Jason Allen: Mind over Money?

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J. Al was drafted in the first round in 2006 during the Saban Era. I was shocked but excited by the pick since I thought we finally drafted a Safety in the first round (my position).  Playing Safety in a Saban Defence is no ordinary assignment.  Saban’s D is extremely complex; assignment and reads are made completely differently than any other playbook I have seen.  Instead of allowing the player to make the play, you have to allow the coverage to dictate  the play.  For a player, this goes against what your first coach has ever told you, “Go make a play.”

Time passes by, we see J Al stone feet while playing safety, which allows the next regime, the Cameron Era to think maybe this kid is a corner.  So J Al goes back a position he played sparingly in college and high school….the results on the field, adequate. Nothing more than a Special Teams player.

Which brings us to the Trifecta era.

Everyone knew that J. Al was on an extremely tight rope, a lot of us fans, speculated that he would be the first player to be cut since he didn’t fit the ‘build’ of a Parcells player.

Once again our Trifecta decided to try J. Al at Safety, which was a failed experiment, thus allowing J. Al to go back to the corner back position.   Fast forward to today and now J. Al has been isolated to one position for more than two years now, allowing him to focus on the intricacies of the corner back position.

Many of you are wondering what has caused this rebirth of J Al’s game.   I am not sure if this is correct but I think this is twofold.

  1. CREAM
    1. Wu Tang Reference

i.      Cash Rules Everything Around Me

  1. Jason Allen is ending his rookie contract and might be looking for his next pay due.  Let’s face it; the rookie pay scale model is ridiculous.  Rookies that have never played one down in the NFL are making more than seasoned vets that have been playing in the league for years
  2. Look at all players nearing the end of their contracts, they play at a level they have never played before. Antonio Bryant, Albert Haynesworth, are a few examples of free agents bugs
  3. Gibril Wilson, Ernest Wilford are examples on our own team
  1. Nolan Defence
    1. With all the hype surrounding our product on the field, Dansby on D, Marshall on O, the best signing in my eyes was Mike Nolan as our DC.
    2. His defence schemes are amazing, I would love to lace up and play for this coach any day of the week.

Let’s break down coverage responsibilities of CB2 corner.

First of all you have to know what Nolan loves.  He loves an alpha CB…..He had Champ Bailey in Denver and now has Davis on our team.  Having an alpha CB is like having Marshall on O, it eliminates one side of the field.  Nolan D resembles, Buddy Ryan’s D in New York – since both of them worked together in Baltimore, you have to believe their defensive tendencies are the same.

Allowing Davis to take out the Z (prime) receiver on the opposite field allows you to mix coverage on the secondary CB.

Nolan loves playing Cover 3.  Cover 3 is illusion coverage.  It shows that two types of coverage are being implemented, Man on Z and zone off the Y.

Steelers call double TE Z wide fly
Two TE
Two WR
Single back

Nolan calls 3-4 Cover 3 Robber.
Davis is covering Hines Ward
J. Al has Mike Wallace

Notice the Z wide call…this means that a pre set motion is going to be called, which will allow Ward to move before the ball is hiked.  This pre set motion is to allow Big Ben to get a sense of coverage in the secondary

Big Ben calls out the play
Ward goes in motion – Davis is following him

When this happens, J. Al should move up to a press coverage (-meaning he is going to jam Wallace the at line of scrimmage) this gives off the illusion that we are in Man to Man coverage

Big Ben notices that Davis is following Ward and J Al is implementing the press coverage.  Big Ben thinks man to man assignments

Ball is hiked

Big Ben looks at Ward – no way, alpha on alpha not a great throw

Looks at Wallace…..

When the ball is hiked, Wallace is jammed since cover 3 is a soft zone, Wallace has a quick out pattern, since he is jammed, can’t make the timed route….

J Al can either bite the route for INT or break it out.

Either way, it’s an incompletion.

The biggest difference between Nolan’s D and Saban’s D is that Nolan allows his player to make the play by relaxing their assignment values – go and make the play – rather than allow the play to be made by the coverage.

The light maybe finally turning on for this former first round pick due to Nolan’s D or it might be due to the fact that J Al is looking for his next pay day.  Honestly, I don’t know the answer to the question, but right now I don’t care as long as J. Al continues to do what he is doing.  Allen will get the opportunity earn his dollars due to his understanding.

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  • crocodile

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  • James

    You’re kidding right? Maybe his “best” for him….but he is sorely lacking…still. DirecTV (if you have the package) does replays of each game in the 700 channels….but each game is replaed in 30 min….90% of plays…all action. Wow…I couldn’t tell you how many times in those 30 min I sat there and saw #32 whiff blocks…get blown by, couldn’t cover, get beat, be out of placement…horrible. And he should be very happy to have supporting safeties, LBs and other DBs that had to repeatedly help #32 out. He is a liability.

    • bahamas

      James, i can understand and appreciate what you are saying.

      But let’s look at the facts….

      Who leads the team in INTs?
      Who leads the team in game changing plays?
      Wake first…second? Allen

      No other player on the D side of the ball has made drastical improvements as much as Allen did.

      And please dont get my started on Clemons…and he is the bigger liability in our backcourt than Allen is

      • Ripp

        You can throw out areas of concern for every player in the secondary. Allen has had one bad game, so did Davis. Yet no one is busting on Davis. Bell has had two bad games and no one has questioned him because he is a Pro Bowler and Clemons really has not had a bad game but he has been invisible. Just goes to show that a lot of things in the NFL is based on perception.

        • bahamas

          Ripp – valid point my friend.

          As fans we have serious expectations on our team. I love watching our players in the secondary…its what i understand the best.

          Davis had a terrible game against the Pack and so did Sean Smith. You are absolutely righ on Clemons, as he has been invisible all season except week one on the missed INT.

          However, the player that sticks out the most is J. Al….

          Can you honestly say that you thought he was going be starting for us? Secondly leading our team in INTs?

          • Ripp

            No I could not say that I thought he would be a starter, but at the same time I am open enough to know he could be the real deal. Some people are just late bloomers. No matter what you have to give credit where credit is due and he dose have three picks, a few pass defenses and better stats then anyone in the secondary with the exception of tackling. I am happy for the guy. Its not easy to over come disappointment specially when you have fans and the media always reminding you that you are a failure. The guy hung though and he deserves this chance to prove he is a starting CB or not. One bad game thus far, I’d say he is off to a good start to proving his worth.

        • bahamas

          Ripp – J Al has played his best during the away games. He was a blanket on Lee Evans in the home opener, and just missed out on a pick 6 on the goal line. He almost had 3 INTs against Favre in Minny and we saw the INT against Rodgers last week.
          I think he is more comfortable playing away from home.

          Against the Pats and the Jets he was no where to be seen. He’s got the talent to be a true corner, but we just need some consistency from him

  • corners

    Now if only he can learn to get interceptions without always falling to his butt to catch them. Ill admit, ill take what i can get though, but he would quite all criticism if he actually ran any of those pics back.

  • Ripp

    Well the Jets game was his worst game by far, but I would not say He had a bad game in the Pats game. You might have not heard his name but that can be a good thing when it comes to CBs. Also remember, in the Pats game they were going after Davis most of the game.