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    Superman55
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    Antonio Allen

    Post by Superman55 on Sun 21 Sep 2014 - 7:21

    [size=60]Converting Allen to corner is a safety valve for Jets defense[/size]
    By Brian Costello
    September 20, 2014 | 4:02pm

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    Antonio AllenPhoto: Joseph E. Amaturo[/size]

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    The Pro Day at South Carolina in March 2012 attracted scouts, executives and coaches from every team in the NFL.
    The Gamecocks were loaded with talent and everyone came to see who they might snag in the draft. Jets coach Rex Ryan traveled to Columbia, S.C., that day, along with defensive assistant Dennis Thurman and members of the Jets scouting department.
    The field was filled with future NFL players. Linebacker Melvin Ingram and cornerback Stephon Gilmore would be taken in the first round. Receiver Alshon Jeffery would go in the second. But it was not those players Ryan and Thurman found themselves talking about after the workout.
    “We’re going to steal this kid,” Ryan told his assistant.
    The kid was Antonio Allen, a 6-foot-1, long-armed safety, who just had a memorable Pro Day … but not in a good way.
    “It’s the worst Pro Day ever,” Ryan said.
    Allen had played “spur” for the Gamecocks, a hybrid between outside linebacker and safety that required him to play close to the line of scrimmage and blitz often. Now, NFL scouts were asking him to go through defensive back drills he had never done.
    “I had never backpedaled since high school,” Allen said this week.
    The Jets took Allen in the seventh round of the draft a month later.
    Now, the man everyone on the Jets calls “Double-A” is one of the most crucial figures in the 2014 Jets season. Luckily for the Jets, he has learned to backpedal.

    ‘You’re going to think I’m crazy’

    Ryan looked sick a short time after the training camp practice ended last month in Cortland. In the span of two hours, he had lost cornerbacks Dee Milliner and Dexter McDougle, the latter for the season.
    Cornerback was considered a weakness before that day’s practice, with unreliable Dimitri Patterson already complaining of injuries. Now, Ryan was faced with a headache no Aspirin could cure.
    Thurman, now the team’s defensive coordinator, remembers Ryan approaching him later that night with the idea of moving Allen.
    “You’re going to think I’m crazy,” Thurman remembers Ryan saying. “Let’s try Double-A outside.”
    Thurman said he looked at him and shrugged his shoulders. In 1981, the Cowboys came to Thurman in his fourth season in the NFL and told him they were moving him from safety to cornerback. Now, he was the one doing the telling.
    Allen said he thinks he caught the coaches’ eye during 1-on-1 drills when he matched up with receivers. Ryan said the move seemed natural to him after looking at Allen’s strengths.
    “I think he’s just a player. He’s a football player. We all knew it,” Ryan said. “It seemed like the thing to do. He was doing so well at safety. That was the hesitation. It wasn’t, ‘Hey I don’t know if he can play corner.’ But he was playing so well at safety. We said, ‘Let’s give him a shot and see if he can handle it.’ ”

    Out of Ocala

    Allen is used to searching for his spot on the field.
    He grew up in Ocala, Fla., a small town about 100 miles north of Tampa that is known for its thoroughbred horse farms.
    “It’s a small, country town,” Allen said. “A lot of people don’t make it out.”
    Allen’s road out began in the Marion County Youth Football League, a league that has its highlights shown on local TV and has launched the careers of a few NFL players.
    Allen played quarterback for the Rattlers and began to separate himself from his peers as he played longer. He chose Trinity Catholic for high school, where former Florida Gators quarterback Kerwin Bell was the head coach.
    Bell remembers spotting Allen in his freshman year, playing for the JV team and realizing he needed to be on varsity.
    “I felt like, we’ve got to find a place to put him on the field,” Bell, now the coach at Jacksonville University, said this week. “We put him at free safety, and that really solidified everything we did.”
    Trinity Catholic won the state title in Allen’s junior season and lost just one game in his final two years. The program was loaded with talent, including quarterback John Brantley, who would replace Tim Tebow at Florida. College coaches showed up in droves in Ocala.
    Allen fielded a lot of scholarship offers and decided on South Carolina, but he failed to qualify academically because of low SAT scores. Allen went to Fork Union Military Academy for a year to get his scores up.
    “It was tough because it was just so different going to military school and getting demerits for misbehaving,” Allen said. “It helped me. It put my head in the right place. I just focused on getting my scores up and playing football.”
    After the year at Fork Union, Allen headed to Columbia to play for Steve Spurrier.

    Spurred on

    Spurrier walked into a meeting room one day before Allen’s sophomore year and told Allen they were moving him from safety to spur because they had no one else to play that position.
    “I got into the playbook and all I saw was blitzes, and sometimes you could drop back into Cover 2,” Allen said. “I loved it after I got the schemes and got familiar with the playbook. I was blitzing just about every time. I made a lot of big plays.”
    In his senior season, he was named second-team All-American after leading the Gamecocks with 88 tackles with three interceptions, a sack, 9 ½ tackles for loss, four forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
    “He was a guy that never said a lot,” South Carolina defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward said. “He would just be all over the field making plays.”
    The 2011 Gamecocks defense finished No. 3 in the country.
    “He was the best player on the field,” Ryan said, “and they had [2014 first-overall draft pick Jadeveon] Clowney, who was a freshman, Ingram, who was a first-round pick, Gilmore, who was a first-round pick. They had a lot of players on that field, and I think he was the most productive guy.”
    Ward, who had interned under Ryan with the Ravens, put Allen on Ryan’s radar.

