Washington Football

Washington Football

Before it became really hard to get to know someone, Jonathan Allen did have a few chances to get to know Ron Rivera.

First, there was Rivera's introductory presser back in January, an event that Allen attended. In fact, he sat in the front row, just a few feet from the podium where Rivera initially laid out his plans for turning around the entire franchise, and chatted with him briefly afterward.

And on a Zoom call with reporters on Wednesday, Allen explained that he and his wife have gone out to dinner with Rivera and Rivera's wife, which gave Allen a unique opportunity to truly hone in on what the 58-year-old is like. 

Thanks to those experiences as well as the virtual interactions the two have shared throughout the offseason, Allen finds himself quite invested in the Redskins' new leader.

"I love him," Allen said Wednesday. "I love everything I'm hearing from him, I'm loving everything I'm hearing from other players... He seems like the type of guy we need in Washington to help get this culture changed and turned around for the better."

Even from an outside view, it's easy to imagine why Allen and Rivera are already clicking. The former is about as serious as it gets when it comes to players on the Burgundy and Gold, and the latter emphasizes serious things like competition and accountability. 

Was there small talk during their exclusive dinner? Almost assuredly. But it also wouldn't be too surprising if they sat down and immediately started discussing how to split a double team using the table's forks and knives.

 

So, while the instant chemistry isn't a total shock, it still is promising.

"It was easy to get behind and believe everything he was preaching and everything he was saying about what he wanted to do as a coach," Allen said.

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Rivera isn't the only new foundational piece for the organization, however. Chase Young is now also a part of the plan, and he's someone Allen will be working closely with for the near and hopefully distant future. 

Turns out, Allen has met with Young, too, in what was another positive interaction in the eyes of the fourth-year pro. Allen texted Young the night he was drafted to congratulate him, and the next day, Young made an hour drive to spend time with Allen and Matt Ioannidis.

"We just hung out and talked. It was really informal," Allen told the media. "He just had a couple of questions, what it was like coming from college to the NFL, just basic questions that a rookie would ask. And after that we just had some dinner and just kicked it."

Between what he expects Rivera to bring to the sidelines and Young to contribute on the field, Allen is allowing himself to think big for the Redskins in 2020.

"I'm super excited," he said. "When you get a guy of [Young's] caliber, it's definitely immediately going to make an impact for your team. But I'm just really excited about what we've done in the last couple of years, the pieces we've built. We're young, we have a great coaching staff, we have a great core of players."

Before the end of that quote, though, the all-business side of Allen kicked in again. He knows that optimism in the spring means nothing when the fall begins. That's why he returned to a statement he's said often during his time with the Redskins, and one he's rightly sticking with even among the newfound hope.

"We have to go out there and do it."

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