Jaguars OLB Josh Allen having bounce-back season, setting the tone

Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Josh Allen (41) at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Josh Allen (41) at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports /

After the Jacksonville Jaguars fell to the Washington Commanders in the season opener, outside linebacker Josh Allen said the loss hurt because of how hard the team prepared for the game. Since then, the Jags have turned the corner and are 2-0 ahead of their Week 4 matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles. Allen is a big reason why.

The former Kentucky Wildcat was the Jaguars’ highest-graded player in their 38-10 win over the Los Angeles Chargers. Moreover, he logged a team-high 10 pressure and currently leads the league in total pressure with 16. Lastly, his 90.7 PFF overall grade ranks sixth in the league among edge rushers (defensive ends, outside linebackers).

A first-round pick in the 2019 draft, Allen made the Pro Bowl in his rookie campaign after logging 10.5 sacks and four forced fumbles. However, a knee injury limited him to eight games in 2020 and he wasn’t 100 percent when he played.

Allen was expected to bounce back in 2021 and he kind of did. He played at an elite level at times and was named the AFC Defensive Player of the Week following the Jags’ upset win over the Buffalo Bills. On the other hand, he faded down the stretch and didn’t have the same kind of impact he had early in the season.

Some of Allen’s inconsistency can be traced back to Urban Meyer’s dysfunctional regime but he also took responsibility before the start of the 2022  season and has shined under head coach Doug Pederson and defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell. After three weeks, the Virginia native leads the Jags’ defense with two sacks and two forced fumbles.

Josh Allen is leading the Jaguars’ defensive renaissance in 2022

The Jaguars’ defense has only registered seven sacks this season but they more than make up for it with eight takeaways, the most in the league after three weeks. Furthermore, they rank third in points scored one year after finishing near the cellar in most defensive (and offensive categories) and Allen had played a big role in the turnaround.

Of course, Allen isn’t the only impact player on the Jaguars. Travon Walker, Dawuane Smoot, Roy Robertson-Harris, and Arden Key have also played an important role in pressuring opposing quarterbacks in 2022. Smoot recently met with the local media and said that players are competing with each other to get after the quarterback.

“It’s a race to the quarterback each time, with Arden out there, Travon with Josh, it’s a race”, Smoot said. “So we’re just trying to get there as soon as we can. Because we know the next guy he’s gonna be right behind us”.

The Jaguars’ offense has improved considerably this season but so has the defense with Josh Allen leading the way. If they keep playing the way they have against the Eagles, they might be able to come out of the Linc with their third win of the year, even if the odds aren’t in their favor.

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