Jaguars DC Mike Caldwell needs OLB Josh Allen to be best in the league

Linebacker Josh Allen (41) of the Jacksonville Jaguars. [Bob Self/Florida Times-Union]
Linebacker Josh Allen (41) of the Jacksonville Jaguars. [Bob Self/Florida Times-Union] /

Not long ago, Jacksonville Jaguars outside linebacker Josh Allen said he wants to be the best defender in the league, and that’s precisely what defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell needs him to be in the 2022 NFL season.

Caldwell met with the local media on Day 5 of training camp and recalled telling Allen when they first met that he needs him to be the best. He argues that anything less than that isn’t acceptable for a player with Allen’s talent.

"When we first met, he asked me what I want out of him, I said, “you need to be the best in the league”.  He has the talent, that should be his expectation, nothing less. And he’s been working, he’s committed to it and we’re just going to continue to push him and let him be the best he can be."

Allen said earlier this year that he has “super high expectations” for the 2022 season and the Jaguars probably do as well. Although he logged 10.5 sacks and made the Pro Bowl in his rookie year, he’s only had 10 in the last two years. The former Kentucky Wildcat has played at an elite level at times but he still has to make strides if he wants to join the top tier of NFL pass rushers.

The Jaguars expect big things from Josh Allen because he’s capable

Allen does have the talent to be one of the best defenders in the league and he’s displayed it at times However, he needs to have a breakout year in 2022 and become a franchise building block for the Jags.

You could make the case that Mike Caldwell and Jacksonville are setting the bar too high for Allen but that’s what you expect from your best players. Keep in mind that he’s the Jaguars’ best defensive player, not a third-string linebacker competing for a roster spot, so more is needed from a player in his position.

Whenever Allen was at his best last year, the Jaguars won. He made key plays in each of Jacksonville’s three wins, and if he can consistently cause disruption at the line of scrimmage and get to opposing quarterbacks more often, the whole defense will play better.

The Jags showed they think Allen can be a difference-maker when they picked up the fifth-year option in his rookie deal earlier this year. With Urban Meyer no longer in Jacksonville and fully healthy ahead of the 2022 season, there’s a good chance Allen will live up to expectations.

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