Sam Darnold knows from experience what life as an NFL rookie quarterback is like.
So after Dwayne Haskins struggled for the Redskins in Sunday's 34-17 loss to the Jets, Darnold sought out Washington's first-year signal caller at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland, and shared some words of advice.
"I just told him after the game to keep his head up," Darnold said. "No matter what people say, the doubters, people who are going to say anything bad about him, I just said, 'Walk it out, man. Just continue to go to work. And if you go to work every single day, it'll be all right.'"
Haskins took the interaction with Darnold in stride.
"He just said, 'Good game and good luck,'" Darnold said.
Darnold completed 19 of 30 passes (63.3 percent) for 293 yards and a career-high four touchdowns to one interception as the Jets (3-7) take their first winning streak of the 2019 season into Week 12 with next Sunday's 1 p.m. home game against the Oakland Raiders (6-3).
Haskins, on the other hand, went 19 of 35 (54.3 percent) for 214 yards and two touchdowns to one interception in his second career start with the reeling Redskins (1-9).
He was solid despite Nov. 3's 24-9 loss at the Buffalo Bills, going 15 for 22 (68.2 percent) with 144 yards, but suffered six sacks as a result of the Redskins' poor offensive line and the Jets' aggressive front seven.
"They had a good plan going in," said Jets head coach Adam Gase. "I know they felt good, as far as trying to get to (Haskins). Just tried to put as much pressure on him as possible, keep tight coverage and see if he could make the tough throws."
Like Haskins has experienced through four games (two starts), Darnold suffered major growing pains -- both as a rookie on the 2018 season and even during his current sophomore campaign -- before he recently registered consecutive consistent performances.
Selected by the Jets with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft, Darnold had highs and lows in Year 1 when he completed 57.7 percent of his passes for 2,865 yards and 17 touchdowns to 15 interceptions over 13 games (all starts).
Before back-to-back wins over the New York Giants (34-27, Nov. 10) and now the Redskins, Darnold went 110 of 174 passes (63.2 percent) for 1,077 yards and six touchdowns to nine interceptions, but has stayed the course -- just as Haskins is doing.
"That feeling came from working really, really hard during the week and preparing as much as I could and doing all I can to be ready to play," said Haskins, whom the Redskins selected with the No. 15 overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft. "And that's every week, that's a new challenge and new team, new defense and just trying to find out ways to attack them the best way and win a game. And that's something that I'll continue to work on the rest of my career and keep applying more and more different techniques and things I know that can help me out."
Haskins was the third quarterback off the board in April's first round, which saw the Arizona Cardinals grab Oklahoma's Kyler Murray and the Giants -- reportedly a top suitor for the Ohio State product and New Jersey native -- instead take Duke's Daniel Jones.
In nine games (eight starts) for the struggling Giants (2-8), Jones completed 187 of 297 passes (63.0 percent) for 1,984 yards and 15 touchdowns to eight interceptions, plus 32 rushes for 208 yards (6.5 average) and two tocuhdowns but 13 fumbles.
Meanwhile, Haskins is 46 of 79 (58.2 percent) for 498 yards and two touchdowns to five interceptions with the Oct. 7 firing of sixth-year head coach Jay Gruden and an offensive line that has allowed 32 sacks -- 14 against the rookie quarterback -- among the franchise's shakiness.
"Dwayne's learning -- this will be a great learning experience for him and he'll get better from it," said Redskins interim head coach Bill Callahan. "We all had those experiences in life where we fail and don't do as well and then you come out of it learning a little bit about yourself, about what you can do better, take it to the practice field and ultimately change your game as you move on as a professional."
Just as the Jets were and remain with Darnold, the Redskins have patience in Haskins, who has flashed through the struggles.
"He did (have a little more rhythm in the second half)," Callahan said of Haskins. "I thought it took him a little time to get comfortable. I thought the passing game -- we opened it up a little more today. We tried to make it player-friendly for him. We try to simplify the progressions. The progressional reads he had in the game, I thought, were well-conceived. I didn't think that it was anything that was elaborate or anything that was really too much or would congest his mind with a lot of thinking. I really felt that the reads were simple, but you've still got to execute it.
"At times when you have a rush, have issues, have problematic pressures that you have to deal with all in one and the timing, the receivers. And a lot can be said, 'Hey, it's always the quarterback.' Well, sometimes it's the protection. Sometimes it's the receivers not getting there quick enough, fast enough, soon enough to be on time to deliver the ball to. So in those instances, there's a holding of the ball where you don't want it and sometimes there's a little bit quickness of a decision. So all those things are, I think, great learning experiences for him. Unfortunately, it comes at a bad loss. I look at this as a game that was winnable for us. And to come out of it the way that we did -- really, really disappointing."