humorous turn when Williams – who wore No. 12 during his five seasons as the starting quarterback in Tampa (1978-82) – was asked for his reaction to Tom Brady signing with the Buccaneers, where Brady will also be wearing No. 12.
"I talked to a couple of my ex-teammates down there," Williams said. "I wanted them to understand that when I donned No. 12 in Tampa, Tom Brady was one years old. Tom Brady was born in 1977 and I was a rookie in 1978."
"I'm sure every team he breaks out of that tunnel, he'll get a chance to look straight up at the numbers," he added. "And it'll say 'Williams: No. 12,' and he can say to himself, 'Wow. I'm wearing Doug Williams' number.'"