Ron Rivera: Limiting QB competition in camp was a mistake

NFL: SEP 13 Eagles at Washington Football Team
Getty Images

The Washington Football Team started four different quarterbacks during the 2020 season and none of them left head coach Ron Rivera feeling settled about the future of he position.

It felt like a more settled situation coming into the season. Rivera gave Dwayne Haskins the majority of the team’s reps during training camp, but he was benched after four weeks in favor of Kyle Allen. During an appearance on 106.7 The Fan, Rivera said that he regrets limiting the competition over the summer.

“The biggest thing I would have done is I would have created a few more opportunities mixing everybody around,” Rivera said, via “As opposed to saying ‘OK, I’m going to stick with just the one guy and do that.’ I think now in retrospect, and again, hindsight is 20/20, I would. What I’m saying is I made a mistake and I’m owning up to it and that’s the truth. To put it as simple as that, that’s what I’m saying. I’m just being honest.”

Haskins is gone and there’s no obvious answer for the future of the position with Allen, Alex Smith, and Taylor Heinicke. That picture likely will look different once the team is back to on-field work, but there may not be a clear No. 1 and that should make for a different looking competition this time.

34 responses to “Ron Rivera: Limiting QB competition in camp was a mistake

  1. One reason I always loved Rivera. He has more integrity as pocket change than the higher ups in that organization have in their entire bank.

  2. I’d guess it will be Allen as starter and Heinicke as backup if they can sign him. There should be a free agent signing, but not sure if that will be for the 3rd QB or if they will try to go big. I think the one certainty would be that Alex Smith is done. It may have been an inspiring story, but it seems pretty obvious that he physically doesn’t have what it takes anymore.

  3. Coach, your biggest mistake was not cutting Haskins after he partied with strippers without a mask hen you had Heinicke just sitting there!

  4. I say go with Heinecke. The kid has moxie, toughness and grit. He is hungry and the team responds to him and a bonus he can be bought on the cheap so you can spend money on other needs. Do it coach!

  5. Dwayne Haskins is gone and it’s mostly by his own hand, but why keep piling on him? This offense was whack beyond just the poor play of each of the QBs. This team came across a strong talent at RB — Antonio Gibson — who averaged right around a mere 12 carries per game; not nearly enough to help a weak QB position. After Kyle Allen got hurt, Alex Smith came in and threw to McKissic more than he did to all his WRs. Gibson, mostly a WR in college, received less than half the amount of targets that McKissic received from the RB position.

    The QB position was funky to begin with and was not helped out by OC, Scott Turner. Whereas the offense should’ve been led by the running game — and this was obvious early in the season — it lacked rhythm and established no real identity throughout the season.

  6. I suspect some of that was pressure from above. I think they brought him in with the expectation that he’d make good on their first round investment. He had to give him a much longer leash than he would have liked.

  7. This guy is a great coach, most coaches never admit to being incredibly wrong. That said, he wasn’t entirely wrong with how he proceeded as he had his team beat every expectation this year. With no real off season to implement and evaluate…. it was a tough spot for an incoming coach to go out and succeed in, yet coach Rivera did

  8. To think, the Patriots had Heinicke in 2013 for about a minute. He could’ve been the guy to replace Brady once he developed. He has definitely developed. He has all the physical tools and he makes good decisions. WFT may have unknowingly solved their QB issue with that playoff game.

  9. Back in February of 2020, Rivera said Haskins had to earn the starting job. Obviously, he wasn’t sold on Dwayne. Hindsight is indeed 20/20. Chase Young was a great selection last year, but without a franchise QB… things are grim.
    The WFT is picking 19th this year. Hope they can get a good QB. Heinicke looked good in his one shot debut. Smith is a great veteran presence. Allen is a journeyman bench.
    It would be good for Washington to stay away from the Free Agent QB’s this year and not blow their cap on a re-tread guy. Unless they can woo Deshaun Watson from the Texans, WFT is in another 2-3 year rebuild.

  10. Definitely forced to let Haskins open as starter. If he really thought he was worth anything he wouldn’t have benched him after four weeks. He let him play do terrible and then he could say see I know what I am doing here Snyder. Rivera did not pick Haskins and was not going to give him anything for being a 1st rounder, I give him props not wasting time. He saw he was terrible and that was that.

  11. Haskins, hopefully, is the last of Dan Snyder’s gifts to DC. He might have to head up to Canada to get another shot and even that would require some personal growth on his part. Who throws a party for his girlfriend and invites strippers? I am not certain we know what Alex’s injury was, but it may indicate his leg can’t stand up to the rigors of the NFL now. No shame there. He gave it everything he had.

  12. Pretty tough to do, having a Qb competition during this pandemic. I think a lot of teams just rolled out the status quo and crossed their fingers. I believe this team overachieved and should be proud of their accomplishments this season even though it was in the awful nfc east. This team has a bright future if they can figure out the qb position.

