Insider

Kyle Allen is better than Dwayne Haskins right now, but does it matter?

Insider

The question isn’t if Kyle Allen runs the Washington offense better than Dwayne Haskins.

Right now, that’s not debatable. Allen does.

With Allen at the helm on Sunday the Washington offense looked more professional and crisp than it has all season. The Football Team posted nearly 340 yards of total offense, the second-best output this year.

Allen proved particularly adept at converting third downs and extending drives. Washington's offense picked up third-down conversions at a 53 percent clip, up 30 points from their average of 23 percent through the season's first five games. 

But here’s the flip side of the Allen coin - he also cost Washington the game in New York.

He committed two awful turnovers, including a fourth-quarter fumble that led directly to the Giants game-winning touchdown. If Allen is playing so Washington can win games, he’s failing that test.

Sure, it’s undeniable that the Washington offense ran smoother with Allen at the helm than with Haskins. But it’s not like Allen entered the game and all of a sudden this was the 2001 Rams. Washington still only mustered 19 points against a Giants defense giving up 25 per game.

Then the big picture question emerges, and things make even less sense.

Is Washington trying to win now and compete for the NFC East title this year? If the answer is yes, then Allen cost them the win on Sunday.

It's impossible to know if Haskins would have delivered a similar performance, or if he would have been better or worse. What is known, however, is that the Washington defense held the Giants offense to just 13 points and without Allen's turnovers, Sunday's game probably would have resulted in a win. 

 

CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE TO THE WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TALK PODCAST

In Washington's only win this year, Week 1 against Philadelphia, the defense only gave up 17 points. Haskins was far from great, but he didn't turn the ball over, and Washington won. 

Those two games - Week 1 against the Eagles and Week 6 against the Giants - have undeniable similarities, except for who was at quarterback.

If it's not about winning right now, then is Washington looking to rebuild for the future? Because playing Allen over Haskins has no real long-term value.

It’s highly possible the new Washington brass is done with Haskins.

The 15th-overall pick in 2019, on Sunday, Haskins was inactive for the second straight game. Maybe it's best for Haskins to watch from the bench, but in a league where young QBs play early and often, this doesn't feel like a development opportunity for Dwayne. It feels like solitary confinement.

Allen is better right now than Haskins, but for many, 2020 was supposed to be about developing the young quarterback to determine if he was the future.

If that determination has been made and finalized, then sure, play Allen.

But publicly at least the word from the Washington staff is Haskins is still part of the plan. If he is still part of the plan, then let him on the field. If he's not, the NFL Trade Deadline is two weeks away. End the charade and move on.

In three NFL seasons, Allen has now made 15 starts. He's totaled 25 touchdowns against 31 turnovers. He knows Washington offensive coordinator Scott Turner's system, for sure, and is feisty and competitive. 

There's a lots to like about Kyle Allen, except for that pesky two turnovers-per-game average. 

From a pure contractual standpoint, there's also the fact that of Washington's three quarterbacks, Allen is the only one not under contract for next season. Haskins has at least two years remaining on his rookie deal, and even Alex Smith is signed through the 2022 season. 

Here's the bottom line: Right now, Allen is better than Haskins.

If the plan is to chase wins this year, then play Allen, but let's all be cognizant of his limitations. The sample is large enough to see that the turnovers will continue to be a problem. 

But at a certain point it also becomes clear Haskins isn't the guy, this year or next, and that means much bigger conversations are coming. In the draft. In free agency. 

And it means Washington is right back where it's been for 20 years: Deep in the quarterback abyss.