Washington Redskins head coach Ron Rivera went on a Charlotte-based radio station on Tuesday to discuss a variety of topics, including the trade for Kyle Allen, the team's quarterback situation, Cam Newton and more.
Trading For Kyle Allen
The Redskins shored up their quarterback situation by trading a fifth-round pick to the Carolina Panthers for Allen, the team officially announced Tuesday.
And more than anything, Rivera said the Redskins acquired him because of his familiarity with the coaching staff and the offense.
Offensive coordinator Scott Turner, then the Panthers quarterbacks coach, convinced the Panthers to sign Allen as an undrafted free agent in 2018 and has worked closely with Allen ever since. Rivera was the one who turned to Allen when Newton was sidelined with a foot injury early last season.
Under Turner's guidance and Rivera's assurance, Allen won his first four starts and five of his first six before faltering down the stretch. He completed about 62% of his passes for more than 3,300 yards.
With Turner and Rivera now in Washington, it made sense to go after a young quarterback with starting experience who already knows what to expect.
"He's had some success. He's good in the locker room. He understands what I'm looking for. He understands what Scott [Turner] is looking for," Rivera said. "So, hopefully we can take that and use it to our advantage with out new team."
Addressing The Quarterback Situation
Up until this point, Rivera had not definitively anointed Dwayne Haskins Jr. as the Redskins' starting quarterback.
Of course, there were signs suggesting Rivera liked Haskins. In his introductory press conference, Rivera said Haskins had the potential to "become a franchise-style quarterback." And in the months since, he lauded Haskins for his growth throughout his rookie campaign and his work ethic since the new coaching staff arrived. He then praised Haskins some more at the NFL Scouting Combine before claiming he wanted to bring in "very competitive competition" for last year's 15th-overall pick.
But during Tuesday's interview, Rivera was more direct about Haskins and his possible hold on the starting job.
"At the end of the day, nobody knows what's going to happen, so we just have to get ourselves ready," Rivera continued. "We really like what we have in terms of our young quarterbacks. Kyle is also a young guy who has a live arm, understands the game, understands how we do things. So, I'm excited about what the potential could be."
No Interest In Cam Newton
Rivera was just beginning his head coaching career when the Panthers drafted Newton No. 1 overall in 2011, and the two spent the next eight-plus years together -- a run that included four playoff appearances, three consecutive NFC South titles and an appearance in Super Bowl 50 during the 2015 season.
However, when the Panthers gave Newton permission to seek a trade on March 17, Rivera said there was no interest in bringing Newton to Washington. (The Panthers released Newton on Tuesday.)
"At the end of the day, we have a young football team with a young quarterback in position," Rivera said. "We have the chance to set and establish a thing, so that's the way we're looking at it. Going forward, you never know what's going to happen, but where we are right now, we made a commitment to young guys to find out who we have as a football team."
Uncertainty Moving Forward
While NFL free agency has carried on without major interruption, the league's immediate future remains up in the air due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Offseason training activities have been postponed indefinitely, and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell recently instructed all franchises to close their facilities to all but a select few employees for the next two weeks. The NFL still plans to hold the draft April 23-25, but even that's receiving pushback from people that believe the event should be postponed.
Rivera said that nobody knows exactly how the NFL will progress amid the coronavirus, but he hopes everyone is taking it seriously and being careful.
"The biggest thing we can do is listen to the health care professionals, heed their warnings, heed their directions, just follow what they're telling us," Rivera said. "And hopefully things can subside and we can get back to normal. We just don't know when, but in the meantime, everybody be smart, be safe and prep."
Since pre-draft activities such as Pro Days and official visits were also cancelled, Rivera said franchises will have to rely heavily on their scouting departments, which have been monitoring most of these prospects for the past three years. "You're going to see just how good your scouting departments are."
As for the Redskins' draft strategy, Rivera is not giving anything away when it comes to the No. 2 overall pick.