  13. If Heinicke bulked up about 20 lbs on that frame so he could withstand the rigors of getting pounded in the NFL, he’s obviously got the mental make up and throws an accurate ball. But what I’ve read here is that he’s about 6’0″, 211 lbs. Way too fragile for an NFL QB. I’m surprised no one told him to do that in Minnesota or Carolina, he’s been out of college about 5 seasons.

  14. Hate to break it for WFT fans out there – Heinicke isn’t the guy. He’s just A GUY. Maybe a solid backup.

    For all those trashing Alex Smith on this thread, I think he’ll be in the conversation for WAS. He’s pretty much the only reason they won that trash division over NYG. That, and Doug Peterson throwing that final game, but I digress.

    Next year won’t be any magical story for WFT, unless IMO they have Alex Smith come back after a full offseason healthy and strengthening himself up. Thats the only hope. They don’t have a picks / the picks to get a top draft QB. Its unlikely they find a late round gem who is ready to go.

    Maybe you trade Miami for Tua or something. I dont know. But I can’t see a free agent QB being better than Smith if Smith wants to return. Flame away, but who’s out there? I think trading for a Matt Ryan or someone will probably be an expensive bandaid only marginally better than Alex Smith.

    If I were Smith, tho, I would walk away. I think he can still play in this league, but if you have the money, and you had/have health concerns, I would walk.

  15. Theres some good quality QBs looking to shake loose. If Im Watson or Wentz, Id give Washington a good think. leading that team to postseason success could make you a legend.

    The only negative, of course, is the idiot owner

  16. The biggest take away here is not Rivera’s mistake about not having an open quarterback competition. Its what a meddling owner can do to a franchise. The organization did not want Haskins, the owner did. as a result he cost his team time and wins and nearly cost them a playoff berth.

    Rivera won despite of Snyder, which is impressive.

  17. Taylor Heinicke – 6’ 0”, 211 lbs. – too fragile for an NFL QB
    Russell Wilson – 5’ 11”, 215 lbs – not too fragile for an NFL QB

  18. Drew Brees – 6’0″, 209 lbs – apparently not too fragile to be a HOF NFL QB

    Some people just don’t know what they are saying.

  19. I say bring Alex Smith back on the coaching staff as a QB coach.
    Then go out and find some top-notch wide receivers who can actually catch the ball and hold on to it to complement with Terry McLaurin.
    Let Kyle Allen & Taylor Heinike battle it out for the starting position while you use a 5th or 6th round pick on another QB that you want to start grooming

  20. Heinicke is not “too fragile” to be a QB.
    He WOULD Have to be more careful with his Body though.
    The idea that every QB has to be a 6’6″ 250 LB LINEBACKER, running machine is a bit delusional.

    Henicke is elusive in PART because of his size. Add 20 lbs (which is no easy feat without getting FAT), instead of “bulked up” and would definitely slow a guy like him down.

    Not saying he is a savior based on one game. But I think he showed enough in that game to suggest he has some skills to evaluate.

  21. In just a few quarters of playing Taylor Heineke definitely seems to have won his locker room over. Listening to Tony Dungy talk about him, wondering how the rest of the NFL had overlooked him, and why he wasn’t on a roster to start the season, has me thinking that he’ll have that opportunity next season. I hope in DC.

    I do like Alex Smith, that he was able to come back, was pretty inspirational. To hear how Patrick Mahomes praised him for teaching him how to be an NFL QB was impressive as well. I hope that RR will keep Alex around to be his QB Coach….I think Alex would be very good in that role, and could perhaps become legendary.

  22. Well, look at the 4 QB’s he had. Obviously you go with Haskins. Find out what they ultimately did. They spend a big pick on him. Allen isnt going to become Kurt Warner. Smith was a reasonable Plan B. Based on what they had. They were not winning 9-10 games if any of these QB’s won a competition.

  23. If I’m Rivera, I’d go to Snyder and say: “If you want to avoid the QB problems from this season, sign Jacoby Brissett. Brissett gives us some breathing room to find a franchise QB” The only 2 starting level QBs this offseason are Brissett and Phillip Rivers. That’s it. Both will have plenty of offers, but Brissett is the real prize because he’s mobile. After those two, it’s guys like Jameis Winston, Mitch Trubisky, and Fitzmagic.

  24. I sure wish Ron Rivera coached a team I liked….what a class act he’s been throughout his career. I grew up as a fan of Washington and The Hogs in the days but now for the last 20 years its been so much fun rooting agains Snyder and his team….but man…how can you hate a team that Rivera coaches….unless he’s playing against my team! :)))

  25. Get your O line fixed. Find the bodies you need for that and forget about high draft moves and free agents like Brissette and Ryan. Develop Heinicke. See what he has cause he’s got something. Hopefully he doesn’t turn into another John Beck. What are your other choices? There is only one Mahomes don’t go looking for another. You won’t find it.

  26. I just can’t get the Heinicke love. Likely the next Minshew. Its easy to look good in a small sample size.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.