“By no means have I given up on him,” Rivera said.
Washington benched Haskins in favor of Kyle Allen for Sunday’s game vs. the Los Angeles Rams. Haskins will be the No. 3 quarterback, behind Alex Smith. The move represents a major pivot as Rivera previously said he’d stick with Haskins through the growth process.
But he also made it clear last week that he wanted to see more progress. The lack of progress in many areas of Haskins’ game, coupled with playing in a division that might be won with a sub-.500 record, prompted Rivera to turn to Allen.
Washington drafted Haskins with the 15th overall pick in 2019 with the idea it would sit him all season, according to multiple sources. But because of injuries and a bad record, Haskins ended up starting seven games. Haskins took every first-team rep during training camp and officially was named the starter in late August.
Through four games, Haskins had the NFL’s lowest total QBR (30.9), which measures a quarterback’s impact on the game. Despite throwing for 314 yards in Week 4, Haskins had the NFL’s second-lowest total QBR at 31.5. He ranked last in the league in completion percentage on throws that traveled 5 air yards or more (43.6).
Part of what Washington now wants to see: How Haskins responds to what some in the organization say is the first real adversity he has faced as a quarterback. For now, the way he can respond is by studying more and taking mental reps in practice.
“A big part of it is watching and studying,” Rivera said. “Like today, he was back there behind the quarterback watching the reps, looking downfield. Just being involved, staying connected, which is important. … I’ve told you guys the only reason I’m doing what I’m doing is because of the circumstances and the situation we’re in right now.”
Allen spent two years in Carolina with Rivera and current Washington offensive coordinator Scott Turner. Rivera had wanted to hold a quarterback competition this summer, but the lack of a preseason scuttled those plans. He also said the lack of a normal offseason, plus no preseason games, hindered Haskins’ growth — and made Allen’s knowledge of Turner’s offense more valuable.
“There are things Dwayne was still learning to do that Kyle knows in terms of communicating with the offensive line,” Rivera said. “It’s something as we go through this and progress, Dwayne will learn and see how these things are done.”