You might have probably heard that there’s no such thing as an offseason in the NFL due to all the events, such as the Scouting Combine and the draft, that take place year-round. Similarly, players need to stay in shape and prepare for the physical and mental rigors of the game. This is true for Jacksonville Jaguars outside linebacker Josh Allen, who isn’t taking any breaks and is working on becoming a dominant pass rusher.
Allen knows he’s under pressure to deliver in 2022 and has spent the offseason training, per Michael DiRocco of ESPN. He trained at EXOS and Train Station in Phoenix earlier this year and later attended Von Miller’s annual pass-rush summit. That’s a pretty busy schedule, especially when you take into account that most players prefer to spend the early offseason resting and vacationing. But Allen could afford to stop, as he needed to find himself.
"I was really trying to craft myself, really trying to just find myself again… Find that mentality. Find my mindset of how I want to approach the game again because I felt like I lost that…"
In Allen’s defense, he’s still the talented player he was when he logged 10.5 sacks and made the Pro Bowl as a rookie. However, he’s faced a rough path in the NFL. He suffered a knee injury in 2020 that limited his availability and impact that season. And last season was one that was taxing for every single Jaguars player due to the Urban Meyer debacle. Although he was dominant at times, he faded down the stretch and finished the year with 7.5 which is good but not what you expect from a premier pass rusher.
The Jaguars need Josh Allen to become a dominant pass rusher (again)
It looks like things are looking up for Allen. He says he feels like he’s “moving better than he has in a while”, per DiRocco. Similarly, teammate and fellow edge rusher Dawuane Smoot believes Allen has become a more vocal leader and can sense a difference. Moreover, the Jaguars’ brass will take some pressure off his shoulders this upcoming season, as they’ve fortified their front seven over the past few months. Besides signing defensive end Arden Key, Jacksonville used the first overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft on Travon Walker.
Even though Allen won’t be the lone edge rusher, he will be still expected to make a huge impact. The front office picked up the fifth-year option on his rookie deal, so it’s clear they see him as a player to build around. Of course, he needs to deliver in 2022. He didn’t crack Pro Football Focus edge rusher ranking and he landed at No. 25 on Pro Football Network’s and it wasn’t because of a lack of talent. After all, he wreaked havoc against the Buffalo Bills and the Indianapolis Colts last season. That’s the kind of performance the Jags need from the seventh overall pick in the 2019 draft.
The Jaguars are currently in the process of rebuilding, and they need their core players to step up if they want to make strides this upcoming season. Trevor Lawrence must do it on offense and Josh Allen has to take the lead on the other side of the ball.