All eyes will be on Allen as he pushes second-year quarterback Dwayne Haskins in competition for the Redskins’ signal-caller position. Haskins showed promise toward the end of last season, but the new coaching staff needs to see continued development.
Allen provides depth at the most critical position, but can he push Haskins for the starting role?
Kyle Allen takes over for an injured Cam Newton
Panthers officially rule out QB Cam Newton (foot), name Kyle Allen starting QB for Sunday's game at Arizona. Allen is the 40th different starting QB used by teams this season, the most through 3 weeks of a season in the Super Bowl Era. pic.twitter.com/7cRaENNx7h
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 20, 2019
The Panthers signed Allen in 2018 as an undrafted free agent from the University of Houston. The undrafted quarterback started 12 games for the Panthers last season after Cam Newton went down in Week 2 with a season-ending foot injury.
Allen started hot, winning five of his first six starts, and the Panthers were thinking of the playoffs. He was impressive in his victories, throwing nine touchdowns against one interception. However, the Panthers proceeded to go 1-7 in Allen’s next eight games as they collapsed out of playoff contention.
Allen struggled mightily in the second half of the season, throwing all 16 of his interceptions over the final nine games to just ten touchdowns. Part of his late-season woes was due to the offensive line experiencing injuries at several positions. He was sacked 46 times, the third-most by any Panthers quarterback in a single season.
The former Cougar finished the 2019 season with an overall 5-7 record as a starter, completing 62 percent of passes for 3,322 yards, 17 touchdown passes, 16 interceptions, and seven lost fumbles. He also rushed 32 times for 106 yards and two touchdowns. His struggles at the end of the season led to the Panthers’ decision to get a look at third-round pick Will Grier, who started the final two games of the season.
Allen traded to the Redskins
The #Redskins continue to add former #Panthers with a trade for a quarterback. #NFL #NFLFreeAgency #NFLTwitter #NFLOffseason #OTHFootball
Redskins Trade 5th Rounder For Kyle Allen https://t.co/sEWlB8U2eE pic.twitter.com/wvUSwdGoI8
— Overtime Heroics Football (@OTH_Football) March 23, 2020
Allen originally signed a one-year contract with the Panthers earlier this month. However, he does not seem to fit the plans of new coach Matt Rhule. Subsequently, the Panthers traded Allen to the Redskins in exchange for a fifth-round pick.
Allen is very familiar with the new Redskins coaching duo of head coach Ron Rivera and offensive coordinator Scott Turner, who coached Allen the past two seasons with the Panthers. This familiarity should allow him to integrate logically into the team and help install the new offense to provide stability at the quarterback position.
This move was part of a domino effect that began with the hiring of Rhule. It ended with Allen becoming expendable when the Panthers agreed to sign former New Orleans Saints quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to be their likely starter and signed impressive XFL quarterback P.J. Walker to compete with Grier for the backup role. Newton, however, was released earlier this week.
Is the starting QB job in Washington up for grabs?
-Created out of structure more than I expected, but it was a small sample size and not really a stable measure of play
-Threw the ball well in the 5-9 yard range
-Took care of the ball. 3rd-lowest turnover-worthy play% and some bad luck on some of his 7 INTs pic.twitter.com/vj2BG6jvT2
— Steve Palazzolo (@PFF_Steve) January 15, 2020
With the Redskins, Allen is currently slated to serve as a backup to sophomore starter Haskins after Colt McCoy signed with the New York Giants and Case Keenum signed to back up Baker Mayfield in Cleveland. And while Alex Smith is progressing in his recovery from a devastating leg injury suffered in 2018, it seems unlikely that Smith plays this season or ever again.
Haskins played nine games as a rookie in 2019, starting seven. The former Buckeye threw for 661 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions in his first four games as a starter. However, Haskins played under a head coach that wasn’t interested in developing the young quarterback. Former coach Jay Gruden was just trying to stay employed. This imbalance caused drama in the locker room and led to the eventual firing of Gruden.
Haskins then completed the season on a high note, throwing for 564 yards with five touchdowns and only one interception in the final three games. He finally showed why the Redskins spent a first-round pick on him in the 2019 NFL Draft.
Will the late-season success be enough to convince Rivera and Turner that he should be the number one quarterback next season?
Who will be the starting QB in the 2020 season?
The Redskins traded for Kyle Allen, and Ron Rivera gave Dwayne Haskins a vote of confidence as the starter in a recent radio interview. So that should squash conversation about taking a QB with the No. 2 pick. MORE: https://t.co/BybiSEcuZw pic.twitter.com/Cd8hWKaFdy
— NBC Sports Redskins (@NBCSRedskins) March 25, 2020
The Redskins’ quarterback room may be occupied by Haskins and Allen, but are the Redskins satisfied with these two quarterbacks? The Redskins own the number two overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, but there is minimal doubt that the team would select another quarterback in this draft. The majority of mock drafts have the Redskins selecting Ohio State all-world edge rusher Chase Young second overall.
Since his hiring, Rivera has continually emphasized that he envisioned a “very competitive competition” across the roster, including quarterback.
“We’re going into camp believing [Haskins is the starting quarterback], but they’re going to be competing. At the end of the day, nobody knows what’s going to happen, so we just have to get ourselves ready. Really like what we have in terms of our young quarterbacks. Kyle is also a young guy, has a long arm, understands the game, understands how we do things, so I’m excited about what the potential could be.”
Entering the 2020 season, one would assume that Rivera is doing whatever it takes to make sure Haskins turns out to be a franchise quarterback. However, is the new coaching staff fully onboard the Haskins train?
Haskins is still inexperienced but finished the season off strong. The acquisition of Allen provided a young and experienced insurance policy.
More importantly, Allen is familiar with Turner’s offensive system, is still developing and has upside. His understanding of the Redskins’ offense will make him no worse than a rock-solid backup. He proved to be safe, maybe too safe. Allen has a good arm with reliable accuracy and is an athletic pocket passer.
Allen should push Haskins to be better, but Haskins should be able to win the starting job. The Redskins need to give Haskins a chance to succeed. They need talent up and down their roster and need to provide Haskins with weapons beside fellow former Buckeye wide receiver Terry McLaurin.
Allen is the ideal backup who can step right in and do a respectable job if Haskins doesn’t develop as the Redskins had hoped. If Allen continues to evolve, that insurance plan may pay out huge dividends and further justify the Redskins trading for Allen.