Washington Football Team head coach Ron Rivera has decided to name quarterback Kyle Allen the Week Five starter against the Los Angeles Rams. This effectively ends the starting quarterback regime of second year quarterback Dwayne Haskins, who has been demoted to third string behind veteran quarterback Alex Smith.
Rivera’s decision has sent waves of frustration and disappointment through Washington’s fan base. Haskins was the team’s first round pick in 2019, and was looked upon as the future of the franchise. Unfortunately, Washington’s record is 1-3, with Haskins playing poorly over the first quarter of the season.
Haskins has thrown for four touchdowns and three interceptions so far. However, he ranks last in the NFL in total quarterback rating, as well as 27th in completion percentage (61 percent). Reasons for his struggles include a subpar offensive line, few proven offensive playmakers outside of wide receiver Terry McLaurin, and a lack of regular offseason and practice time due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Regardless, the NFL is a results league, and Haskins hasn’t played well enough to justify his starting status in Rivera’s estimation.
Allen and Smith are not long term solutions at quarterback for Washington. Allen played for Rivera when both were members of the Carolina Panthers, so he’s familiar with Rivera’s system. Smith was Washington’s starter in 2018, and actually help stake the team to a 6-2 record that year until he suffered a broken leg that threatened to end his NFL career. While Smith’s recovery and return is nothing short of miraculous, he is only on the roster to provide depth at the quarterback position.
Benching Haskins right now is the right decision because he’s not ready to lead the Washington offense. The best case scenario is that Haskins makes the best of the practice squad reps he’ll receive in 2020, comes back in 2021 to earn the starting position.
Allen is seasoned enough to help Washington win games now, which could be the reason Rivera benched Haskins. Washington is only a half game out of first place in the dreadful NFC East, with their only victory actually coming at the expense of the division leading Philadelphia Eagles. Inserting Allen now is a low risk proposition because if he fails, Rivera can claim that 2020 is a rebuilding year with winning not being a top priority. With the division being up for grabs, why not insert Allen and make a run for the division title?
As for Haskins, maybe he can be Washington’s quarterback of the future one day. At 23 years of age, he has enough time to eventually become Washington’s franchise quarterback. For now, it’s best for him to somehow embrace his third string role in an effort to become a better quarterback.