Urban Meyer breaks down Josh Allen’s development after fantastic game against Seattle

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Edge rusher Josh Allen has had a bit of a slow start to his 2021 season. Big things were expected of the former top-10 pick, whose production had dipped since his rookie season. That was largely due to the fact that he was playing outside his natural position.

It was expected that new defensive coordinator Joe Cullen’s scheme, which uses 3-4 as a base look more frequently, would fit his strengths as an edge rusher.

To an extent, that was true, as he has been consistently among Jacksonville’s highest-graded players this season. But that didn’t translate into production, and he had just 2.5 sacks on the year heading into Sunday.

After a two-sack day, he nearly doubled his season total. On Monday, coach Urban Meyer said he’s pleased with the way Allen, one of the franchise’s centerpieces, is playing right now.

“Yeah, I love where he’s at,” Meyer said. “First of all, his leadership is great. He’s a guy that I lean on for leadership in the locker room and I mean, you think about the way he played in that second half. They were on fire, him and (Dawuane) Smoot, they were all over the field. They were enjoying it, they were having fun, trying to get some momentum for our team. So, they were—he’s been playing great, he was exactly what you want.”

Asked to elaborate on what made the difference this week, Meyer referenced something he had discussed recently. He said that the team is doing a good enough job of getting pressure from the edge, but it isn’t getting the interior push necessary to keep a quarterback from stepping up in the pocket to avoid the heat.

The first-year head coach added that the team did a much better job in that regard on Sunday.

“I think the correlation between any push—I felt like we had much more push inside,” Meyer said. “I think he’s always been playing (well), but I also think that when the quarterback can step up, they say, ‘Where’s Josh Allen?’ Well, Josh Allen is actually doing pretty good, it’s just we don’t have any push. And I think DaVon (Hamilton), Roy (Robertson-Harris) and Malcom (Brown) had a little bit of push for us inside. And I think Jihad (Ward) as well, a couple times. So, that’s all correlated of the two—why would (Dawuane) Smoot and Josh (Allen) have a good day? It’s the cumulation of interior push as well.”

Getting pressure had been one of Jacksonville’s biggest problems heading into last weekend. The team tied with Kansas City at the bottom of the league with eight total sacks.

While it didn’t do much to affect the outcome, getting sacks (three in total) was at least one positive from the game. With Smoot continuing to come along, the pass rush could improve if Allen plays like he did on Sunday moving forward.