Washington Football Team's Ron Rivera Encourages Open Competition For Starting QB Role

The reigning NFC East champions are in hot pursuit of figuring out which one of their quarterbacks will start for the team after splitting from its 2020 starters, Dwayne Haskins and Alex Smith.

In a Washington QB competition that includes Taylor Heinicke, Kyle Allen, and 17-year veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ron Rivera will be open to holding a QB competition throughout training camps for the starter's role after a 2020 season whose potential was capped based on an inconsistency that clouded the position.

The head coach gave some details regarding his new approach to finding the right QB for a team on the come-up, thanks to the addition of standout rookie edge rusher Chase Young.

"The mistake I made was that my approach was wrong," said Rivera, coming off of a 6-10 season that resulted in a playoff appearance thanks to the poor play of the remaining NFC East. "I should have made as big a competition as possible, and that's on me. I wanted to try and find a guy. I thought was ready to take a step and take every opportunity. I try to build that rapport he needed with his teammates, and that would have been something we may have been able to see sooner and could have done something different, perhaps."

Last year, Washington committed to sophomore QB Dwayne Haskins, now signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers, after drafting the former Buckeye No. 15 overall in the 2019 NFL Draft. In a make-or-break opportunity, Haskins threw five touchdowns, seven interceptions, and had a completion rate of 61.4 in seven games. Failing to help Washington nab a playoff spot during their Week 16 matchup against the Carolina Panthers, Haskins was benched in favor of Taylor Heinicke and ultimately proved to be the wrong first-round pick for the organization.

Former starting quarterback Alex Smith, who also pulled off an inspiring comeback after his serious leg injury, announced his decision to retire at 37 in April 2021.

While most fans forecast that veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick will be slated to take on the starter's role after signing with the team in March 2021 (one year, $10 million) and having first-team reps at the start of minicamps, Rivera's rapport with Kyle Allen dating back to their time in Carolina may give the head coach more of a confidence to go with him over the bearded wonder for the season ahead.