Haskins: ‘Success for me is finding ways to lead'
Warpath|October 2020
Dwayne Haskins wants to be king of the castle.
Rick Snider

From chess player to half-time motivational speaker, Haskins is distancing himself from last year’s unmotivated rookie to present team leader. He’s now making the first moves and suddenly opponents are realizing checkmate.

What a difference an offseason makes.

“It’s kind of just being a man and just being raised in my family and my father,” Haskins said. “When your family, your friends, your teammates and your coaches need you the most, [Ohio State] coach [Urban] Meyer always preached to give it your very best in any situation whether it’s paying bills or playing football.

“When [Coach Ron] Rivera called me [over the offseason] and challenged me and said some things that I needed to hear, that’s just something I needed the extra motivation for in this offseason to push myself to be that for him and for myself and for my teammates. Coach Meyer challenged me numerous times in school. I’ve risen to the occasion every time. It’s something that I take pride in being accountable and knowing that when someone asks me to do something I’m going to do it the best I can and I’ll give it my all.”

Haskins was rated the NFL’s worst starting quarterback by some national pundits entering the season. He only played last year when the team blew up after an 0-5 start and most of his games were uninspiring.

But, Haskins felt the challenge over the offseason, lost weight, gained confidence, and returned to win the starting job that might not have been his if practicing poorly. Now last year’s 15th overall selection is suddenly looking like the future after a solid early start. The stats may not have been great, but Haskins’ confidence leads to high expectations.

“It validated [him,]” Rivera said. “But again, this is a league of ‘What have you done for me lately,’ so next week he’ll be judged again. Based on what he did [against Philadelphia] and the way he responded after the first quarter, you know, taking what they gave, making plays when he had to really show his resilience and just the fact that he is starting to feel more and more comfortable as our starting quarterback, I was very proud of him.”

Haskins doesn’t see himself as a sudden success, but a steady improver.

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