ASHBURN — Rookie camp hasn’t been this interesting since 2012.
A throng of cameras from around the state and around the country documented Dwayne Haskins’ every move Saturday as he spent his first weekend in a Washington Redskins uniform.
After turning heads with his performance on Friday, Haskins looked more like a rookie quarterback on Saturday, although that did nothing to diminish the enthusiasm of a handful of ticket holders who got to watch the workout.
“You’re the answer to our prayers,” screamed one fan as Haskins signed autographs after the workout.
It felt like Robert Griffin III’s rookie camp all over again, and the sense of renewed promise is just as tangible within the Redskins’ fan base.
“Yesterday he had a great day,” coach Jay Gruden said of Haskins. “Today the defense played a little better.
“We’re at the very minimum right now [in terms of playbook], but I’m very impressed with his skill set. He can really spin it.”
Haskins was at his most impressive when throwing to fellow Ohio State alumnus Terry McLaurin, a third-round pick by Washington.
McLaurin and Haskins are roommates while they get settled in, and they’ve been studying film together.
“It felt like we were back at Ohio State,” Haskins said. “We played a little ‘Madden’ last night. It’s just great to have somebody that you’re comfortable with, and to have him on the same team as me is a blessing.”
McLaurin’s speed was obvious even in limited work, and it’s clear he’s caught a few deep balls from Haskins.
“You know when you move out of your break the ball is going to be right where it needs to be,” McLaurin said. “On the deep ball, he’s going to put enough air under it for a fast guy like me to run under it. Just his touch and his anticipation are two things that stand out to me.”
Gruden said it’s good for Haskins to have an immediate connection but that from what he’s seen of the quarterback, he’ll be friends with everybody in short order.
“Dwayne is a great guy, he gets along with everybody,” the coach said. “But to have a guy that you can talk to, hang out at lunch or whatever on the first day of school, it’s just a comfort level.
“Terry was very, very impressive these two days with his speed and his ability to get off the jams and make plays down the field. An easy guy to throw to — fast and kind of big.”
McLaurin also said Haskins was dominant in Friday’s session, which wasn’t open to the media.
“He had maybe two incompletions, and I think they may have both been tips,” McLaurin said. “Today the defense competed really well, and that’s what you want to see.”
It’s what Haskins will see in NFL games, so with those small steps, the long journey begins.
Other rookie-camp observations:
- Linebacker Montez Sweat, the team’s other first-round pick, didn’t do much during the session open to media, but Gruden was raving about his speed, noting that Sweat “eats up ground when he runs. Three strides and he’s across the field. It’s crazy.”
- The offensive line versus defensive line work was restricted mostly to the tryout players, but undrafted free agent signee Chidi Okeke dominated his work on the offensive line.
- Among the tryout players was Vinny Papale, son of legendary Eagles player Vince Papale, the inspiration of the movie “Invincible.” Gruden said he was thrilled with Papale’s performance, but noted that the team has a full roster, so it’s going to be tough for any of the weekend’s tryout players to break through.
- Running back Bryce Love of Stanford was on hand but not in uniform. Love tore his ACL in the final game of the 2018 regular season for the Cardinal. He said he’s eager to get moving, but will do it at the timetable set by the Redskins’ trainers. With Adrian Peterson returning and Derrius Guice projected to return from his torn ACL, the Redskins won’t rush Love back to the field.