Vikings DE Jared Allen has established himself as one of the best players at his position in the entire league. So when he shares his thoughts on the abilities of the men he lines up against every week - left tackles - everyone should take note.
A group of reporters gathered around Allen at his locker today before the Vikings practiced to gauge his thoughts on Joe Thomas, the dominant LT who will line up across from Allen on Sunday. Thomas was taken 3rd overall by the Browns in the 2007 draft and has more than legitimatized his billing as top 3 draft pick.
“He’s a good player. He’s athletic,” Allen acknowledged.
But while being asked about Thomas, Allen respectfully turned his focus away from the opponent and instead concentrated on what he needs to do to prepare.
“But I don’t worry about that,” Allen continued. “If I play my game, then I’ll be alright. I like to think about the challenges I pose for other people, not the vice versa. He’s good. I’d rather play a good player. We’ll have a nice little battle and see who wins.
“I know my strengths and I work off of those. But each game has a different game plan. No two players are the same. You know, we’re a bunch of zebras running around out there. No one has the same stripes, right? Everybody’s technique is a little different so you adjust your technique to that person. You might highlight a certain thing to be a certain guy a different way. But at the end of the day it comes down to my technique versus his technique; whose is better, who prepared better.”
The conversation about LTs continued when Allen was asked about some of the best players at the position that he’s faced. He named Green Bay’s Chad Clifton as one, and also spoke about teammate Bryant McKinnie, whom he battled after coming off a 2-game suspension during 2007 with the Kansas City Chiefs.
“I hate to say it, but I kinda gave it to him,” Allen said laughing while peering at McKinnie’s locker, which is just a few stalls down. “But he’s good and he’s gotten a lot better from when I played against him in Kansas City. Big Mac can be one of the best tackles in this league. He’s such a beast; he’s so athletic. I’ll tell ya what, that game I was so fired up to come back there was no one stopping me that game.”
Ultimately, though, Allen said the best LT he’s faced to this point in his career is former Baltimore Raven Jonathan Ogden.
“I’ll never forget the game I played against Jonathon Ogden,” Allen said. “That dude was big. I remember every three-step drop I just kept hitting him as hard as I could, hoping one day he was gonna fall down. But he didn’t.”
Tags: Jared Allen
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