Chris Thompson: Haskins should continue to learn

Chris Lingebach
October 21, 2019 - 11:58 am

The 1-6 Redskins are nearing the point in their season where they have nothing to play for but the future.

That's an ideal time, some would argue, to see what you have by playing the young talent on your roster over established veterans. 

Cue up Bill Callahan after Sunday's 9-0 home loss to the 49ers: "I think Dwayne's still learning, and I think he'd be the first one to tell you that. And we still have total faith in Case and his abilities to manage this offense and run this offense and execute everything within it. We're moving forward with Case at this juncture."

Redskins running back Chris Thompson spoke extensively about Dwayne Haskins, and his preparedness, during his weekly appearance with the Sports Junkies Monday morning, presented by Steamfitters UA Local 602.

"You're there every day. You see him throwing. You see him practicing. Do you think he's close?" Thompson was asked. "Do you think it would hurt him to play him now? Do you think we'll see him in a few weeks?"

"My honest opinion, I think he should continue doing what he's doing right now and continuing to learn, continuing to get better at practice," Thompson said. "I mean, obviously I'm seeing changes with him. I've seen him grow from April to now. And I think if given the opportunity, he'll be comfortable and he'll be prepared back there, but at the same time...

"My personal opinion, I wouldn't want him to be thrown in a bad situation. I think it would help him to be able to sit back and just continue to learn all year, and then when it's his opportunity next year, because he's the future quarterback here, you give it to him and you let him go."

"I've seen guys that... I mean, we've all seen guys that sat back their rookie year or even a couple years in their career and then end up doing well for themselves," he said. "I feel like there's no need to rush him."

Asked if Haskins were to play now, if he'd be ready, Thompson said, "No, I think he would be ready."

"But at the same time," he continued, "if he was given more time, if he was given way more time to really understand every – you know, the ins and outs of the playbook from back to front, be able to sit down and talk to (Kevin O'Connell) and break down the plays with him – I feel like that's something that he could sit back and learn right now, and when next year comes around, he would be one of those guys that would be able to go up in front of the meeting and be able to install the plays and stuff himself."

"I want to see him be that type of player, and I feel like that's something you can do when you're sitting back," he said. "You know you always gotta get yourself prepared, but at the same time, he's sitting back nd he's being able to just learn. And he's got a lot of former quarterbacks here that's helping him and teaching him. I feel like when or if he gets his name called, he'll be ready.

"I've heard he has his own set of plays or his own like playbook, if something happens to one of the quarterbacks, whatever the case may be, so I know he'll be ready for that."

Thompson was asked if the Redskins could harm Haskins' development by putting him on the field too soon.

"For quarterbacks, they never want to get hit," he said. "If you put a quarterback in a situation where he's getting hit, getting sacked a lot – and I'm not saying our offensive line isn't good enough or anything like that, but, you know, I think it could sometimes. And then, let's say if, at the absolute worst, he goes out and is throwing more interceptions than he is touchdowns, that could be more of a shot at the confidence as well."

Asked if he thinks maintaining Haskins' confidence should be an important factor in the decision to play him or not, Thompson said, "Trust me, confidence is definitely everything. It's everything. Especially for quarterbacks and young quarterbacks at that. Young players, period."

"When you're coming into this league and you know there's social media," he said. "With us in our 20s, we can't seem to stay away from it. On top of playing bad, which already messes you up, messes us up on an individual level, there's everything else on the outside, where it's like you can't avoid it."

"You go out to eat and maybe you're on ESPN, and they're talking about you for the whole hour segment and stuff like that," he said. "It's a lot of different factors that play into it as well, on top of guys, we all want to be the best. And if you're not going out there and playing your best, it's like, sometimes you have those moments of doubt. That's not something I want to see out of him. You don't want to see it out of anybody."

Because the Redskins are playing on short rest Thursday in Minnesota, they'll have 10 days off to prepare for their Week 9 game in Buffalo. With a Week 10 bye, they'll have 14 days to prepare for their next game after that, a Week 11 matchup against the Jets. Thompson was asked if he'd be surprised if Haskins isn't the starter by the Bills game or, after the bye week, the Jets game.

"Um, no? I wouldn't be," Thompson replied. "Just because... Well, this is just my opinion. I think the coaches are really just trying to groom him and get him ready for the future and not really try to push him too much now. I don't know.

"I mean, maybe if we lose Thursday, we lose against Buffalo, then they may be like, 'Alright. We need to just let him play the rest of the season. We're not going to the playoffs.' Because obviously sometimes that happens and a lot of situations you start to play your younger players when you know you're getting yourself ready for next year."

"If it happens, it happens," he said. "But I wouldn't necessarily be surprised if it doesn't. I feel like they're doing their best, the coaches are doing their best at just trying to protect him and not put him in any bad situations. You never want do that to a young guy."

Looking to the immediate future, the Redskins face the Vikings in Minnesota Thursday night. It will be their first game against Minnesota since quarterback Kirk Cousins signed there as a free agent after the 2017 season. Thompson was asked what it was like being teammates with Cousins, with whom he shared his first five NFL seasons.

"It was fun, man. I enjoyed it," Thompson said. "Kirk was my scout team quarterback when I was on practice squad, so I got a lot of work and reps in with Kirk. We still keep in contact now. He'll watch film sometimes and send me clips. We'll text each other from time to time. He's one of my guys."

"I felt like we had a good relationship while we were here, especially on the football field," he added. "Just being around him, he knew what I wanted to do and I knew what he was thinking on on certain plays and stuff. It'll be good to see him."

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