Commanders

Jon Allen has made jump from good defender to one of NFL's best

Commanders

When something is so consistently good — like the top-notch acting in "Succession" or the divine taste of Reese's peanut butter cups — there comes a point where it's easy to take that thing's quality for granted. 

With how well Jonathan Allen is playing this year, he's approaching that sort of zone — yet Washington Football Team fans can't allow Allen's efforts to be overlooked.

All the defensive lineman's done since signing a contract extension this past summer is make that deal look extremely intelligent for an organization that's rarely described that way and emerge as the defense's best and most consistent piece.

He got paid, and now he's getting better.

On Monday, Washington head coach Ron Rivera discussed why Allen's become so dangerous this year.

"He's physical at the point of attack, more so than anything else," Rivera said. "You get a lot of guys that stutter and float looking for an opportunity. Jonathan just goes forward and it's the quickest route to the quarterback... When he's doing that, he's having success."

Through nine games, Allen has compiled six sacks, eight tackles for loss and 20 quarterback hits. Per Pro Football Focus, he has graded out as the sport's third-best interior defensive linemen in 2021, behind only Pittsburgh's Cam Heyward and Los Angeles' Aaron Donald.

On Sunday against Tampa, while Allen didn't officially take Tom Brady down, he walloped him on the game's first third-down attempt and later flew through the Buccaneers' offensive line to force another harried incompletion. He was a major factor on a few other snaps as well — including Brady's second interception — as evidenced by this compilation of his best reps:

 

Anyone else feeling thankful right about now that they don't play center or guard in the NFL?

One thing that's become very obvious in watching Allen work the past few months is how powerful he is with his hands. The 26-year-old has no issue executing a classic rush, but his ability to bat away his matchup on the way to the opposing signal caller is deadly, too.

"He's got a tremendous hump move," Rivera said of No. 93. "I don't want to compare it to Reggie White's, but it's still a pretty good hump move. It gives him a chance to get vertical and get into the quarterback's lap and cause some problems."

If you're wondering what a hump move is, here's footage of White going to it time and time again. Keep your eye on Allen in the future, because as Rivera pointed out, he's developed a pretty devastating replica of his own.

Unfortunately, with Chase Young out until 2022 and Montez Sweat still sidelined for at least a couple more weeks, the attention on Allen will be as heavy as ever. Even with those two in the lineup, the front as a whole was underperforming, and with them gone, Allen will especially be relied on to keep contributing. 

Nothing up to this portion of the schedule suggests Allen won't be capable of delivering, however. The hot start he got off to to begin the season has simply turned into the norm for him. Washington doesn't make sound investments that often, but in Allen, the franchise got it right.