'Exceptionally good': Jonathan Allen has been Washington's best defender so far

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'Exceptionally good' Allen is WFT's best defender so far originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

Through two games of the 2020 season, the Washington Football Team's best defender hasn't been Chase Young or Montez Sweat or William Jackson III or Landon Collins or Jamin Davis.

Jonathan Allen, who's already surpassed the sack total he put up last year, is the one who currently owns that title, thanks to how much he's been owning opposing offensive linemen to begin the schedule.

In Washington's hectic win on Thursday night versus the Giants, Allen recorded two sacks. Those two takedowns of Daniel Jones, plus the one he notched against Justin Herbert in Week 1, means he now has one more than the number he posted in 16 contests during the club's recent run to the NFC East title.

And yet, even though he's clearly performing at a level that exceeds the rest of coordinator Jack Del Rio's unit, Allen deflected any praise when asked about his hot start following the victory.

"I think it's easy for me to take all the credit, but I mean, if we're being honest, I think sacks are very situational," Allen said. "Out of my three sacks, I feel like two of them are because of what guys around me did."

The 26-year-old didn't just make a difference on the two sequences where he dropped Daniel Jones, by the way. He generated intense pressure on a handful of other dropbacks and contributed a couple of run stuffs as well. He also was still turning in top-notch reps deep into the fourth quarter despite being on the field for 81% of the defensive snaps.

His head coach, Ron Rivera, was unsurprisingly quite pleased with the player whom the franchise handed a major contract extension to back in July.

"Jonathan played an exceptionally good game," Rivera said.

Even with his relatively paltry production a year ago in one of the stat columns his position is most judged off of, Allen believed he was rushing better than he ever has in his "entire life." Advanced measures backed that up, too, as Allen finished with the eighth-best individual pass-rush win rate in the sport.

Fortunately, now he's winning along the interior and getting home.

Double fortunately, he's doing so as the rest of his peers throughout the unit struggle to deliver on their lofty billing as one of the league's most-feared groups.

"This defense should be a whole lot better than what we've seen through two weeks of the season and I'm starting to get a little bit nervous, and it's scary," analyst and ex-star DeAngelo Hall said on the BMitch & Finlay radio show Friday. "It's scary to think about this defense not being able to be that dominant force because now you're in trouble. Taylor Heinicke, this offense played great, but you don't want to be in a shootout for the better part of the season. You're facing too many good quarterbacks up and down the schedule to try to win games like that."

Based off this quote from Thursday, Allen largely agrees with that assessment.

"Defensively, I would say we played very similar to last week," he said. "We did enough to get the win, but moving forward, we just have to do better. It’s not like the issues are we’re just not good enough, we obviously have the talent. We just got to focus on the little things, and honestly, thank God our offense was there to save us time and time again."

Washington's next outing will come next weekend in Buffalo, and hopefully by that time, the defense will be ready to save the offense for a change. Allen is undoubtedly setting a tone, and it'd be huge if others on his side of the ball could begin to match his output.