For the first time since he was traded to the Redskins since last week, quarterback Kyle Allen spoke with the local media on Tuesday.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, there was no press conference. There were no pictures taken, and no cars piled up on the gravel outside the entrance to Redskins Park.
Instead, Allen, fresh off a workout in California, spoke to local reporters for nearly 20 minutes on Tuesday via phone call. Although it was an atypical way for the media to meet the Redskins newest quarterback, the signal-caller offered up plenty of information that will impact the Redskins in the coming months.
Here are three takeaways from Allen's media session.
1. The quarterback is excited about the young talent the Redskins have on the roster.
Allen was given his first chance as an NFL starter a season ago, and the Panthers gave him a variety of weapons to work with. Carolina employs Christian McCaffrey, a dynamic running back who became just the third player in NFL history to have both over 1,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards in the same season. On the outside, Allen had a pair of versatile receivers -- D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel -- to throw to.
Although the Redskins don't have a running back that comes close to rivaling McCaffrey, the Burgundy and Gold do have a collection of young talent on offense that Allen is excited to work with.
"Obviously, [WR] Terry [McLaurin] had a great year last year, an awesome year, break-out star," Allen said. "[Steven] Sims [Jr.] had a really good year last year. But I think it’s a young room, I think it’s a talented room. And I think it’s kind of the way with the whole team."
By the end of the 2019 season, the Redskins three starting wide receivers were all rookies. McLaurin was the leader of the bunch, eclipsing 900 yards and responsible for nearly half of the Redskins receiving touchdowns. Sims, who primarily operated out of the slot, is an excellent route runner who emerged late in the season, and someone the Redskins have high hopes for in 2020. Kelvin Harmon, the team's sixth-round pick in 2019, showed some promise, too.
While the Redskins wide receiving corps is relatively young, the unit could get even younger if the team decides to add another pass-catcher in the NFL Draft. The 2020 receiving class is incredibly deep, and while the Redskins don't have a second-round pick, they could potentially nab an impact player in the third or fourth round.
2. Allen described Ron Rivera's departure from Carolina last season as quite an emotional one.
When an organization fires a head coach, teams usually try to move on as quickly as possible and pretend that the previous era never happened. When Ron Rivera was fired by the Panthers, that wasn't the case at all. Rivera held a 30-minute press conference the day after he was let go last December and held a going away yard-sale in Charlotte earlier this year that attracted thousands of fans.
Allen was asked about Rivera's departure from Carolina last season, and the quarterback detailed the emotions that all the Panthers players had when they found out Rivera's time in Charlotte had come to a close.
"He was a player’s coach, all the players loved him and respected him," Allen said. "And if you’re in that room that day that he had said his goodbye to all of us, he got let go, not a dry eye in that room. Everyone had a ton of respect for him. He built that culture; he deserves to have that respect."
Allen was then asked what type of culture Rivera will bring to the Redskins, and the QB only had great things to say about his former -- and now current -- head coach.
"I think there's going to be a mutual respect between all the players and the coaches," Allen said. "I think he's really going to get the most out of you but he cares about you too. There’re probably other coaches like that in the league and there are some that aren't like that. And he's one of my favorite head coaches I've ever played for."
3. Allen fully expects to compete for the starting job, and think's his background in Scott Turner's system will help him.
Just days after the Redskins acquired Allen, Rivera said in a radio interview that he plans to enter training camp with second-year passer Dwayne Haskins as the starter. But the head coach has preached wanting competition for Haskins since he arrived in Washington, and Allen certainly fits the bill.
“When they traded for me, it was kind of random," Allen said. "I didn't push to be traded and I just signed a contract in Carolina two weeks before. Interesting experience, but just talking to the coaches and talking to Ron [Rivera] and I think the expectation is to come and compete for the job. I think it’s an awesome opportunity."
One aspect where Allen currently has an advantage over Haskins is his understanding of offensive coordinator Scott Turner's system. With the NFL offseason programs in jeopardy due to coronavirus, there are fewer repetitions for Haskins to take and less time for the passer to learn another system. Allen is already comfortable in Turner's system, as he ran it in Carolina a season ago.
"I think the continuity with the system is huge for me," Allen said. "And I think that it going to be big for the team too. If we don't have a lot of OTA's, we don't have OTA's at all, it gives at least someone on this team a chance with experience in the system to be able to teach it to the other guys and relay what the coaches are saying and kind of teach the offense to everyone and teach the language."
Bonus: He's currently training with Sam Darnold and Josh Allen in California.
Kyle Allen headed to California in early February and planned to spend two months there training. It's not the first time Allen has trained in California or with that crew -- he did the same last year. But due to the coronavirus, Allen has no idea when he'll leave the west coast and head to Redskins Park.
"We come out in the beginning of February, stay here through March, and kind of get through a bunch of training," Allen said. "So, the only thing that has changed is we had to move from our gym to some person’s garage over here. He had weights for everybody. So, we're just in a garage down here in one of these neighborhoods, we're the only three people working out in it. So, we’re trying to stay away from everyone and still be cognizant of the social distancing and everything. But, at the same time, try and get as much work in as we can. It just been a little harder to find places to throw, a little harder to find places to work out."
The new Redskins quarterback admitted that when he's not working out, it's been hard for him and the other signal-callers to remain busy.
“It's pretty boring right now, I’m going to be honest with you," Allen said. "This morning we woke up, threw around, just got done working out, it’s about one o’clock, and we have the rest of the day with absolutely nothing to do. So we play a ton of gin, we watch movies, play Call Of Duty, and we get super bored. That’s about it.”
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