If you once told me I was going to breakdown the film of a third string quarterback and write a persuasive article about a team's 5th receiver and why he should make the roster in the same week, I'd have called you insane.
Here we are.
Jaguars third string and 2016 sixth round draft pick, QB Brandon Allen, got the nod to start on Thursday when the team traveled to Atlanta to play the Falcons in their last preseason game of 2016. He played very well, limiting his mistakes and displayed his potential -- just enough to ensure himself a spot on the Jaguars final roster. His final stats were 17-26 passing with two touchdowns, one interception, and a QB rating of 92.5.
Fans were starting to question whether or not Allen should make the final roster before the game, thinking the team should use the spot elsewhere. It's just not logical, the team invested a draft pick on him when they're already set at quarterback, so it's clear they want Allen here long term. They don't, and shouldn't, want to let him test waivers when there are QB-hungry teams on the market who could potentially claim him.
His performance on Thursday demonstrated exactly why the team wants to keep Allen here and develop him. Let's get to the film.
*Hanxed it note: The play number is out of order in my tweets. The real play number is in bold above each GIF. Passes negated by penalties are included, so the number of plays may not equal Allen's final stats.
Since I missed it, here's Allen's first pass last night. 3-tech was in his face and he tried to push the pass left pic.twitter.com/eSY1kvtqy4— Zach Goodall (@zach_goodall) September 2, 2016
Allen's first pass of the night fell incomplete. The Falcons' 3-tech was in Allen's face and forced him to push the ball too far left, out of his receiver's reach.
Allen rolls on a play action to find Bryan Walters in the flats. Allen struggled with giving receivers leverage to turn up field in leading his short-yardage passes throughout the game, but this was a textbook flat play.
Pass #2: Allen takes his first snap in the gun and connects with Shaq Evans pic.twitter.com/0yMZAUenk4— Zach Goodall (@zach_goodall) September 2, 2016
Allen and Shaq Evans held a nice connection throughout the night, including here where Allen finds Evans near the sideline on a well placed throw on a curl route. Another first down.
Pass #3: Allen is patient and rolls a bit to connect with Denard on the screen. Negated by offensive PI pic.twitter.com/EdJc6BKdik— Zach Goodall (@zach_goodall) September 2, 2016
On Sunday night, we watched Blake Bortles and the first team fail to execute on a horribly run screen pass. The play above, where Allen targets Denard Robinson, is much better. Allen is patient and even rolls out while facing pressure, to ensure Robinson has space to turn up field.
Pass #4: Allen connects with Bowman on the short curl. Pass should've been thrown a bit quicker so Bowman could move pic.twitter.com/FPs51uRpan— Zach Goodall (@zach_goodall) September 2, 2016
Allen has a clean pocket here, and should have targeted tight end Braedon Bowman a bit earlier here. Bowman may not have gotten much further with a quicker pass, but that split second could have allowed Bowman, who is a very quick player, to turn up field rather than back and around to the right.
Pass #5: TD! Allen throws a perfect pass to Evans, who finishes the play in the endone. Textbook pass from the Allen pic.twitter.com/uerjB5Eewy— Zach Goodall (@zach_goodall) September 2, 2016
Allen's pass to Evans here was perfect. He spun the ball tightly in between two low-zone players and completely out of range of the defensive back covering Evans. Easy touchdown.
Pass #6: Allen throws a quick screen to Benn pic.twitter.com/ubmJvyjpZO— Zach Goodall (@zach_goodall) September 2, 2016
This was a designed screen pass to Benn. Not much to judge from Allen's end.
I mean, it was a nice quick pass, I guess. What am I doing with my life?
Pass #7: Allen finds Walters again. Move those chains, nice throw on a flat pic.twitter.com/5khxCl5i08— Zach Goodall (@zach_goodall) September 2, 2016
This is my favorite combo ever. No need for further explanation.
Pass #8: This Allen to Walters connection will never get old to me pic.twitter.com/kkPtPY2o6D— Zach Goodall (@zach_goodall) September 2, 2016
Pass #9: Man, this could have been a great play. Bad underthrow from Allen gets picked. Had the line but left short pic.twitter.com/a4pMMx1JAn— Zach Goodall (@zach_goodall) September 2, 2016
This play is where Allen's developmental problems begin to kick in.
Throughout the game, Allen's biggest struggles were stepping up in the pocket and leading his receivers on the receiving end of the ball -- both issues occur in this play, leading to an interception.
If Allen had stepped up even one step into the clean pocket (the bounce step doesn't count), this pass would have soared over the cornerback's head and ended up being a gain of at least 25 yards on the corner to Walters.
Pass #10: Allen throws this pass a bit high and behind in the flats to Bowman, but should have been caught pic.twitter.com/UiIYM0v06D— Zach Goodall (@zach_goodall) September 2, 2016
Allen targets Bowman in the flats, and his pass is slightly high and behind Bowman -- another poorly led pass. However, Bowman should have caught the pass.
Pass #11: Allen needs to step up to lead Evans in order to complete this pass pic.twitter.com/hcKdoplNBn— Zach Goodall (@zach_goodall) September 2, 2016
The defensive back tightly covers Evans here, but this is another play where Allen refuses to step up in a clean alley in the pocket. If Allen steps to make the pass, this ball would have been better placed outside and deep for Evans to make the play.
Pass #12: Batted down at the line pic.twitter.com/NzSvQ2Clrl— Zach Goodall (@zach_goodall) September 2, 2016
Allen targets Walters in the flats, but the pass is batted down at the line.
Pass #14: My favorite combination. Allen could have led Walters a bit more though, but doesn't really matter pic.twitter.com/1MlCzWTIc9— Zach Goodall (@zach_goodall) September 2, 2016
I hope the Jaguars run this play with Allen at QB and Walters at receiver just once during the regular season.
