In the beginning of the week, the LA Rams were preparing themselves to face Dwayne Haskins, the 34th ranked passer by DYAR in 2019, but Washington Football Team announced that he has been benched after four starts. Instead the Rams will have to prepare for Kyle Allen.
The 33rd ranked passer by DYAR in 2019.
Kyle Allen was a five-star “pro style” (seems an outdated term, doesn’t it?) quarterback out of Scottsdale, Arizona, in 2014. He was the number one QB “pro style” recruit in the nation, which would be more meaningful if the second-best QB out of the 49 ranked behind him wasn’t Mason Rudolph. The “dual threat” quarterback list had Deshaun Watson at one and Patrick Mahomes at 12.
I don’t know, they seem like pros to me and not because they can run the option.
In 2013, Allen chose Texas A&M over Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma State and UCLA. He called all five schools “dead even” until the last minute when he went with the Aggies. Allen wanted to play in the SEC so he could “be the best” by competing “against the best” and to follow in Heisman winner Johnny Manziel’s footsteps.
He followed the wrong Manziel steps.
At first, Allen lost the QB competition in 2014 to Kenny Hill, but following a three-game losing streak he was starting as a true freshman against Louisiana-Monroe. The next week, he led A&M to a 41-38 win over third-ranked Auburn.
Against good competition, Allen was exciting as a true freshman: 65% completions, 952 yards, 12 TD and 4 INT vs Auburn, Missouri, LSU and West Virginia.
Going into his sophomore season, Allen was poised for great success, but he chose the SEC because of competition and that’s why it only took two bad games for Allen to be benched for freshman Kyler Murray. Though Allen got to a 5-0 start with 13 touchdowns and two interceptions, A&M was easily defeated by Alabama and Ole Miss and Allen threw four interceptions.
Kevin Sumlin turned to Murray and then went back to Allen for the final two games, two mediocre performances for the team against Vanderbilt and LSU.
Both Allen and Murray transferred following the season, with Allen choosing Houston’s spread offense and Murray landing the sweetest gig under Lincoln Riley. What would have happened if those roles were reversed? We’ll never know. Well, let’s be honest, it probably wouldn’t have gone as well as it did for Murray.
Allen started the first three games for Houston in 2017 but was benched after three games. Even when the player who benched him was benched, Allen remained on the bench. He may have only had two options, transfer again or enter the draft, and he chose the NFL. Allen said he was betting on himself knowing that he’d go undrafted.
He chose right probably.
Allen signed with the Carolina Panthers to play for Ron Rivera and to compete with Garrett Gilbert and Taylor Heinicke to be Cam Newton’s backup. It would also be a chance to play for veteran offensive coordinator Norv Turner. He didn’t make the team but was signed to the practice squad and no other teams picked him up. By December, Newton was hurt and Heinicke was starting so Allen was called up to be the backup.
Good choice of team by Allen because he was now starting in Week 17, one year after he wasn’t even the backup quarterback at Houston anymore.
Allen went 16 of 27 for 228 yards and two touchdowns, no interceptions and one rushing touchdown in a 33-14 win over the Saints. Although New Orleans was resting its starters for the playoffs, they did have Teddy Bridgewater at quarterback, Allen’s eventual replacement in Carolina, and Michael Thomas and well, what do you want me to say? He didn’t do too bad!
The team thought highly enough of Allen to retain him for 2019, even if they did draft Will Grier in the third round, and Allen became Newton’s primary backup last season. That turned out to be a pretty big deal, because Allen started every game from Week 3 to Week 15 ...
And he won five of his first six starts.
Allen’s success may have been forgotten because it was so short-lived but for his first five career starts, he threw nine touchdowns and no interceptions with a rating over 100. He also hadn’t lost yet. Bridgewater went 5-0 with the Saints in 2019 and it come him a big free agent contract with the Panthers. Allen didn’t get the benefit of the starter returning after five games though and eventually he fell flat on one of the NFL’s worst teams in the second half of 2019.
In his next four starts of last season, Allen threw three touchdowns and nine interceptions. He was also sacked 18 times. After another good start against New Orleans, Allen threw six interceptions and fumbled five times in his last three starts of the season before getting benched for Grier.
Who was even worse.
The Panthers fired Rivera and Norv Turner was gone too, as well as his son Scott Turner, the replacement offensive coordinator. Allen wasn’t a fit for new head coach Matt Rhule’s plan, which involved Bridgewater, Grier and PJ Walker, so he was traded to Washington, which had hired Rivera and Scott Turner so it was the most sensible place for Allen to go.
In 2019, Allen ranked 30th in passer rating, 24th in Y/A, tied with Jared Goff for the fourth-most interceptions (but a higher interception rate), 30th in QBR and no regular QB was sacked more often per game.
Allen may know Rivera and Turner’s system, perhaps even better than Haskins, but reports in training camp were clear that Haskins hadn’t been given the job. He beat out Allen for it. And Haskins was just benched because the only QBs who have a worse rating are Jeff Driskel, Sam Darnold, Daniel Jones and Carson Wentz. Against a schedule of defenses that DVOA says is only average.
Washington’s short term plan and long term plan might be the same: “How will things we do now help us next year?” Rivera’s been open about favoring experience and health over wins this season. But he has a bad offensive line and few interesting weapons on offense outside of Terry McLaurin and Antonio Gibson, both of whom would be better served not with the QB who helps them win this season, but the quarterback who helps them touch the ball with opportunities to succeed once that happens.
Playing with Case Keenum last season, McLaurin caught 28 of 41 targets for 436 yards and five touchdowns.
Playing with Haskins last season, McLaurin caught 27 of 45 targets for 432 yards, two touchdowns.
Benching Haskins may not help the team win more games this season, but Rivera may feel that Allen will give his players a better chance to get the experience and opportunities that they need for next season.