Josh Allen on Jags’ new defensive scheme: ‘I feel like we’re playing back to what got us here’

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Jacksonville’s front seven needs to improve significantly in 2021. It was one of the worst units in the league last year, finishing 30th against the run and 31st in sacks. That fact isn’t lost on Josh Allen, the third-year edge rusher expected to develop into a leader of the group, alongside linebacker Myles Jack.

“Last year was last year,” Allen said on Tuesday after organized team activities. “We have a whole new different group, we have a whole new different scheme, we have a whole new different coaching staff that’s going to help us get to where we need. Game one, we’re going to get right and we’re going to apply a lot more pressure.

“We’re all going to get better for that, and I can’t wait.”

At the center of the expected improvement is the new system being implemented by defensive coordinator Joe Cullen. Previously, Jacksonville ran almost exclusively 4-3 packages, with Allen and 2020 first-round pick K’Lavon Chaisson largely playing with their hand in the dirt.

But now, the team will implement more 3-4 looks, allowing Allen and Chaisson to play as a standup, rushing outside linebackers. That’s the position both played in college, and it should be more natural than what they were previously asked to do.

Allen said the pair is excited to be back to playing the position that made them so productive at the college level.

“We’re playing what got us here, so going back to those habits, going back to those traits, I feel like it’s a good sign for both of us – [] Smoot as well,” Allen said. “I’m just excited to see us put pads on so we can really put that to use and make a lot of plays.

“We’re all making plays so as long as we all continue to do that, no matter who we have out there, we’ll be straight.”

Both Allen and Chaisson are looking for bounce-back seasons, as the former was limited to just eight games with injury and the latter failed to make much of an impact as a rookie. With the new scheme, expectations are high for both.