- Craig Gorbunoff
Antonio Allen, Saving the Jets Secondary
The New York Jets have essentially filled every single hole on their team this offseason, but a lot of analysts say that they ignored the Free Safety position. Well I believe the answer to that might already be on the roster.
Antonio Allen, standing at 6 foot 1 and 210 pounds, has prototypical size of a free safety. Being the 242nd pick in the 2012 draft in the 7th round, the Jets have gotten a fantastic return on their pick. Allen became a starter in 2013, and did a fairly good job as a free safety. He effectively was able to take Gronkowski out of a game. However, during the Idzik era, when the cornerback position was ignored, and the position was decimated by injury when Dee Milliner tore an Achilles and Dexter McDougle tore his ACL. Allen was forced to play out of position and start at Cornerback. This lead to a bunch of changes that hurt the Jets last season, Calvin Pryor was forced to play Free Safety instead of his actual position of Strong Safety. The Jets had to stick with Dawan Landry at Strong Safety who was aging and declining. What does all of this equal? One of the worst secondary’s in the NFL.
Antonio Allen is a Free Safety, when he got to play his natural position, he was able to develop and improve game by game. With this new secondary, consisting of Revis, Cromartie, Skrine, Milliner, McDougle all at Corner Back, and then Pryor returning to his natural Strong Safety position, I expect Antonio Allen to return to his slot and be the player that was in the making in 2013.
After bouncing around so much last season, from corner, to safety, back to corner, back to safety, its no wonder that he couldn’t get it right. If Bowles is smart (which I think he is) Allen will start week 1 as Free Safety, he can man up very well against big-bodied tight ends, tackles well, and has good ball skills. I remember back to his first start as a corner in the preseason playing against AJ Green of the Bengals and he was able to lock down on one of the best receivers in the league. I truly believe that Allen can thrive as the starting Free Safety, and with corners like Revis and Cromartie on the outside get a lot of interceptions.
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