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Interview: Defensive Tackle Jonathan Allen

via Redskins

May 20, 2020

On if he has met Coach Rivera and if so how many times has be talked with him:

“I met him [Head Coach Ron Rivera] as soon as we signed him. I was at his press conference. I met him one time before that and me and my wife took him and his wife to dinner. My first impressions, I love him. I love everything I’m hearing from him, I’m loving everything I’m hearing from other players and other former teammates. He seems like the type of guy that we need in Washington, to help get this culture change and turn things around for the better.”

On if there was anything that jumped out in particular to him about Rivera:

“I don’t think there was just one thing in particular, it was easy to get behind and believe in everything he was preaching and everything he was saying about what he wanted to do as a coach and as the leader of the Washington Redskins.”

On what he has gotten out of the Zoom meetings with his position group thus far:

“It’s definitely weird. I feel like the best thing is, since we are a new team, is it is a whole new playbook for everybody. So, the biggest thing that I’ve been able to take away from it is just, getting used to the playbook, getting used to the new terminology. I feel like the hardest thing with football is, a lot of the terms overlap from college to NFL, from different NFL teams. So, we’re having a lot of the same terminology, but different meanings. It’s really just the overlap in terminology and just getting used to the new scheme, the new roles and just everything.”

On his first impression of the new coaches and players:

“I haven’t talked to a lot of the new players just because a lot of them haven’t been here, but the coaches I have had contact with, I mean, they’ve heard nothing but great things. It’s hard to judge a guy before you actually get on the field and get a chance to talk to him and actually work hands on with him. And I understand he’s [Ron Rivera] a head coach, we probably won’t be seeing a lot of him as much as we will the defensive coordinator or the d-line coach, but just really seeing what he is on an everyday basis and not just in front of the camera, which, from what I’ve seen is the same person. But it’s really hard to get a feel for someone until you actually start getting your hands dirty with them.”

On moving forward and playing during the COVID-19 pandemic:

“I mean first things first, you definitely want to be safe. But as far as moving forward, I mean I have full faith in our medical staff, so I mean, it’s really what they determine and what the NFL determines is safe for us to move forward with. That’s really all I can think about, it’s just so much for one person to even try to comprehend that it’s not even worth it, you know? Just pray for the players that do have it and do everything you can to take the precaution to be safe.”

On his impression of DE Chase Young:

“After he got drafted I just texted him congrats, looking forward to working with him. And then he reached out to me the next day and asked if he could come through for a little bit because he is a local guy, I think he’s like an hour away from where I live. So he came over, [DT] Matt [Ioannidis] came over, we just hung out and talked, it was really informal. Nothing really went down, he just had a couple questions like what was it like coming from college to the NFL, just basic questions that a rookie would ask. After that we just had some dinner and just kicked it. Like I said, it was really informal, didn’t really talk about anything in particular just really getting to know each other.”

On how excited he is to play with Young:

“I’m super excited. Whenever you get a guy with that caliber it’s definitely immediately going to make an impact for your team. I’m just really excited about what we’ve done in the last couple of years and the pieces we’ve built. We’re young, we have a great coaching staff, we have a great core of players, so I’m excited about the possibilities of what we can do. We have to go out there and do it, but, there’s definitely a lot of potential for us to go out there and have a good season.”

On how he thinks the changes that Coach Rivera and Coach Del Rio plan on making will affect the defensive line:

“I think it will give us the ability to be more aggressive at times, it’s kind of hard to say because people assume that going from a 3-4 to a 4-3 is going to be a big difference, but I think 50, or 55 or 60 percent of the time last year, we were in a 4-3. So I feel like the biggest thing is the technique that we’re being taught to play out of that 4-3. I mean, I don’t know. I haven’t played in a 4-3 since high school, so I’m excited about the opportunity and I really think it’s going to be good for us just to really let [DE] Chase [Young], [DE] Montez [Sweat], [DE] Ryan Anderson, [DE Ryan] Kerrigan, just let those guys go and let the defensive line go, be free, and I’m excited to see what we can do.”

On if he gets the sense that the new scheme and plan is going to be more aggressive:

“100 percent. If you look at the mentality from the defensive line we’ve always had that aggression so that’s nothing new for us. But, you can definitely feel that sense of pressure and the type of play style that we’re going to have this upcoming season, so I’m excited for it.”

On how high the ceiling is for the defense based on the talent they have on paper:

“I think our ceiling has always been as high as we want it to be, you know. I really don’t get too caught up on what we can do I just get caught up on what we have done. We just have a lot to prove. So I’m just keeping our heads down and we’re just working, we’ll see what happens come season time. But there’s a long way to go until the game. We still have to meet for the first time and actually do field work together and go through training camp which will probably be a new experience that none of us have ever been through. There’s a lot of steps we have to take before we get to dominating on the field and you’ve just got to focus on what you can do right now.”

