Penn: I was "really surprised" Haskins lost the starting job

Donald Penn hopes former teammate Dwayne Haskins gets another chance in Washington, along with better protection and more offensive weapons

Tiki and Tierney
October 21, 2020 - 6:26 pm
Dwayne Haskins

USA Today Images


Free agent offensive lineman Donald Penn has blocked for a lot of quarterbacks. That’s what happens when you play in the NFL for 14 seasons. A three-time Pro Bowler, Penn played for the Vikings (2006), Buccaneers (2006-13), Raiders (2014-18) and, last year, Washington (2019).

And even he isn’t quite sure what is going on with former teammate Dwayne Haskins, who was benched after just four games this season.

“I feel like he has all the tangibles,” Penn said of the former first-round pick on Tiki & Tierney. “He just has to get in there and learn the scheme more, learn the defenses more. I kind of felt like he was thrown into the fire a little too early last year for us. But I really feel like he put in the work and tried to make the most of what we had last year. It was a little bit of a struggle. He looked bright at the beginning of the year, and then it kind of went down.”

Haskins entered the 2020 season as Washington’s starting quarterback. A month later, he was benched – and demoted to third sting.

Penn, who helped Haskins get acclimated to the NFL, couldn’t believe it.

“He really impressed me [last year],” Penn said. “I had a couple of talks with him on my own because I dealt with Derek Carr, I dealt with Jeff Garcia – I dealt with a couple of pros. Derek Carr is the first one in and the [last] one to leave. I was telling [Haskins] that’s what he needs to do if he wants to be that type of guy. . . . I saw him really get going, and it started getting better. When he got into the huddle and [became] the starter, he really manned the huddle and took charge. . . . I’m really surprised he [lost the job] so quick.”

Penn, who would like to play in the NFL again, believes Haskins needs better protection and more weapons to succeed.

“I think they need to get him better protection and make the young guy feel comfortable back there,” Penn said. “They need to get some more weapons, too. They really don’t have many weapons besides my boy, Terry [McLaurin]. I think that would help a lot. But I really hope that it's not the end and that he does get another chance because he’s a great kid. He’s a really great kid on and off the field. I really hope they figure a way to get him back on and find . . . some other weapons . . . he can throw to.”