J. Moyer compares Dwayne Haskins to an ’85 Toyota Hilux in his analysis of the Washington quarterback—and the broader roles of quarterbacks in NFL offenses—in this edition of True/False.
Follow J Moyer’s work on Twitter (@JMoyerFB).
Building a football team is like building a house. The general manager draws up the blueprints. The head coach is the general contractor. The offensive line forms the foundation. And your quarterback is the heavy-duty pickup truck. He connects the contractor (coach) to the rest of the materials (players). Gets everything where it needs to be and puts the plan into motion.
One common mistake in quarterback evaluation is choosing the two-seater sports coupe over the utilitarian pickup truck when you’re trying to build a house. Evaluators are drawn to the sleek exterior and zero-to-60.
Instead, they should seek towing capacity, adaptability, and practicality. In the case of the quarterback, these traits are scheme awareness, anticipatory post-snap processing, pocket presence, and throwing accuracy. These qualities will get things where they need to go, on schedule.
Last week in this space, I detailed why the 6’5”, strong-armed, square-jawed Daniel Jones is more Mazda Miata than Ford SuperDuty. Well, Dwayne Haskins is your 1985 Toyota Hilux – it doesn’t look pretty, and you’re not getting the best pickup on the block, but it will get the job done.
Haskins’ most exciting trait at this stage is what set him apart as a collegian, his ability to process the defense after the snap, work through progressions on-time, perceive leverage, and play with anticipation. These are foundational traits of effective pocket-play. Haskins executes concepts consistently, even in the tight red zone, where reads must happen faster and throwing windows are tighter.
Haskins was increasingly effective with each passing week, offering insight into his ability to improve. Given an NFL collective bargaining agreement that severely limits practice repetitions—and reduced Haskins to a scout-team quarterback (a role that entails running other teams’ plays drawn on a card) for most of training camp and the early season—this is a point that too many have glossed over in their analysis of Haskins.
While he is knocked for his accuracy, Haskins frequently throws to his receivers’ leverage in contested situations, known as “throwing guys open.” He does so in the clip above, placing the ball on Sims’ back shoulder.
Here, the pass is on McLaurin’s back hip coming out of a slant, pulling him out of the safety’s range, enabling massive run-after-the-catch.
DeShaun Watson received similar accuracy critiques coming out of Clemson, and his ability to throw to leverage continues to show up on Sundays.
On the downside, Haskins does not have the physical skill-set (e.g. Pat Mahomes) or refined pocket maneuvering (e.g. Tom Brady) to effectively buy time given poor protection. Haskins should laser-focus on studying Brady’s movement, controlled footwork, and ability to stay on-platform within the pocket.
Is Haskins better than you think?
Answer: TRUE. The popular opinion of Haskins is quite low after his molasses-start in 2019, so he most likely is much better than you think he is. The fact that he operated effectively as a rookie pocket passer, despite limited practice reps and an all-rookie receiving corps, is quite promising. While he’ll never have the flash to go with the substance like Mahomes, Haskins can be that consistently useful Toyota Hilux for the house going up in D.C.
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