A captain, leader, grizzled vet in a second-year player’s body. Regardless of how you describe Jaguars defensive end Josh Allen, he has all of those traits.
A first-time captain of the team this season, as voted by his peers, one thing has been made clear: the Jaguars may have a new heart for their team, and defense following the departure of defensive lineman Calais Campbell, traded by the team in March.
Selected with the seventh-overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, Allen has been everything the Jaguars could ask for in a player, accumulating 10.5 sacks in his rookie season, leading all players selected in last year’s draft, including second-overall pick Nick Bosa. Leading by example, Allen has become a vocal player on the team’s defense, according to linebacker Joe Schobert.
“I think he’s doing a great job stepping up and being a vocal leader on the field, getting guys pumped up for practice. I can’t wait to see him on game day,” Schobert told members of the media via Microsoft Teams on Thursday.
“You can tell he takes his job, his craft, extremely seriously and he gets the other guys on the defense to along with him. Whether it’s staying after practice, working on extra moves, or talking after meetings just to make sure everybody’s dotting their I’s, crossing their T’s. He does a good job with all that stuff.”
The Jaguars are currently the youngest team in the NFL with an average age of 24.9, according to Philly Voice’s Jimmy Kimpski, the defense boasts one of the youngest secondaries in the NFL with rookies at all levels of the defense, including three at cornerback. While its leader is young, the team will need to have at least one player to gravitate to, and it seems as if Allen is that player.
“I was a little surprised, but then it was like not surprising,” Allen said of being selected as one of the team’s eight captains. “Like I’ve said [regarding leadership] …. I can just do what I can do. I pride myself on just being a competitor, working hard, showing my teammates that I am a guy you can depend on and they put trust in myself in being a guy they can follow and someone who wants what’s best for them and the team.”
Many players have left the Jaguars on a sour note. Dating back to cornerback Jalen Ramsey, leading up to safety Ronnie Harrison. Players seemingly have felt good about their departures, ready to leave whatever situation they were put in while being in Jacksonville. For Allen, he’s “all in” with the team, and wouldn’t have it any other way.
“Personally, when I’m all in, I’m all in,” said Allen. “The Jacksonville Jaguars took a chance on me, picking me up at [7th overall in the 2019 NFL Draft]. So, I knew once then going to do my all just to bring that standard back high, and bring this team success, and that’s just something I pride myself on.”
Earlier this week, Allen posted on Twitter that he was “glad” to be a Jacksonville Jaguar, sharing his excitement with the team’s fan base, that appeared to be a counter to the Tweets, and posts, other players have made in recent weeks.
#Jaguars DE @JoshAllen41_ has a message for Duval:— Demetrius Harvey (@Demetrius82) September 10, 2020
"I'm all in and I feel like my teammates know that, and [I] hope Duval knows that, and hopefully I can be here for a very long time and help change the franchise now, next year, three years, 10 years, who knows how long." pic.twitter.com/rFUbWHJ4ce
“Just the way guys leave and not feel that way about the team giving them an opportunity just kinda puts me in a bad spot because not a lot of people in this world get to have an opportunity like we have, and just having the opportunity for this team to come pick you up is a blessing in all.”
“I want this city to know that they have a guy that’s passionate about this team, that’s passionate about this city, that’s passionate about all these teammates, coaches and everybody included. So, like I said, I’m all in and I feel like my teammates know that, and hope Duval knows that and hopefully I can be here for a very long time and help change the franchise now, next year, three years, 10 years, who knows how long.”
Allen has become the vocal leader Campbell was to this team last year, and it appears that won’t be a bad thing. All in with the team, all in with the city, the Jaguars’ best pass rusher is ready to prove his role as the season goes on.
“Now, I just have to hold it with pride and put that work in for the boys. I want them to trust me that I’m going to be there every play no matter what.”