The Washington Football Team's quarterback competition is a two-man race between Ryan Fitzpatrick and Taylor Heinicke, judging by Ron Rivera's recent comments to The Athletic.
"Ryan has the job right now, and it’s his to have," Rivera told The Athletic's Ben Standig. "I’m not going to discount Taylor," he added.
So where does that leave Kyle Allen?
Well, even if Allen isn't being viewed as a threat to run the offense in Week 1, he still belongs in the Burgundy and Gold's QB room. For many reasons, actually.
First off, if any franchise knows what it's like to cycle through quarterbacks, it's this one. Rivera had to use four of them in 2020, and in the two seasons before that, the club ran through three and four.
In an ideal world, of course, Allen wouldn't come close to seeing the field this year. Unfortunately, the last few campaigns say he will, at some point, be called upon.
In fact, he very well could be needed because of an injury to Heinicke. The sudden fan favorite clearly has talent — just ask the Bucs — but he also has issues with durability. Heinicke put on 15 pounds since he last appeared in an NFL game in order to ensure he can handle constant contact, but that doesn't guarantee he won't get hurt again. That makes Allen a necessary presence.
Beyond being extra cautious, Allen remaining on the roster also makes sense because he has such a firm grasp of coordinator Scott Turner's system, something that could prove useful in a dire situation. Then there's his cost — he's not even making $1 million on his current one-year contract.
And lastly, Rivera sent Carolina a fifth-round pick for Allen in the last offseason in a trade. That isn't a blockbuster by any means, but it's a decent piece of capital that would suggest he plans on having Allen as part of his plans.
Few are publicly pushing for Washington to move on from Allen, but some may be wondering how he fits into the picture if Fitzpatrick and Heinicke are the ones most on Rivera's mind ahead of training camp. Don't wonder about that.
The backup quarterback job is often seen as one that has major importance, but the backup to the backup can be vital, too. Washington would love if they didn't need to prove that this fall, but should the team have to, Allen can be counted on to perform reliably.