Lately, Kyle Allen’s workouts have moved from a gym to the inside of an Orange County garage.
Training in California with New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold and Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen, the trio have also had a tougher time finding a place outdoors to throw. And when they do toss the football, the crew maintains their space apart.
It’s all part of the adjustment Allen and his friends have had to make over the past month due to the coronavirus outbreak.
But those aren’t the only changes for Allen of late.
Last week, the Washington Redskins acquired Allen in a trade with the Carolina Panthers — reuniting the 24-year-old with coach Ron Rivera and offensive coordinator Scott Turner. The deal, Allen recalled Tuesday, took the quarterback by surprise, given he had just signed a new contract with Carolina weeks earlier.
Allen, though, said that after talking with Rivera, he understands what the coaches want from him.
“The expectation is to come in and compete for the job,” Allen said. “And I think that’s an awesome opportunity.”
Speaking to reporters for the first time since the deal, Allen said he has no idea when he’ll be able to practice as the NFL has closed team facilities amid the pandemic. But when he and his new teammates return — whenever that is — Allen will begin a competition with starter Dwayne Haskins.
For now, the Redskins see Haskins as their starter. Rivera said as much last week, when in a radio interview, the coach confirmed the team will enter camp “believing” the 22-year-old is still atop the depth chart.
Allen, though, carries an advantage for the time being: He already knows the offense.
“The continuity with the system is huge for me, and I think it’s going to be big for the team too,” said Allen, who spent two years in Carolina. “If we don’t have a lot of OTAs or don’t have OTAs at all, it gives at least someone on the team a chance with experience in the system to be able to teach it to the other guys and the offense, and relay what the coaches are saying, and just kind of teach the offense to everyone and teach the language.”
Under Turner, the Redskins will run the Air Coryell offense — an attack that features a variety of formations, pre-snap motions and a heavy dose of deep shots down the field. When he was with the Panthers, Allen said it took him a month to a month-and-a-half to fully learn it.
“It’s tough to grasp it at first, but once you grasp it, it’s really fluid,” he said. “You can add a lot of things into it.”
When he got his opportunity, Allen demonstrated his command of the system.
In 13 games last season, 12 of which were starts, the 24-year-old threw for 3322 yards, 17 touchdowns and 16 interceptions while completing 62% of his passes.
Rivera, too, said Allen’s familiarity with the system was a large reason he was brought in.
“He understands what I’m looking for,” Rivera told a Charlotte radio station.
As for Haskins, Allen didn’t sound fazed about competition for the starter’s job.
He and Haskins don’t know each other well, but the two men have exchanged texts since the trade and met last year when the Redskins beat the Panthers in December.
Allen added he’s competed his whole life. Before the Panthers, Allen was a journeyman quarterback in college, spending time at Texas A&M before transferring to Houston. At each stop, Allen was a backup and a starter.
After he went undrafted in 2018, Allen signed with Carolina and began his career fourth on the depth chart. But he eventually became Cam Newton’s backup, taking over once the former MVP was injured.
“You spend a lot of time with these people, you might as well have great relationships,” Allen said. “So hopefully, it’s the same for me and Dwayne and Alex (Smith).”
• Matthew Paras can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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