Another week of costly mistakes might have proved to be the last for Kyle Allen as the Carolina Panthers’ starting quarterback, as the team will reportedly make a change for Week 16’s road game in Indianapolis.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Monday afternoon the last-place Panthers (5-9) are expected to give talented rookie Will Grier his first NFL start when they visit the Colts (6-7) next Sunday, benching Allen from his inherited starting duties after he threw three interceptions to sink his team in a winnable game against the Seattle Seahawks.
Allen has been rocky most of the season in relief of veteran starter Cam Newtown, who was injured in the preseason and only managed to play in the first two games of the regular season. It has been all Allen ever since, which wasn’t looking like such a bad thing in his first four starts. He led the Panthers to four consecutive wins after starting 0-2 and had tossed seven touchdowns to zero interception entering Week 8’s game in San Francisco.
Ultimately, the road trip against the Niners proved to be the beginning of the end for both Allen and the Panthers, who lost that game 51-13 and then dropped six of their next seven games to fall out of playoff contention earlier than their peers. Much of the blame rests on Allen for trying to force plays and giving up careless turnovers with 15 interceptions on the season.
Now, the job falls to a former West Virginia standout who wrapped up his three-season college career with a career-high 3,864 passing yards, 40 total touchdowns and just eight picks.
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Panthers Taking Stock of All Three Quarterback
Even if Allen’s performance Sunday had been good, a shift at quarterback would have made sense for the Panthers with the inevitable change coming to the franchise between now and the 2020 season, beginning with a new head coach.
Starting Grier for the remaining two games simply gives the Panthers the best optics for evaluating all three of their options at quarterback moving forward. Newton’s abilities have seasons on record, while Allen was given the majority of a regular season to showcase what he can bring — or, more aptly, what he can’t bring — to the table as a starter. It’s Grier’s turn now, even if he only has a small window to show out.
Panthers general manager Marty Hurney and now-former coach Ron Rivera saw value in Grier with the intentions of drafting and grooming a new quarterback for the future after an injury-marred year for Cam Newtown in 2018, as Panthers insider Max Henson reported back in April. They valued him far higher than they got them in the third round and were pleased to include the ex-Mountaineer in their plans for the future.
“We like Will,” Hurney said via Panthers.com. “I think he’s got plenty of arm strength just to start off. His arm strength is not an issue, he’s a timing passer. I think he’s got an ‘it’ factor that you can see, and you see being around his teammates, and you can see it at the pro day, and you can just see it on tape. I think that he’s a very talented quarterback.”
Of course, Hurney’s opinion might not matter depending on how big the changes will be in the offseason with Rivera already fired. The next head coach of the Panthers will certainly have a hand in deciding how the team proceeds moving forward.