Theismann thinks Washington making Smith the backup is a smart move originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
The Washington Football Team announced Wednesday that Dwayne Haskins has been benched as the starting quarterback ahead of their Week 5 matchup with the Los Angeles Rams. Instead, it will be Kyle Allen under center for Washington with the veteran Alex Smith serving as the backup over Haskins.
On Wednesday morning, former Washington quarterback Joe Theismann joined the Doc & Galdi show on The Team 980. He talked about head coach Ron Rivera’s decision to allow Smith to dress for the first time since he suffered multiple fractures in his right leg while on the field for Washington in 2018.
“I think to put him out there right now would be a mistake because you have someone that is familiar with the system,” Theismann said. “Go back to the first six, seven games down in Carolina, Kyle Allen played really good football. He really did…and as far as Alex goes, you don’t know how good Alex is going to be in this system. This is all new to Alex, too.”
Rivera took over as head coach in D.C. last offseason, inheriting an offense that had replaced the injured Smith with 2019 No. 15 overall pick Haskins. After Haskins underwhelmed over his first four games, Washington is turning to Allen while Smith continues logging reps in practice.
“Ron [Rivera] basically said in training camp that he had to see if Alex could protect himself,” Theismann said. “He doesn’t know that yet. We don’t know that yet. I think the fact that Alex made it to the active roster was a tremendous leap of faith…now even a bigger leap of faith is to have him be No. 2 and Dwayne No. 3, which means Dwayne won’t be dressed probably for this game.
“I don’t know if Ron has the answer to his question and that’s why…from a participation standpoint, all through the training camps that they had, Alex was very limited…I think he’ll be OK, personally. But I think where he is right now is the progress that this football team is making and it’s smart usage of him.”
The decision to make Smith the backup over Haskins puts the veteran signal caller one injury or string of poor play away from taking the field. Theismann believes that was the safe course of action for Rivera, who knows gets to see how the younger Allen does before taking a chance on Smith.
“If Kyle Allen doesn’t do what he needs to do, Alex is gonna get that chance,” Theismann said. “But again, he gets more time in the system, he gets more time to be more comfortable at the position. So I actually think that this order works out in our favor if in the event there’s a change that needs to be made as opposed to the other way around.”