Can Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Josh Allen take what he did during his rookie season with the team and build on it for a monster 2020 campaign?
What does Jacksonville Jaguars rush end Josh Allen do for an encore? After a rookie season where he recorded 10.5 sacks to lead the team and was all over the field helping with the pass rush and playing the run when the team could stop running backs, even more, is expected from the former seventh pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.
Allen should be able to deliver.
The Jaguars will use a different look on defense, combining a 3-4 implement to their traditional 4-3 base. This will allow Allen, who also played linebacker at the University of Kentucky, to move around more where defensive coordinator Todd Wash will take advantage of his speed.
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At 6-foot-5 and 262 pounds, he is one of the fastest linemen in the NFL and figures to improve his pass-rushing skills in his second stint in the league. There wasn’t much Allen didn’t do last season, as one of the bright spots on a rather pedestrian defensive roster.
Allen didn’t get the credit he deserved from the national media last year as San Francisco’s Joey Bosa captured most of their attention. While Bosa did help his team reach the Super Bowl, it was Allen who posted similar numbers while the Jacksonville Jaguars defense could not find its way during the majority of the season.
With the Jaguars changing their game plan, adding veterans to the defense and Todd Wash once again under a very big microscope, can the team improve defensively and will Allen, who is one of a handful of holdovers from the 2019 unit, make a big impression this year?
Here are three realistic expectations for Allen in 2020.
Team Sack Record
The 10.5 sacks Allen registered last season broke the rookie record set by Yannick Ngakoue in 2016. The idea of the two young pass rushers playing together again this season (If Ngakoue signs his franchise tag tender) could make life miserable for opposing quarterbacks.
Ngakoue had eight sacks last season, but offensive linemen turned their attention to him more, which opened lanes for Allen on the right side. This year could be a little different. And with K’Lavon Chaisson added in the NFL Draft last month, Wash now has three young players to work his scheme with.
Look for Allen to have a monster season, recording at least 15 sacks, which would break the record for the season held by Calais Campbell.
Defensive Player of the Year
Yes, you read that right. The motivation of being ignored by the media may light a fire under Allen. He already has a Pro Bowl nod on his resume, which is a nice way to be welcomed to the NFL. That means players and coaches watched him play last season and are well aware of his attributes.
There are plenty of defensive stars in this league. Add Allen’s name to that list. Campbell had as good a run with the Jacksonville Jaguars as any defensive player to ever put on a team uniform. Now, it’s time for Allen to fill the role of big-game player and best player on the defensive side of the ball.
The Jaguars may not win many games this season, but the defense should be improved. And if the former seventh pick in the Draft sets records, he will add the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year to his trophy case.
I don’t know if this happens but look for Allen to take on more of a leadership role with the team. That means he will need to be a vocal leader in the locker room and on the field.
Campbell, Abry Jones, A.J. Bouye, and others have filled that role in recent seasons. Now that the roster has changed, a younger regime will need a leader. Allen already has shown the willingness to work hard, learn, and continue to grow.
The Jacksonville Jaguars are building for the future and Allen is one of the cornerstone pieces the organization plans to have onboard for years to come. His teammates should rally around his play. This is why being honored as a team captain is a real possibility.