Players and coaches rarely see much value in looking at seasons in rear-view mirrors. But sometimes there is value is identifying the problems of the past, understanding them and moving in right ways to distance oneself from them.
So it is for Jared Allen, on track for Hall of Fame discussion as a hand-on-the-ground defensive end but who now is looking at an entirely new way of playing his position in an entirely different defensive system.
Also new, however, is the mood around a Bears defense that once was a unit with earned swagger but which sagged into a woeful spiral over the past two seasons. Allen was part of all that last year, his first as a Bear, and the change has energized him.
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“Sometimes when you go through misery, you see the light, and everybody has to take ownership,” Allen said on Wednesday. “For all the guys who are still here, we have to take ownership in our part in that. I think everybody did that.
“It just kind of really refreshed me, especially coming off from last year where, I’ll be real honest, mentally I never really experienced that in my career and I had to own that. I told the guys, that wasn’t me and to be back and to challenge mentally and be a part of something that’s bigger than just individual. It’s truly a team. The entire energy is different around here. It’s really cool to just walk in here. So that breeds that competition and just excitement. So for me it’s just kind of at 12 years in to kind of start over, it’s real cool.”