Dwayne Haskins’ first performance with Steelers was less than ideal
By Tommy Jaggi
Dwayne Haskins flashed at Steelers training camp, but here’s why the backup quarterback disappointed in his first game action with Pittsburgh.
If nothing else is true about Pittsburgh’s performance in the Hall of Fame Game, one thing was proven to me: that some Steelers fans will try to put a positive spin on anything. When it comes to quarterback Dwayne Haskins and his performance against the Cowboys, there are those who vocally believe that he had a good game in his first preseason action of the year.
People see what they want to see sometimes. The reality of the situation is that this was not the case at all. Not only was Haskins not the best quarterback in black and yellow, but he was also clearly the worst on the team from a statistical standpoint.
Despite being given the most opportunity to pass the football, Haskins completed just 8 of 13 balls for 54 yards – earning him a dismal 4.2 yards per attempt (the lowest of all 6 quarterbacks to play in this game for either team). In addition, his 70.7 passer rating somehow managed to be lower than it has been in the first two years of his disappointing NFL career.
During training camp, I’ll be the first to admit that Haskins looked better than Mason Rudolph, but that’s not a high bar to cross. Though he was impressive at times at camp (specifically during the two-minute offense), this didn’t guarantee that he would carry this over to game action… and it didn’t.
Though fans really wanted to believe that Haskins outperformed Mason Rudolph in this game, it’s hard to have any positive takes on his game as he badly missed a few throws behind his intended receiver. So why the misconception about his performance in the Hall of Fame Game?
Steelers fans want to believe Haskins is the answer
I’m not grouping all Steelers fans together by saying this, but there is a large group of fans who want to believe that Dwayne Haskins is the answer at quarterback for this team after Ben Roethlisberger. In fact, they believe it so much that they can’t objectively evaluate him after a poor performance – instead naively believing that he played quite well.
There could be a few reasons for this line of thinking. For starters, Mason Rudolph has been a disappointment since joining the team as a third-round pick in 2018. Though he has flashed on occasion, most performances have been well below-average in relation to starting NFL quarterbacks, and he hasn’t shown any signs of why he should be the quarterback of the future.
Because of Rudolph’s past failures and continued struggles early in training camp this year, some fans want to believe that Haskins will be the answer for the Steelers in the future.
However, the biggest misconception about the player that Dwayne Haskins is has to do with his draft position. If he had been a fourth-round pick would fans be as high on him as they are right now? Past draft status means nothing at this point, and the fact that Washington was willing to ditch him after two seasons is very telling.
Statistically, he has performed like you would expect from a late-round pick if he was thrust into action on the NFL stage. His career numbers are pathetic, and the only reason he continues to get as many opportunities as he does is because of his former first-round draft status.
This isn’t to say that Haskins can’t be a very good backup quarterback. I believe this is certainly in the realm of possibility. However, the fact that many fans are kidding themselves into believing that Haskins had a good opening performance with the Steelers is bizarre.