Jaguars Training Camp 2019: Josh Allen gets his chance
By David Levin
After being held out of both OTAs and minicamp, Jaguars rookie Josh Allen takes the field at training camp.
Except for the first OTA of the 2019 season, we haven’t seen Jacksonville Jaguars rookie defensive and Josh Allen on the practice field.
A knee contusion kept him out of the nine organized practices and minicamp. The team decided to be cautious in bringing their top prize in the NFL draft along slowly as to make sure he is good for the start of training camp.
On Thursday, the No. 7 pick in the 2019 NFL draft will be on display and ready to show the fans and the coaching staff why he could be the steal of the selection process.
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With Allen on the sidelines, and Yannick Ngakoue not participating in part of the team is OTA‘s and a mandatory minicamp, we saw how thin the Jaguars pass rush could be. Regardless of preseason predictions and accolades about how good this unit should be, there are still lingering questions whether Todd Wash’s group can return to its 2017 form.
Allen needs to be a big part of that.
The local and national media have had their eyes on other Jaguars who need to show vast improvement from last season. But no player on this defense could be as important as the former Kentucky star.
Ngakoue was seen working out at the Jaguars facilities last week, which lends to the idea that he will be at training camp. There is still a possibility he could be a holdout. This only strengthens Allen’s importance to this defense. The thought of both younger edge rushers, combined with Calais Campbell will give the Jaguars one of the most feared pass rushers in the league this year.
But everything must come together. That means Allen must prove from the start that he is every bit the player that analyst thought was one of the best pass rushers coming out of the draft. Ngakoue either needs to reach a new agreement with the Jaguars or set aside any discussion of a new deal so that it does not provide a distraction. Campbell must continue to play his best football as he approaches 33 years old.
Jacksonville’s success in 2017, where the defense finished second overall in the NFL, was predicated on the fact that Wash set up a base defense where defenders were able to get pressure on the quarterback regularly. Campbell and his teammates were able to finish second in the NFL without using blitz packages often.
Last season was a different story as the pass rush fell off, with Ngakoue’s and Campbell’s numbers dipping a bit. Where Josh Allen fits should determine what happens to how many plays Campbell has this season. With age comes the fear of his production dropping off even more. The rookie should be able to help keep him fresher toward the end of the season. He wasn’t drafted to play the big end position, but that may be something the team eliminates in time.
Allen has been in the discussion for preseason Defensive Rookie of the Year honors. I’m not expecting him to be a double-digit sack artist this season, but I do expect him to cause havoc on obvious passing downs.
And I don’t think it’s unheard of to think that Jacksonville will get 35 to 38 sacks out of this trio. The addition of Dom Capers as a senior defensive advisor should be a benefit to Josh Allen and everyone on this defense.