Washington Football Team benches QB Dwayne Haskins, will start Kyle Allen vs. Rams

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The Washington Football Team is making a significant shakeup at quarterback after a 1-3 start.

Quarterback Dwayne Haskins has been benched with Kyle Allen promoted to starter for Sunday's game against the Los Angeles Rams, the team announced Wednesday. Haskins will not be active after being demoted to the third string, and Alex Smith will serve as Allen's backup.

“I think our best chance to win is putting the ball in somebody else’s hands,” Washington coach Ron Rivera said in a news conference Wednesday. “Dwayne needs some more work. He just hasn’t had enough work yet.”

Haskins, the No. 15 overall pick in 2019 out of Ohio State, had a rocky start to his second season with the team and first under Rivera. Washington ranks 28th in total offense (301.8 yards per game) and 26th in passing (209.5 yards per game). Haskins has completed 61% of his passes this year with four touchdowns and three interceptions.

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Washington Football Team quarterback Dwayne Haskins (7) leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens, Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020, in Landover, Md.

Haskins has made just 11 starts so far in his career. His agent, David Mulugheta, expressed frustration prior to Washington's loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday with how Haskins' experience had been depicted.

"Amazing this is the narrative coming out of DC," Mulugheta wrote on Twitter. "A young QB (10 starts total over 2 seasons) who is in a brand new system, with no off-season in said new system, a young OL, limited weapons on offense and only 3 games into the NFL season. Yet “he” is the one that must play well."

Rivera backed Haskins last Monday but said the team held certain expectations that the quarterback needed to meet.

“As I said, the thing at some point is, he’s going through this process — he’s growing, he’s developing — but we’ve got to continue to see positive growth,” Rivera said. “We can’t see a regression. And the one thing he has to understand is there is a certain point where you’re no longer a rookie. To me, he’s still learning and growing, but there is a point where: ‘Hey, you know what? You should be more positive with your plays.’ ”

Allen provides Rivera with a familiar figure from his time with the Carolina Panthers after being acquired from the team this offseason in a trade. Rivera inserted him as the starter for the Panthers last season when Cam Newton was sidelined after two games with a foot injury. Carolina won its first four games with Allen as the starter, but the quarterback threw 16 interceptions on the year. Rivera was fired in December, and Allen lost his final seven starts.

Smith will be active for the first time since a Nov. 2018 leg injury. The veteran fractured his tibia and fibula and underwent 17 surgeries.

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