ASHBURN, Va. (WWBT) - Fans of Washington’s football team might consider themselves familiar with quarterback controversies. Here in 2020, they’re being treated to another one.
Dwayne Haskins lost his starting job on Wednesday after just four games. Kyle Allen will be the starter, with Alex Smith serving as the back-up. Haskins' demotion finds him third on the depth chart, meaning he’ll be inactive this Sunday when Washington hosts the Rams.
Rivera said that a lack of development by Haskins, combined with where Washington sits in the NFC East race, contributed to the decision.
“We’ve got four games that are critical. They are four games that are conference games. Three of those four are divisional games. That’s what this is. This is a short-term to find out,” Rivera said, adding that he thought Haskins has an NFL arm but has little NFL experience.
Rivera asserted that the bizarre set-up in 2020 had an impact on Haskins' development. The absence of organized off-season activities and the lack of a preseason made a true quarterback competition difficult and did not give the second year quarterback as much high-level work as he needed.
“He did not have the benefit of OTAs and minicamp. He didn’t have the benefit of four preseason games to work through things. Because of that, he’s behind in his development in this system. Again, it’s an unfortunate situation,” the head coach said. “It’s just one of those things that he needs more time.”
Washington is 1-3, one-half game behind the Eagles who hold a 1-2-1 record. After Sunday’s match-up with the Rams, the burgundy and gold travel to face the Giants (0-4), then return home to host the Cowboys (1-3) and New York for the second time.
Haskins has played in 13 games, starting 11, under three different head coaches in less than two years of NFL time. The 15th overall pick in the 2019 draft, he’s completed 61 percent of his passes this season with four touchdowns and three interceptions. His QBR of 30.6 is the worst among NFL starters this year. Rivera says the door isn’t closed on Haskins and that he’ll have his opportunity to compete.
“How he comes out on the other end, that’s up to him. He can come back stronger for this, or not.”
Allen started 12 games for Carolina last year, throwing 17 touchdown passes and 16 picks while amassing more than 3,300 passing yards. He has experience with Rivera and offensive coordinator Scott Turner when all were with the Panthers. Allen won his first four games as the starting quarterback last year before limping to a 1-7 finish.
“For me, I just think it’s an everyday thing to show up when your number is called," Allen noted. "I think that’s the name of the game in the NFL, especially for a guy like me who came into this league undrafted, fourth string to start, got limited reps early in camp. When you get your opportunities, you just have to pounce on them and take advantage. That’s kind of been the story of my career so far.”
“I think Kyle has been in for three seasons. He’s had some success. He hasn’t had great success, but he’s had some. That’s what I’m looking for. I’m looking for some success. He’s a guy who can manage, a guy who can control," added Rivera."
One thing seemed clear during the head coach’s remarks on Wednesday- this change could be permanent, but it might not be either. Rivera says he expects all three of his quarterbacks to compete and, with the team in the thick of a division race, results could be the key.
“We’ll see what [Allen] does this week and we’ll go from there. But like I said, we have a very capable guy in the wings in Alex ready to go.”
Copyright 2020 WWBT. All rights reserved.