    Draft Day

    After the brutal Pro Day and a 4.62 40-yard dash at the combine, Allen slid down draft boards. There he was on Day 3 of the draft, just like Ryan hoped.
    “I was kind of glad he had that workout,” Ryan said.
    The Jets took him with the 242nd pick of the draft, just 11 before the end. Allen was disappointed to go that late, but looking back on it he says it shrunk his ego.
    “It humbled me a lot,” Allen said. “I’m truly blessed for that experience. I don’t know how it would have been if I was a first-rounder. My head would have been out of the window.”
    Now that they drafted him, the Jets had to figure out what to do with him.
    “We took him and then the question was: Where do we play him?” Thurman said. “We’ll find someplace where he can help us just because he’s a good football player.”

    Mr. Ed

    Allen’s rookie year was an accelerated course in NFL football and Ryan’s defense. The college linebacker now had to become an NFL safety.
    “[The learning curve] was a little steep initially,” Ryan said. “To his credit, he kept trying. Before you knew it, he knew what he was doing.”
    Allen played in seven games as a rookie between two practice squad stints.
    In 2013, Allen broke through. He started the first nine games of the season at safety, blocked two punts and had a huge pick-six in the team’s win over the Patriots.
    Before Week 10, though, the Jets signed veteran Ed Reed and Allen’s playing time vanished.
    “It was definitely hard,” Allen said. “I was thinking I was locked into a position. I made a couple of plays and thinking I’m doing pretty good for myself, and then Ed comes in and it’s like I’m totally shut down.”
    In hindsight, Allen said Reed’s arrival benefitted him. Reed taught him how to study film and detect offensive tendencies.

    Life on the Autobahn

    This season Allen was expected to regain his starting spot, but when the team drafted Calvin Pryor in the first round of the draft, that became a question mark.
    Just like Bell finding a spot for him in high school or Spurrier in college, the Jets found a spot for Allen when they moved him to corner last month.
    On Monday night, he will be lined up against Bears receivers Brandon Marshall and Jeffery, his former college teammate.
    Thurman said Allen is learning the new position, which is not an easy move.
    “You’re out there on what we call the Autobahn,” Thurman said. “On the inside, it’s freeway speed. On the outside, there is no speed limit. When you’re on the Autobahn if you don’t handle your footwork and technique properly, guys are down the field and they’re by you and you won’t catch up. … If you make a small mistake out here, you’ll get blown up real quick.”
    If Allen blows up, the Jets season may blow up with it. Cornerbacks are the weakness of this team, but Allen is confident that he can clear this hurdle like he has before in his football career.
    “Nothing came easy to me,” Allen said. “I’ve had to fight for everything, and I’m still fighting.”
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    football51
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    Re: Antonio Allen

    Post by football51 on Thu 25 Sep 2014 - 17:48

    Dennis Waszak Jr. @DWAZ73 · 1h
    DT on whether Antonio Allen will remain at CB: "I don't see how we can go back" #Jets

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    Re: Antonio Allen

    Post by lnap23 on Thu 25 Sep 2014 - 18:18

    For what it's worth, he has looked pretty good and factor in he is a converted Safety. Factor in that he was a hybrid LB/S in College and I think he has done outstanding.
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    Re: Antonio Allen

    Post by Superman55 on Thu 25 Sep 2014 - 23:33

    Antonio Allen - DB - Jets
    The Jets will keep converted safety Antonio Allen at cornerback for the rest of the season.
    "I don't see how we can go back," DC Dennis Thurman said Thursday. Pro Football Focus has charted Allen as the most heavily targeted cornerback in football through three games, giving him up-and-down grades week to week. He's consequently been an IDP stud, racking up 17 tackles (16 solo) with five pass breakups. Although Allen has given up a solid number of completions, PFF has him allowing a respectable 80.7 passer rating into his coverage.
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    Re: Antonio Allen

    Post by football51 on Fri 26 Sep 2014 - 16:23

    Brian Costello @BrianCoz · 7m
    I was just looking at the @PFF player rankings. Antonio Allen is the 44th-rated CB, 8 spots below … Darrelle Revis. #nyj

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    Re: Antonio Allen

    Post by Lakerfan1980 on Sat 27 Sep 2014 - 7:11

    Those PFF rankings had Wilson as the top rated slot corner last year.
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    Re: Antonio Allen

    Post by football51 on Sat 27 Sep 2014 - 10:32

    Lakerfan1980 wrote:Those PFF rankings had Wilson as the top rated slot corner last year.





    True........ they are flawed for sure. Wilson wasn't close to that level last season. I just thought that it was funny how close they have Revis and Allen ranked. IMO, Revis doesn't look like the same player. Then again, under Mangini, he never looked like the player he was in Ryan's scheme.
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    Re: Antonio Allen

    Post by danfran on Sun 28 Sep 2014 - 7:53

    football51 wrote:Brian Costello @BrianCoz  ·  7m
    I was just looking at the @PFF player rankings. Antonio Allen is the 44th-rated CB, 8 spots below … Darrelle Revis. #nyj
    That sounds high, but given that there are ~~90 some odd starting CBs (counting the slot guys) in the league, and he's not even a CB, that's really good. He's a heck of an athlete.

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