On what areas he felt like the defense needed to improve upon and how he thinks this new scheme can help in that regard:

“I don’t think it was really the scheme that messed us up last year, I think it was just individually, and as a collective group as a defense, we just weren’t consistent. I mean we would have games like the [San Francisco] 49ers, and the [New England] Patriots for a part of it where we would play really well. Then we’d have games like, I don’t know, the [Philadelphia] Eagles and the [Dallas] Cowboys where we’d come out and give up 30 points defensively so I really don’t think it was anything huge that was making us, that contributed to our struggle in the last year. I think it was just being consistent and just not doing the little things in a day-in and day-out basis, that contributed to us losing.”

On how much time he has spent with Coach Del Rio is Zoom meetings:

“So I actually played with Jack Del Rio’s son in college, so I know a little bit about him before he even came back. But everything I’ve heard, I mean his track record speaks for itself, it’s been nothing short of fantastic. We’ve had a decent amount of interaction with him. He hops into our Zoom meetings honestly, more often than not. He’s just there just talking ball, talking football, and just trying to make sure we’re getting on the same page because we want to be able to hit the ground running come training camp.”

On what he is planning on doing later today:

“I’m golfing. I’ve been golfing a lot lately. I’m about to head to the golf course.”

On what he has been doing to stay active during the lockdown:

“Honestly yeah. I’ve been trying to do anything just to stay active and stay fit. I mean I work out every day, but it gets pretty boring because usually, I mean, I get done with workouts by 12 o’clock, and we have meetings from 12-2, so from 2 o’clock on I’m literally doing nothing. Just trying to do something to get out of the house and keep my mind sharp and just not get so bored, because there’s really nothing to do out here.”

On what he has been working on during the lockdown:

“I really feel like it starts with my work ethic in the offseason. I’m a firm believer of if you want to have a good season you’ve got to have a good offseason. I’m doing everything I can to eat right, sleep better this offseason, just do everything I can to make sure I’m in the best possible shape. And really just try to use quarantine as an opportunity for me to get ahead of the game and get ahead of my competition a little bit with how hard I’m training, so those are some of the things I’ve been doing. Besides that, I’m just, it’s really hard because it’s something I’ve never done before, so I’m really just trying to, like I said, make sure I’m in the best shape possible and really hit the ground running when training camp does start, or whenever we get together.”

On what he is hoping for in terms of sports going forward in America given the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic:

“Well I mean first and foremost I’m definitely hoping to play the season which I think we will, I couldn’t imagine us not playing a season. But like I said earlier, I’m just trying to take this as an opportunity to get ahead of my competition in any way I can. And make sure that I ramp up my training and make sure this is the best offseason of training that I’ve ever had, that way I’m in that much better shape come training camp. And that’ll just help me play that much better this upcoming season.”

On if he has spoken to any athletes in other sports during the lockdown:

“I haven’t talked to too many, honestly I really haven’t. Yeah, no. I’m trying to think, I really haven’t talked to too many athletes just because the free time I do get I’m trying to spend it with my wife, or I’m golfing, or I’m either working out, running, or in Zoom meetings. So honestly not too much contact with a lot of other athletes in other sports.”

On how he has taken strides in the Esports world during the lockdown:

“I do, I stream a lot more than I have. I’ve probably been streaming, probably like, I want to say, 20 or 25 hours a week. Documentary, or production on one of the documentaries I’m a co-producer on, from my e-gaming side of my agency. We just finished the final form, we’re just trying to make sure we’re doing all that stuff, but for the most part is, I’m really just trying to focus down on football. This is the time we were going to be in OTAs, we would’ve already had multiple minicamps already. So I’m really trying to do anything I can to lock down on football, so yeah, I’m putting a lot of time into streaming but not as much as people may think just because I’m trying to use this time to really lock down on what I can, and to help me get ready for the upcoming season because it will be here before we know it.”

On his impression of Defensive Line Coach Sam Mills III:

“I like Sam Mills a lot. I mean, it’s definitely my first year without Jim Tom[sula], but he definitely taught me enough over the course of the last three years that will help me for the rest of my career and I appreciate him for it. But I look at Sam Mills as having an opportunity to learn new techniques and new schemes that will help me develop my play even that much better. So I’m looking forward to the opportunity. I can’t wait to get on the field and actually start working hands on with him because as a defensive line, it’s hard to really get a lot of technique through a Zoom call, you know what I mean. So I’m looking forward to the opportunity, trying to take everything I can, and just trying to improve myself as a player.”

On how much better he thinks the communication on defense will be with the new defensive staff:

“I definitely think it can be a lot better. For whatever reason it was a problem. I’m not sure what that reason was because I’m on the front end. I’m not at that spot in my career yet where I can focus on what I have to do and also focus on what the DBs have to do, so a lot of the time I had no idea why the miscommunication kept occurring, but I just try to make sure that I do my job at a higher level to help them out in any way that I can. But, I mean, I’m definitely sure it’s going to be something that we address, and I’m sure he’s already addressed it, Coach Del Rio, and, I mean, I’m just going to have to see how it comes out Week 1. But like I said, we have a lot of time before that, a lot of practices, a lot of walkthroughs, so many things we have to do before that. So we’ll see how it turns out this season.”

On the team picking up his fifth-year option:

“I’m excited. Like I said, just being in my hometown area, I love Washington. But I also understand that it’s a business, so I’m super excited that they felt that I was worth it that they extended my future option too.”

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