Defensive end Josh Allen as the Jaguars rookie sack record in his sights.
New York Jets quarterback might have had nightmares Sunday night of Josh Allen, along with Yannick Ngakoue abusing him in the backfield as they did in a 29-15 victory for the Jacksonville Jaguars. The tandem pass rushers have been as dominant a duo as any in the NFL the past two weeks and will have a chance to duplicate their success this weekend in London against the Houston Texans.
Ngakoue is finally playing the brand of football he has displayed in his first three seasons here in Jacksonville after a slow start due to a hamstring injury. Allen has been everything the Jaguars could have hoped for in a rookie pass rusher, who leads the team with seven and offers another dimension of speed off the edge that keeps tackles on their toes.
The Jaguars will have two of the most feared defensive ends in the NFL once they lock the former Maryland star (Ngakoue) up to a long-term deal. Allen is just beginning to make his mark on this league, but opponents already know how good he could be.
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"“I just felt so bad about myself because I know I’m going to be a great player and I know that was going to hit me, so I just had to get my mind right,” Allen said via ESPN.com. “Little mistakes that I normally don’t make that I was making and just me knowing what I’m supposed to do but not doing it. It was hard for me to swallow that because I’m going to be my worst critic.“I wanted to show the coaches that on Sundays I’m going to be here to play.”"
The defense has proven to be as effective in the past two weeks as it was in 2017, recording 15 sacks and six turnovers, which Todd Wash, the Jaguars defensive coordinator, told the media last week he hopes they come in bunches now that the unit has become more focused.
Allen fell to the seventh pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, a spot the Jaguars never figured they would be fortunate to grab the talented edge rusher from Kentucky. He hasn’t slowed down since training camp and has shown speed, quickness and strength moving linemen who outweigh him by as much as 50-60 pounds.
Now, he has some history in front of him as he walks into London approached the rookie sack record held by Ngakoue.
"“Did they expect Allen to be in a position to break Yannick Ngakoue’s rookie sack record (eight in 2016) and become the first rookie in franchise history to record double-digit sacks? Did they think that by midseason, Allen would be on pace to come up just short of Calais Campbell’s franchise-record 14.5 sacks from 2017? (That number, by the way, also happens to be the NFL’s single-season rookie record, set by Jevon Kearse in 1999.),” Michael DiRocco explains."
If the Jaguars are going to get back to their “roots” of running the football with Leonard Fournette and calling on the defense to play in dominant fashion, there is no reason to think both Allen and Ngakoue won’t be part of that success. Once these two were on the field – healthy and focused – everything seemed to gel properly.
It’s another reason to believe the Jaguars are moving in the right direction after a rocky start to 2019. It’s another reason why Sacksonville is third in the NFL in sacks this season and on pace for 58 sacks this season, eclipsing the mark of 55 in 2017.