Jay Gruden Gives First Impressions of Dwayne Haskins, Terry McLaurin After Day 2 of Rookie Mini-camp

By Taylor Lehman on May 11, 2019 at 4:09 pm
Dwayne Haskins and Terry McLaurin
Dwayne Haskins and Terry McLaurin

Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said it's been "a treat" to watch Dwayne Haskins throw in the first two days of rookie mini-camp.

After Day 2 of the Washington Redskins’ rookie mini-camp Saturday, Washington head coach Jay Gruden addressed the media for the first time after working with former Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins and wide receiver Terry McLaurin live.

The Redskins still have another day left, as each team has three days of rookie mini-camp in the first two weekends following the NFL Draft. Washington selected Haskins at No. 15 overall in April and picked McLaurin No. 76 overall in the third round.

Gruden’s impression of Haskins at quarterback dominated much of the discussion, but he also touched on Haskins’ collegiate teammate as well.

Q: What are your first impressions of Dwayne, getting him out there on the field?

“It’s been positive to get to know him, get him out on the field and get some plays, watch him learn and watch him take them to the field. Yesterday, he had a great day. Today, the defense played a little better, but it’s just a matter of progression right now, installation. We’re at the bare minimum right now, but we’re very impressed with his skillset, for sure. He can really spin it.”

Q: What do you try to get out of him as you lay this foundation? What are you impressing the most on him?

“When you start with the quarterback, you start with the basics. You’re talking about huddle. He’s a guy that didn’t run a lot out of the huddle, so you’re talking about breaking a huddle, calling plays in the huddle, snap count, getting guys lined up, going through his progression, his footwork, not only in the passing game but in the running game. It’s just a lot you’re throwing at him. It’s a long process, but he’s a bright guy. He’s wanting to work at it, and he will work at it, and I was impressed.”

Q: He’ll want to start Week One. What was that conversation like with him about the trajectory he’s on and when those decisions get made down the line?

“We’re going to go at it, throw the ball out there and let these guys compete. He displayed enough of a skillset to warrant the 15th pick in the draft and to give him an opportunity to see how far he can take this thing, without a doubt. Been impressed with the other quarterbacks we have here. Case (Keenum) has done an excellent job, the little bit that we’ve seen of him. Colt (McCoy is) obviously rehabbing. Josh (Woodrum) has done a good job as well. It’s a good group and the competition will get there.”

Q: Would you say it’s an open competition at the quarterback position?

“Yeah sure. We have to have that, yeah. Case is coming in with the most experience, which is great. Colt’s got the most experience with the terminology in this system. Then obviously Dwayne, the first pick – I mean, the 15th pick in the draft. We’ll see what happens.”

Q: We talked about how having a rookie quarterback was going to be different. Now that you’ve gone through it, what’s been different about it than previous years?

“I think it’s just kind of neat to have a quarterback here that you draft that high. You come in here and give him a set of plays and go out there and work with him and watch him spin it. It’s just been a treat. He’s made some throws that turn your head without a doubt. There are some things that we need to clean up, and that’s going to be the case every single day that he’s here. Without a doubt, watching him throw to the receivers that we have here, he had a pretty good group of receivers as well, some of those free agents that we signed, and obviously Terry (McLaurin) and Kelvin (Harmon) were excellent.”

Q: With the way (Haskins) throws the ball, is it how cleanly it comes out or does it jump out differently?

“Yeah when he’s got a clean pocket and his feet underneath him, he’s jut a big, solid, fundamentally sound guy. He’s a big presence and the ball just jumps off his hand. But he also has the ability to speed it up and he’s got great touch as well for some of the short balls as well. We shortened it up and did some redzone stuff and just want to see his touch down there. I was impressed with that, for the first time working with the wideouts in that period. But he’s displayed that he can make – in a short period of time – all the throws. The deep-ball throws, the 20-yard dagger-type throws where you have to line it and then the touch throws, the anticipation-type throwsHe’s kind of displayed a little bit of everything in these two days.”

Q: You talked about the footwork the other day. What have you been able to accomplish in that area with him?

“We’re never going to stop working on footwork and fundamentals. That's something that quarterbacks will always work on, not only in the passing game but in the run game. Out of the shotgun, under the center. That’s something you have to be consistent with, just to get yourself in the right position to match up your timing with the route concepts that we have. It’s a critical part of playing the position.”

Q: Pairing Dwayne and Terry as college teammates, what’s the upside of that?

“I think just the comfort level, having another guy here that you know and are comfortable with. Dwayne's a great guy. He gets along with everybody. But to have a guy you can talk to, hang out with at lunch, whatever, the first day of school, so to speak. And you can see they have a natural relationship throwing and catching the ball with the routes. Terry was very, very impressive in these two days, with his speed and his ability to get off the jams and make plays down the field. He’s an easy guy to throw to – fast and kind of big.”

Q: What have you noticed from (Haskins) as far as studying film, and also is that more valuable for a guy that doesn’t have four years of starting experience?

“You have to study film, whether you’re a rookie or a 20-year guy. I’m sure the great ones – (Drew) Brees and (Tom) Brady – study film as much as anyone. That’s what makes them great, so we’re going to help him along with that, teach him how to study film, what to look at. But he’s a guy that wants to work at it, and he has to work at it. At that position, you have to work fundamentals, film. It’s never-ending.”

Q: There were a lot of one- and two-year team captains in this draft, and then in Haskins there seems to be a lot of talk about his leadership too. Was that more intentional this year?

“It’s very beneficial. We didn’t exactly target only captains, but if it’s close between two players and one of them is a two-year captain at wide receiver, with the skillset that Terry had, it’s an easy pick. . .If you find good payers that are also good people and good leaders, it’s a win-win for everybody.”

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