Head coach Ron Rivera told reporters in February that he wanted "very competitive competition" for second-year quarterback Dwayne Haskins. One month later, it appears he has that.
The Redskins traded a fifth-round pick to the Carolina Panthers for signal-caller Kyle Allen, the team officially announced on Tuesday. Allen, who started 12 games for the Panthers in place of the injured Cam Newton last season, is reunited with Rivera and offensive coordinator Scott Turner.
Allen brings with him knowledge and experience working with Turner, which will prove to be a resource as the Redskins institute Turner's "Air Coryell" system.
"I liked [Allen's] decision-making," Rivera told reporters ahead of a Week 17 matchup with the New Orleans Saints in 2018. "He has got a good arm, stands tall in the pocket."
Since becoming the Redskins head coach, Rivera has said there is a lot to like about Haskins and his development from last season. He also said that he wants to see Haskins step up and become the type of player who can lead a franchise for years to come.
Rivera has made it clear that he isn't going to simply give the starting role over the Haskins. He wants him to compete for the job, and it seems he believes Allen is the right player to provide that competition. After signing with the Panthers as an undrafted rookie, Allen stepped in as the Panthers' starting quarterback in 2019 and led them to 5-7 record with him under center.
Allen replaced Newton as the starter in Week 3 while the former No. 1 overall pick was recovering from an ankle injury. He threw for 261 yards and four touchdowns while leading the Panthers to a 38-20 win over the Arizona Cardinals.
Allen went on to win his next three starts to lift the Panthers to a 4-2 record. The offense, which averaged about 18 points per game in the first two weeks, scored at least 30 points in three of his four wins and averaged about 27 points per game.
Rivera told Panther.com's Caroline Cann last year that he looked back on Allen's performance in 2018 during his first-career start against the Saints, which resulted in a 33-14 win, and liked the way he handled the situation with his composure.
"[It was] his ability to make quick decisions and deliver a good football," Rivera said.
Allen brings several advantages with him to Washington, namely his relationship with Rivera. Allen spoke on that after Rivera was relieved of his duties following a 29-21 defeat at the hands of the Redskins, stating that Rivera "always gave him an opportunity."
"There wasn't many people that believed in me," Allen told reporters. "There wasn't many places or opportunities for me coming out of college. Without him, I don't know where I would be in the NFL right now."
It was clear the respect was mutual. The Panthers lost back-to-back games following their 30-20 win over the Tennessee Titans, and despite Allen throwing one touchdown to five interceptions in those games, Rivera still trusted Allen as the starter against the Saints in Week 12.
"He's confident in his abilities," Rivera said ahead of the game. "We're confident in his abilities. As I look at the game plan and I look at the things [former Panthers offensive coordinator Norv Turner] wants to do, I see us doing the things that he's capable of. I feel really good about it."
Allen's relationship with Turner goes back even further. The two first met at Allen's pro day at Texas A&M, and when Allen went undrafted, it was Turner who convinced the Rivera and the Panthers to sign him.
"Scott went out on a limb and found me and told the people here to bring me here. I'm thankful for that," Allen said, via the team's website. "He was the one who said, 'Hey, this guy on the board right here, he might have something.' Scott is always going to be my guy. I'm excited about the opportunity he has."
With Turner as his quarterbacks coach, Allen threw for 3,322 yards and 17 touchdowns to 16 interceptions while completing about 62% of his passes. When Turner took over as the Panthers' offensive coordinator, Allen threw for 865 yards and two touchdowns. He averaged 288 yards per game during that span with a completion percentage of 63.4%
Allen's experience with Turner and his system will prove invaluable with the Redskins. It's the same system as when Norv Turner was the Panthers' offensive coordinator, so he already has knowledge of how it works and the verbiage.
When asked how the offense would look after Turner took over play calling responsibilities, Allen told reporters, "We have the same offense, the same scheme, the same offensive staff game-planning for the games, so I expect it to be very similar."
That statement is also true of Allen's current situation, as most of Rivera's old coaching staff is now with Washington.
Rivera has wanted to create competition at the quarterback position. It's safe to assume he believes trading for Allen allows that to happen. At the very least, Allen becomes a serviceable backup who knows how to perform in Turner's offense.
It's unclear what the move will mean for Haskins, but if Rivera's previous comments are any indication, he's willing to let to situation unfold.
"[Haskins] is not anointed, that's for sure. I expect him to come in and compete and work and we'll see what happens."