Washington Football Team: Kyle Allen, it’s time to Put up your Dukes

LANDOVER, MARYLAND - OCTOBER 04: Quarterback Kyle Allen #8 of the Washington Football Team warms up against the Baltimore Ravens at FedExField on October 04, 2020 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
LANDOVER, MARYLAND - OCTOBER 04: Quarterback Kyle Allen #8 of the Washington Football Team warms up against the Baltimore Ravens at FedExField on October 04, 2020 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

Throughout his coaching career, Ron Rivera has shown the ability to make tough decisions. Hence, the “Riverboat Ron” moniker. Now in his first season with the Washington Football Team, he’s taking a gamble on journeyman QB Kyle Allen.

With the first quarter of the NFL season complete, the Washington Football Team finds itself in the midst of an interesting season, to say the least.

At 1-3, the Washington Football Team is very much alive in the dismal NFC East race. However, this is a team that could very well be 2-2 or even 3-1. According to numerous reports, costly turnovers and poor study habits by Dwayne Haskins have contributed to the slow start for Washington and ultimately cost Haskins his starting job. Now four games into the 2020 season, Kyle Allen will be called upon in an attempt to elevate the stagnant offense.

Acquired in the offseason via trade for a fifth-round pick from the Carolina Panthers, Allen instantly provided Washington with a competent backup.  Last year, Allen displayed that he was capable of orchestrating offensive coordinator Scott Turner’s playbook.

Allen played well in his first four starts, and then defenses began to take advantage of Allen’s inexperience. Allen started 12 games, posting a 62 percent completion percentage, throwing for 3,322 yards and 17 touchdowns. Then there were the16 interceptions which were the fourth-most in the league. The 14 fumbles Allen coughed up were also fourth-most in the NFL. He also took the sixth-most sacks (46) in the league.

Carolina’s defense and All-Pro Christian McCaffrey were key cogs to Allen’s early-season success in 2019. The defense accounted for 18 turnovers and 30 sacks, while Christian McCaffrey terrorized opposing defenses as a runner and receiver. Washington doesn’t have a player on the roster of McCaffrey’s caliber, but they do have rookie running back Antonio Gibson.

Against the Baltimore Ravens, Gibson had the best game of his young career. Accounting for 120 total yards on 17 total touches and one rushing touchdown. This should be the game where Gibson is featured heavily in the offensive game plan.

Outside of Terry McLaurin, playmakers are lacking, but Gibson’s workload has increased in each of the last three games. The Rams are 27th in the NFL allowing 5.0 yards per rush, and starting inside linebackers Micah Kiser and Kenny Young are hampered with injuries. It’s time to find out if Antonio Gibson can handle a McCaffrey-type workload.

The best way to protect a young passer is with a ground game and solid defense. In Washington’s lone win of the season, the defense accounted for eight sacks and three turnovers. They also mustered their most rushing attempts of the season with 36. A similar performance from the Washington Football Team’s defense is a definitive requirement if Kyle Allen is to have any success versus the Rams defense. Washington must play complementary football.

The demotion of Haskins could be a blessing in disguise for Ron Rivera and Washington. This situation is somewhat reminiscent of the RGIII and Kirk Cousins quarterback competition in 2015. Robert Griffin III was set to be the starter all throughout training camp before then head coach Jay Gruden made the switch to Kirk Cousins a week before the start of the season. The rest is history, as Washington went on to win the NFC East that season.

Washington faces a somewhat similar situation in a weak NFC East five years later. Let’s be clear: Kyle Allen is not an upgrade over Dwayne Haskins. Allen has a lower ceiling and lesser arm talent Our very own Tim Payne touched on this topic with his weekly WFT Reality Checks. However, Kyle Allen has the potential to be a stabilizing force for the offense because of his moxie and familiarity with Scott Turner’s system.

Next. Three keys to victory for Washington vs. LA Rams. dark

Kyle Allen is a prime example of a ‘Put up your Dukes’ nominee. Throughout his career, he’s shown the propensity to overcome adversity. Allen played two years at Texas A&M before being benched in favor of Kyler Murray. Allen then transferred to Houston and played in four games before he ultimately lost his starting position. He went undrafted, then carved out his niche with the Panthers and found his place in this league. Now he’s tasked with avoiding shutdown cornerback Jalen Ramsey and the clutches of a defensive phenom, the entity that is Aaron Donald.