Washington benches QB Dwayne Haskins and names Kyle Allen as the Week 5 starter
The Washington Football Team has seen enough struggles from second-year quarterback Dwayne Haskins during the first four games of the 2020 season and now they have decided to go in a different direction under center for the time being.
After opening the season with an impressive come from behind victory over their NFC East division rival Philadelphia Eagles in a game they weren’t favored in, Washington has lost three straight games and the 15th overall pick of the 2019 draft out of Ohio State has played a large part in each defeat.
According to NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport, Washington will be giving the keys to the offense over to former undrafted free agent Kyle Allen for their Week Five matchup with the 3-1 Los Angeles Rams per an informed source.
Not only will Haskins not serve as the backup on Sunday, but he also won’t even be active for the game. Veteran Alex Smith, who hasn’t taken a snap or even suited up in a regular or even preseason games since suffering the gruesome leg injury that almost cost him his life, will be active for the first time this season and serve as the backup to Allen.
The fact that the former first-rounder won’t even be in uniform for their upcoming game and they’d rather risk a putting a player who hasn’t played since 2018 in a position to come in to play quarterback in the event that Allen gets injured or implodes speaks volumes towards their displeasure and disgust with his play.
After a three-interception performance against Cleveland Brown in Week Three, first-year head coach Ron Rivera said that he was still committed to Haskins but following a lopsided loss to the Baltimore Ravens this past Sunday, he has apparently reached the “cut off point” that he said would come if his struggles persisted.
Even though he was not officially credited with a turnover and recorded the first 300-yard passing game and rushing touchdown of his career in Week Four, the second-year signal-caller made late and poor decisions that led to their lone turnover of the game and a turnover on downs in the second half when they were trying to mount a comeback.
In 11 career starts, Haskins had mixed results and while he has shown glimpses of the talent that made him such an alluring prospect and the flashed the potential to develop, he’s had far more instances of inconsistent and inefficient play.
The most glaring issues with his play have stemmed from his poor mechanics, inability to consistently read defenses and go through his progressions quickly, he tends to telegraph his passes by staring down his targets and it takes him entirely too long to hit his check down option.
Through the first four weeks of the season, Haskins passed for 939 yards and just four touchdowns to three interceptions. He was on pace to get sacked 52 times over a full 16 game slate after absorbing 13 to begin the year.
Allen was with Rivera in Carolina with the Panthers and was acquired via trade this offseason in exchange for a fifth-round pick. The third-year pro has had the confidence of the only head coach he’s had at the pro level as a candidate to start in the nation’s capital ever since he was brought to town and now he’ll get his shot to reward it.
He started 13 games for the Panthers from 2018-2019 and went 6-7 in those games. As a starter, he completed 61.9 percent of his passes, averaged 250.4 passing yards per game, and threw 19 touchdowns to 15 interceptions.
Last season in Carolina he had a stretch season when he led them to four straight victories after a 0-2 with Cam Newton under center, posted a 7-0 touchdown to interception ratio, and boasted a passer rating of 106.6. However, he would finish the season 1-7 as the starter, threw 10 touchdowns to 15 interceptions, posted a passer rating of 70.9, and Rivera was fired before the year was out.
In a lackluster NFC East division through the first four games of the season, Washington is still only half a game out of first place in the standings despite being 1-3 on the year and riding a three-game skid.
Washington is not without talent on both sides of the ball and has had several players that have been playing winning football according to Rivera. They have received competent to high-level play from every position on the roster except quarterback.
On offense, rookie running back Antonio Gibson has looked dangerously dynamic, and second-year receiver Terry McLaurin has been terrorizing opposing defensive backs and ranks fifth in receiving yards. On the other side of the ball, their front seven is loaded with first-round talent along the defensive line and their secondary has made momentum-swinging plays at times.
This may not be the last we’ve seen of Haskins this season and perhaps this severe demotion is the team’s attempt at an aggressive reality check for the young quarterback in the hopes of lighting yet another fire under him.
However, since he was drafted under the previous regime, Rivera has more tithes to Allen than does to Haskins which means that if Allen performs at a competent to an above-average level, this might have been the last we’ve seen from the former first-round pick in Washington.