The Redskins' virtual offseason program has now come and gone, and we have discovered some valuable information on how the coaches and players are handling a summer unlike any other in league history. Here are five things we have learned over the past two months:
1. Dwayne Haskins Jr. has been losing weight and making strides in his development.
If you take some time to look at Dwayne Haskins Jr.'s Twitter feed since the virtual offseason began, you'll see he has clearly he has been putting in the work to be the Redskins' starting quarterback. It's likely that you'll also notice he looks much leaner than he did in his rookie season. That's because he has dropped 13 pounds and 7% body fat since his summer training began.
"I want to be the best player I can be for my team, and...it just fell off," Haskins told reporters June 22. "It wasn't intended to lose that much weight, but it just happens. I think I'll be more of a dynamic football player this year, and I'm looking forward to making some plays."
Haskins has set a goal to improve himself this offseason, not just in football but in life. He has been able to bring his focus inward, and because of that, he has started to have fun again, according to Terry McLaurin.
"Dwayne's looked great," he said. "I feel like a lot was thrown at him his first year, and I'm not making any excuses for him at all, but I feel like just his focus is great right now. Physically, mentally, his personal life, he's cleaning some things up as well."
All the while, Haskins has been charged with learning a completely different system under offensive coordinator Scott Turner. Turner, who is entering his first full season as a play-caller, admits he has had to throw a lot of information at Haskins with quizzes and tests to learn the language, but from what he has seen, the young quarterback is taking it all in stride.
"When we're talking to him, he is speaking the language. It's pretty easy to tell if they get it or not. Dwayne's doing a great job. You can tell he's putting the work in away from the meeting time, and he's working at it and doing as much as he can."
That effort hasn't gone unnoticed by head coach Ron Rivera, either, and he appreciates that Haskins has taken their 1-on-1 conversations to heart.
"We actually had a phone call...and we talked a little bit about how things are going for him. I am pretty excited to see him in person when we have an opportunity to get better as a football team."
2. Chase Young was a standout classmate.
People who knew Chase Young before he was drafted No. 2 overall by the Redskins already knew how seriously he takes film study. Ohio State defensive line coach Larry Johnson said he would get texts from Young throughout the day just to get an extra hour of film.
Defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio hasn't said if he gets any texts from Young, but he and the other members of the defense are starting to understand Young's study habits.
"He's been paying attention; he's been learning the system," Del Rio said. "I think the sky's the limit for him in terms of what he'll be able to bring to us. We obviously have big designs, we think he's a really good player and we're looking forward to getting him involved."
Young said moments after he was drafted that he wanted to be a sponge and learn as much as possible, and by all accounts, he has done that. Ryan Kerrigan said Young has been "really impressive" during meetings and picked up the defense quickly.
"That's what I'm always usually impressed with a lot of guys when they come in the league is how quickly they can pick things up mentally."
The team already knew how impactful Young could be; Del Rio said Young has the most complete set of tools he has ever seen in a player coming out of college. And now that he is officially joining four other first-round picks, his teammates can't wait to see what he can do on the field.
"I'm super excited," said defensive tackle Jonathan Allen. "Whenever you get a guy with that caliber it's definitely immediately going to make an impact for your team."
3. Terry McLaurin and the wide receivers are putting in work.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Haskins had plans set with McLaurin, Steven Sims Jr. and Kelvin Harmon to rent an AirBnB in South Florida and spend the summer working out together. Since those original arrangements fell through due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the four of them have been working together in Virginia for the past month. All that work is starting to pay off.
"I'll tell you first, Terry and Kelvin and Steve look great," Haskins said. "It's the best I've seen Terry, and I've known Terry since I was a freshman in college. So, everybody's putting in that work and it's showing."
Most know by now that McLaurin had one of the best rookie seasons for a receiver in franchise history (58 receptions, 919 yards and seven touchdowns), but McLaurin is ready to move forward with his career. He has been working since February on his route running, winning 1-on-1 matchups and how he attacks the ball.
"I felt like I didn't have any time to waste," he said about starting to train the Wednesday after the Super Bowl. "Really what was a contributing factor as well was just thinking of playing football for a full year and then getting right into training for my rookie year. I knew my body could handle it, but at the same time I just wanted to get some time off and then jump right into it."
While Haskins believes all three of his receivers have improved this offseason, McLaurin thinks Sims might have made the biggest jump. Sims has always been fast, McLaurin said, but his footwork has become so much cleaner because of the work he has put in.
"The way he's running his routes, his stems looks the same," McLaurin said. "I'm really excited to see him flourish in an offense that can showcase his versatility inside or out."
Harmon and Haskins, meanwhile, have been continually building their chemistry since February, and that extra time is obvious in their workouts. Haskins said Harmon is running like he never has before, while McLaurin added that he has "great burst in the way he's running his routes."
"When we're connecting on deep balls, usually everybody kind of expects me, being the fast guy, I'm going to hit on them all and things like that," McLaurin said. "But Kelvin's timing has been great."
4. Ryan Kerrigan wants to end his career with the Redskins.
There were questions about Kerrigan's future with the team as soon as Rivera was first hired in January. He was 1.5 sacks away from being franchise's sack leader, but his production had noticeably slipped in 2020.
Then Rivera appeared on the NBC Sports Washington's "Redskins Talk" podcast at the NFL Scouting Combine in late February and said that Kerrigan was "most certainly" a part of the team's immediate plans. Months later, Kerrigan told reporters he wants to be with the Redskins "for the long haul."
"I obviously hope to be here for the duration of my football career, however long that is," Kerrigan told reporters June 11. "I want to be here. They know where I stand, and I want to be here."
Kerrigan has yet to play in a 4-3 defense as a professional, so his role was already going to change in 2020. But now that Young is on the team, setting a formidable rotation among all the talented players on the defensive line will take some sorting out. That's the part that is not so comfortable, Del Rio said; they simply can't all be on the field at the same time.
"Those are things, to me, that always get settled best with competition, and once guys earn what they've earned, I think everybody in the room pretty much understands that," he said.
Regardless of what his role might be in September, Kerrigan does not seem worried. He's fine with letting things play out and then working with the results. However, he still anticipates he will be "a big part" of the plans.
"Just going through the Zoom meetings these past couple of months and getting to learn what they expect from us on the edge, it's exciting."
5. Adrian Peterson thinks the Redskins "have the tools to run the table."
Adrian Peterson is entering his third season with the Redskins, meaning he was a part of the 6-2 run to start the 2018 season and saw the team fall short in 2019. And now he feels like "this would be the best talent pool we've had since I've been here."
"I really feel like we have what it takes to be that team that takes it all the way. It's all about just getting the pieces together, getting into our rhythm and molding as the season starts and goes."
Peterson likes the talent the Redskins have acquired through the draft and free agency on both sides of the ball. He feels like something "clicked" for Haskins in the last part of the season and believes it will be "night and day from what we've been seeing." Peterson also likes Young and all the young receivers who will surely be contributing this season.
But as Kerrigan told the local media, all of that sounds good on paper; now they have to prove it, and Peterson really feels that they can do that this year.
"It's going to be all about getting all the pieces together, making sure we're executing what they're asking us to execute, having that confidence and getting it done."