Dwayne Haskins hasn't seen the field since he was replaced as the Washington Football Team starter after Week 4, but there's no question he is still plugged into the game.
After Alex Smith scrambled to his right for a minimal gain and fell near the sideline late in the 4th quarter against the Dallas Cowboys, Haskins was right there to help the quarterback up.
For Washington Football fans, this is the kind of thing you want to see from the second-year quarterback who, despite some struggles, could still be the organization’s future at quarterback.
And head coach Ron Rivera said after Washington’s 41-16 victory he has liked what he has seen from Haskins since his benching.
“Dwayne has really grown, I really do think, in the last month in terms of the things we talked about wanting to see him understand and get and build on,” Rivera told the media Friday.
"The young man is a talent, he's got an arm. An NFL talent and he’s learning the rest of it,” Rivera said. “As I've said before he hasn’t played a lot of football. We do want to create opportunities for him to play football.
“Right now he’s practicing, he’s practicing well, he’s meeting, he’s understanding what it takes in the meeting rooms, or at least I believe he is right now. I like what he’s doing out there on the football field.”
Rivera added he liked seeing Haskins and practice squad quarterback Steven Montez doing a good job "mimicking" what Smith does during practice time and drills.
“They're learning and that's a huge plus," Rivera added. “We talk about guys having the right attitude. Look at the play Terry McLaurin made to give us a chance. That’s all we wanted on defense, was a chance to stop them and that’s what they did.”
Rivera went on to praise the stingy defense and running back Peyton Barber for sliding down to ice the game away with under two minutes left after getting a first down.
“That’s the kind of stuff that we’re looking for in our players: That they are selfless guys,” the Washington head coach said.
“They’re unselfish. They do what it takes to give us a chance. They do what’s smart. That’s important. There’s a lot more to it than just being a great athlete that can run fast and jump high. You’ve got to be able to play the game, play the game smart, play the game with the right intent.”
And Rivera mentioning this after being asked about Haskins could offer an insight into why Haskins’ off-field development is a good sign. If he’s doing the right things in practice, showing growth in meetings, playing time, and improvement in games may not be far behind.