QB Heinicke on IR, Allen to start for Panthers

Carolina Panthers quarterback Kyle Allen, an undrafted free agent from Houston, will start the season finale against the New Orleans Saints.Photo Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Rookie Kyle Allen will start at QB

The Carolina Panthers announced on Wednesday that undrafted rookie Kyle Allen will start at quarterback in the season finale against the New Orleans Saints after they placed Taylor Heinicke on the Injured Reserve List earlier in the day.

Heinicke sustained a left elbow injury last week in his starting debut as a pro against the Atlanta Falcons after the Panthers shut down starting quarterback Cam Newton for the last two games because of a shoulder injury.

Allen completed all four passes he threw for 38 yards after coming in when Heinicke was injured.

“Kyle had an opportunity to come in and play for a little bit of a quarter, and (I) thought he did a nice job,” head coach Ron Rivera said. “I thought his decision-making was good, I thought he threw some nice balls. He took pretty good control. It was kind of interesting to watch him, though.

“He has a tendency to walk toward the bench to get the signals, and we don’t have to signal anymore ’cause they’ve got the helmet (radio) hooked up. I think that’s a little something he’ll have to learn and get used to.”

Allen started three games for the University of Houston last season and played in 20 games at Texas A&M before transferring to Houston in January 2016.

Garrett Gilbert will back up Allen on Sunday against the Falcons after signing with the Panthers.

Although Newton has not been placed on injured reserve, there is no chance the Panthers will take a chance with their franchise quarterback in a meaningless final game to the season.