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Breaking down every one of Brandon Allen's passes against Atlanta


Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

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.

Pass #1:

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.

Pass #2:

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 #3:

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 #4:

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 #5:

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 #6:

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 #7:

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 #8:

This is my favorite combo ever. No need for further explanation.

Pass #9:

See above.

Pass #10:

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 #11:

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 #12:

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 #13:

Allen targets Walters in the flats, but the pass is batted down at the line.

Pass #14:

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:

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:

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:

As simple of a play as it is, Allen times this pass perfectly and connects with Evans on the curl route.

Pass #18:

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:

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:

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:

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:


Pass #23:

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:

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 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:

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.

#MyBackupQB, folks.