Around the NFL  

 

Jared Allen 'having fun' in OLB role in Bears' new D

Print

Jared Allen famously never wanted to play outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense.

Now that the Chicago Bears pass rusher is forced into playing the position under new defensive coordinator Vic Fangio -- after Allen's poor 2014 season and an unmovable contract kept him in the Windy City -- he's warming up to the experience.

The 33-year-old admits his insistence on staying a 4-3 defensive end was borne out of "ignorance."

"I didn't know anything about it (playing OLB)," he said, via ESPN.com. "I played in a Tampa 2 defense my entire career, so there is a part of me that absolutely loves putting my hand in the dirt and that individual matchup with the left tackle in run or pass, or with the tight end. But this as a football player is fun, it really is -- the different styles of matchups you get and some of the one-on-one rushes it creates are really fun. Ultimately, it's kind of the same stuff, but later in my career it's easier on my body because I'm not technically banging every single day."

Allen is coming off a career-low 5.5 sacks as part of horrific Bears defense in 2014. This season, the unit is made up mostly of the wrong parts to run Fangio's defense.

Still, the Bears have spoken positively about Allen's transition and the veteran claims it could lengthen his career.

"My body feels fresher because I'm not banging every single day and putting my hands on a 300-plus pounder and banging heads and that kind of stuff.

"I'm having fun with it. I know it's just OTAs, but being out there and seeing the one-on-one matchups that I've been able to create and the rush angles I've been able to create, so it's kind of broadening my perspective on football. For me, it's been a blast and I'm just excited to keep going."

While Allen likely enters the season as the starter, color us skeptical of the veteran being anything more than a rotational pass rusher until we see him drop in coverage during training camp and preseason games.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast discusses the latest news including Cam Newton's massive extension and the return of Adrian Peterson. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

Print