I love you, Jaguars. Please reciprocate and run this exact play this season. Thanks.
Pass #15: Again, Allen needs to lead his WRs more so they can turn up field, especially on an under route on 3rd dwn pic.twitter.com/P63x3D9aRI— Zach Goodall (@zach_goodall) September 2, 2016
Allen finds and targets Shane Wynn on an underneath route here, but doesn't lead Wynn to the ball, furthermore not letting Wynn find space. Passes like these need to lead the receiver more in order for him to cut upfield and gain more yardage.
Pass #16: Allen needs to be more comfortable stepping up in pocket. Steps, stutters, throws behind Evans pic.twitter.com/F80ZJhfRV2— Zach Goodall (@zach_goodall) September 2, 2016
If you haven't picked up on my problems with Allen's game yet, you need to. Pocket stepping and leading his receivers were his only problems during this game, but they were consistent problems.
Allen makes an initial step here, but then stutters and loses all the step-momentum in passing the ball, creating a wobbly, late pass. If Allen threw the ball on the initial step, Evans catches this ball and turns upfield.
Pass #17: Curl to Evans, perfectly timed to let him turn up field to get the first down pic.twitter.com/CAit31C8o1— Zach Goodall (@zach_goodall) September 2, 2016
As simple of a play as it is, Allen times this pass perfectly and connects with Evans on the curl route.
Pass #18: Allen throws off his back foot while facing pressure but gets the ball to Lawrence pic.twitter.com/55aceoKP6b— Zach Goodall (@zach_goodall) September 2, 2016
Allen couldn't step up on this play due to pressure from the interior rush, so he makes a nice back-footed throw to Rishard Lawrence, who converts for a first down.
Pass #19: Perfect throw near sideline, but Allen stared him down from the snap. A real defense would eat that up pic.twitter.com/m6j9r5o113— Zach Goodall (@zach_goodall) September 2, 2016
This pass is perfect from Allen on the corner to Lawrence. The only problem is that Allen stares down Lawrence from the snap until he releases the ball. A real defense would have read this like a book and likely would have intercepted the pass.
But, he was playing against the Falcons second and third team. Whatever.
Pass #20: Allen lets receivers drag the back six deep before finding Grant underneath pic.twitter.com/JRIwdt92Dk— Zach Goodall (@zach_goodall) September 2, 2016
This is another design play, where the four receivers send the back six defensive backs/linebackers deep in order to create space for Allen to target running back Corey Grant.
Pass 21: WYNN THE DAY BABY! Allen throws a tight ball right after the snap pic.twitter.com/1nCY6QlfVx— Zach Goodall (@zach_goodall) September 2, 2016
Another one of my favorite combinations, Allen completes this slant touchdown to the greatest Jaguar to ever wear the number 14, Shane Wynn.
Perfect read. Perfect tightly thrown pass. Perfect combination, if we're being honest. #WynnTheDay
Pass #22: Allen coverts 2PT conversion to Sterling, places ball outside where the defender can't get it pic.twitter.com/WzDhV1Vvd2— Zach Goodall (@zach_goodall) September 2, 2016
AND A TWO-POINT CONVERSION OUTSIDE TO NEAL STERLING TO PUT THE ICING ON THE CAKE!
Pass 23: Allen scans downfield before checking down to Banyard pic.twitter.com/64i2RatDYs— Zach Goodall (@zach_goodall) September 2, 2016
Allen scans the entire field after the play action, looking deep before dumping the ball off to Joe Banyard who makes a great cut and makes his way upfield.
Side note: I really hope Banyard makes this team. His performance all preseason/camp has been awesome, but that's for another time and film breakdown (I'm kidding).
Pass 24: Allen's pass is somehow caught by Lawrence. Tight, powerful pass but a bit behind pic.twitter.com/DeKMTJS2rt— Zach Goodall (@zach_goodall) September 2, 2016
This play is highlighted by the awesome catch by Lawrence, but it wasn't quite necessary.
Allen should have led the ball to the sideline to allow Lawrence to stay on his feet to catch the ball, but Allen once again did not step up into the pass.
Although Allen threw several passes behind target and didn't step into the pass enough, don't be alarmed now. Mistakes like that are bound to happen to a rookie, especially a sixth rounder. He will fine tune his game and fix these problems as his career progresses.
Pass 25: This was a perfect pass outside. Defender barely had Sterling's arm and it should have been caught. pic.twitter.com/uxMmJ52DwJ— Zach Goodall (@zach_goodall) September 2, 2016
This pass was perfect. For a second, I was convinced Bortles had thrown the ball on the corner route.
Perfect loft and accuracy -- this might have been Allen's best throw of the night. Unfortunately, it was for nothing, as the defensive back had a hold of Sterling's arm (barely, to be honest) -- holding him back from making the reception.
Pass 26: I don't know what this is. His biggest issues are leading and back-foot throws -- both are shown here pic.twitter.com/ovFykbLlIQ— Zach Goodall (@zach_goodall) September 2, 2016
Allen's last pass of the night once again displayed his issues of not stepping into a clean pocket and not leading his receiver. Fixable, but a problem nonetheless.
There you have it -- every single one of Brandon Allen's passes from Thursday night against the Falcons.
In conclusion, Brandon Allen was awesome. As I pointed out, he has consistent problems with stepping into his passes in a clean pocket, which leads to poor leads for his receivers. However, don't be alarmed by these problems -- he's a rookie; he's a sixth round backup quarterback project. They can be fixed. He's going to be just fine.
Anyways, if you ever questioned whether or not Allen would make the Jaguars final roster this year, I think Thursday's game should answer that thought for you: Brandon Allen's going to make this roster.