Ron Rivera's been given plenty of chances this offseason to fully crown Dwayne Haskins as the franchise's starting quarterback — and he continues to brush them aside.
There have been, without a doubt, real signs of Rivera's belief in Haskins. The coach himself has explained that he didn't make a move to draft a passer in April and bypassed on bringing in Cam Newton because of what he sees in the second-year pro. There was also his March appearance on a Charlotte radio station where Rivera told the hosts he'd be going into camp "believing that" Haskins is the top option.
But none of those examples were definitive, slam-the-door-on-any-other-outcome statements. Neither was what Rivera discussed during a Tuesday Zoom call with reporters when a potential battle between Haskins and Kyle Allen was brought up once more.
"Again, I still think it's a competition," Rivera said. "We'll have a longer period of time than I anticipated to get ready to roll. So, again, this is going to be pure competition. I like the fact that we've got a good group of guys that will push one another."
At some point, Alex Smith could enter this conversation, but with the Washington Football Team slowly starting up training camp, the "pure competition" will be between the in-house Haskins and the recently-traded-for-Allen.
Taking a big-picture view, as long as Haskins carries over a promising past few months onto the fields in Ashburn, he should absolutely earn the starting role. While Allen has accomplished more when looking at each of their brief NFL careers, Haskins appears to have far more tools and the potential to become something pretty special. Allen, on the other hand, has the makings of a very reliable backup.
The one advantage Allen has, however, is that Rivera and Scott Turner already really know him, and he already really knows their scheme. Remember, too, that Rivera made sure to point out how Allen could "have a leg up" in any sort of altered camp scenario. Overall, the staff is clearly very comfortable with the thought of relying on the ex-Panther.
Now, how will Rivera look to settle this competition? He acknowledged that the lack of preseason will make that task more difficult but still far from impossible.
"I think the big thing, more so than anything else, it's going to be about how each guy develops over the period of time," he said. "We're going to have to try and create as many game-like situations in our practices as possible so we can get a good evaluation on our quarterbacks."
It's still expected that the "good evaluation" will lead to Haskins (finally) being placed at the No. 1 spot of the depth chart. Rivera's obviously not ready to do that yet, though, so no one else should be, either.
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