The cryptic tweets are behind us. Not being at practice is behind us, too.
The Jaguars’ Josh Allen reported for all three days of mandatory training camp this week and was all smiles once he was back with his team.
“It feels good to be back,” Allen said to reporters on Monday. “I was excited to walk back in. I felt the positive energy from the first time I stepped into this building again.”
While Allen was away from the team, he took his time to “focus on myself” during personal workouts in Arizona.
Though he was halfway across the country, Jaguars coaches Doug Pederson and Mike Caldwell both said they maintained solid contact with their fifth-year outside linebacker.
Part of Allen’s training while away was watching back every snap he played last year on film.
What he watched was a year where he produced seven sacks, four fumble recoveries and two pass deflections.
His sack numbers were down .5 from the year prior and were the second fewest since he entered the league.
While his production certainly was not bad, it was not good enough for the former first round pick.
“Last year wasn’t good enough,” Allen said. “You have to be real critical of yourself. I watched all the games and I was real critical. I know I need to not put that out there no more. That was my main focus this offseason, to grow as a player overall.”
When asked what it was that he wanted to improve specifically, Allen said he simply wants to be “an overall better player.”
As for how his coaches perceived him, Pederson said he was happy with what Allen had done to improve.
“He is in the right frame of mind,” Pederson said to reporters on Wednesday. “He looks good. You can tell he has been working and that is the encouraging part. I am encouraged by how enthusiastic he was to be here.”
Allen was the only holdout from Jaguars’ camp this year, as he and the front office navigate a potential future contract.
Currently, Allen is in the final year of a 4-year, $22.74 million deal. This year, he is slated to make $10.892 million on a fifth-year option.
The team reportedly was shopping Allen before last year’s trade deadline, but did not find a proper suitor.
Allen likely used his absence from OTAs to send a message that he wants a new deal with the team that drafted him in 2019, emulating that of tight end Evan Engram.
The linebacker said it was not a punishment for him to attend mandatory camp, and that when he arrived, he was ready to get to work.
“Everybody is ready to get challenged and I am ready to challenge these guys too,” Allen said.
Pederson said that having the veteran defensive leader can only help Allen, the team, and the coaching staff move forward toward the impending season.
“It is good for him to be here, for us as coaches, to put our eyes on him and see him and talk to him,” Pederson said. “He is in a good place right now.”
It will now be a waiting game between Allen and the team to see if he gets a new deal or plays on his existing one, as the Jaguars have finished their training until preseason workouts begin.
Whether it be in Arizona or back in Jacksonville, Allen is going to spend his time working.
“There is always room for improvement,” Allen said. “I am ready to take those next steps.”