- The Washington Times
Wednesday, March 25, 2020

The last few days have been good news for Dwayne Haskins.

On Monday, the Redskins traded for former Panthers backup Kyle Allen, a quarterback that doesn’t automatically supplant the 22-year-old as the starter. Then on Tuesday, Redskins coach Ron Rivera gave his strongest support of Haskins yet.

In an interview with a Charlotte radio station, Rivera said Washington is not interested in former Panthers quarterback Cam Newton because the Redskins “made a commitment to a young guy” in Haskins.

Rivera and Newton spent eight-plus seasons together, but the new Redskins coach opted not to acquire the veteran when the Panthers made Newton available to teams on the trade market before cutting him on Tuesday.

The Redskins instead traded for Allen, Newton’s backup who started 12 games in 2019, to push Haskins.

“At the end of the day, we have a young football team with a young quarterback in position,” Rivera said on WFNZ’s The Clubhouse with Kyle Bailey. “We have the chance to set and establish a thing so that’s the way we’re looking at it. Going forward, you never know what’s going to happen, but where we are right now, and we made a commitment to a young guy … to find out who we have as a football team.”

That remark bodes well for Haskins, whom Rivera has challenged throughout the offseason to become a leader. Last month, Rivera said at the NFL scouting combine he had wanted to create a “very competitive” competition for the 2019 first-rounder.

Asked if Allen will compete for the starting job, Rivera said the Redskins believe Haskins is their starter, but added there will be a competition.

“We’re going into camp believing (Haskins is the starting quarterback), but they’re going to be competing,” Rivera said. “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 live arm, that understands the game, understands how we do things, so I’m excited about what the potential could be.”

Rivera said the Redskins were interested in Allen because of his familiarity with offensive coordinator Scott Turner’s scheme.

In 13 games last season, Allen threw for 3,322 yards with 17 touchdowns and 16 interceptions and a 62% completion percentage. The 24-year-old started 12 of those games, going 5-7 after filling in for an injured Newton.

“The biggest thing more than anything else is that Kyle fits what we do,” Rivera said. “He understands our system. … Kyle is a young quarterback. He’s had some success. He’s good in the locker room.”

Rivera’s comments seem to fall in line with what executive Doug Williams said in February: Haskins has to give the Redskins a reason for him to lose the starting job. At a charity event, Williams said Haskins must prove his work ethic and knowledge of the playbook to the new coaching staff.

Last year, Haskins‘ readiness was called into question on occasion. Haskins, though, showed improvement as the year went on — ending the season on a high note.

The Ohio State product threw for 867 yards with five touchdowns to just two interceptions over his last five starts.

“Let’s be fair, the new coaching staff knows at this point Dwayne Haskins is the starting quarterback,” Williams said. “The only thing that can happen here is Dwayne has to give it back to them.”

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