Eight games into the year, Jonathan Allen is having an All-Pro season. Ron Rivera’s second year in Washington couldn’t have gotten off to a worse start in their first eight games. Technically, it could be worse, but Rivera has seen challenges he did not see coming, and this is just on-the-field issues I am discussing. Even before the injuries began to pile up, there were many things wrong with the team:
- Washington’s defense is one of the worst in the league and is the worst on third-downs;
- The marquee signings of the off-season have either underperformed or are just not available due to injury;
- Their 2021 first-round draft pick Jamin Davis’s development has been slow;
- Their offense has mightily regressed as the season moved along, and
- the two star defensive ends in Montez Sweat and Chase Young have combined for just five and a half sacks.
With just two wins and six losses, stating that the Washington Football Team is not good would be an insult to adjectives such as “terrible,” “awful,” or - well, you get the point. However, for all of the things that have gone wrong for Washington this year, whether off-season transactions or just underwhelming performances, defensive tackle Jonathan Allen is in the midst of a possible All-Pro campaign. That has been one thing that Washington and Rivera got correct during the off-season. Washington and Jonathan agreed to a 4-year, $72 million extension with a $30 million signing bonus in late July. Before the two sides came to terms, it was a conversation that was heavily discussed locally, as many (including myself) wondered if Washington would be better off trading Allen to invest in other defensive tackles or to allocate that money elsewhere. Washington was right; I was wrong.
Jonathan Allen is tied for first in the NFL with six sacks at the defensive tackle position with Philadelphia Eagles tackle Javon Hargrave. Allen also has 29 total tackles, 19 quarterback hits, and eight tackles for a loss. Hargrave has 40 total tackles, 11 quarterback hits, and seven tackles for a loss. Last year, Aaron Donald was a unanimous (50 votes) first team All-Pro defensive tackle. For comparison’s sake, in 2021, Donald has five sacks, 33 total tackles, 12 quarterback hits, and six tackles for a loss.
According to Pro Football Focus, Allen is one of five interior defensive linemen to record two or more pressures in every game this season. Six games into the season, PFF rated Jonathan Allen as a 90.5 through the first six games. Allen made it as a second-team defensive lineman behind the Pittsburgh Steelers Cameron Heyward in their mid-season All-Pro team. He’s stood out that much on such a bad unit, which is a testament to his incredible production in the season following his big payday.
This season will likely be another lost one, and Washington has yet to reach the brunt of their divisional games. However, if you are looking for reasons to continue watching this team, Jonathan Allen should be at the top of the list throughout all of the chaos and dysfunction. Allen is a local talent who gives 110 percent each time he steps on the field, is a vocal leader, and leads with his play on the field. He deserves the spotlight until further notice.