Fans have become accustomed to seeing DE Jared Allen pile up sacks, as he’s recorded back-to-back 14.5-sack seasons since being traded here before the 2008 season. But Allen’s traditional calf-roping celebration after sacks has only been seen once this season because the 7-year veteran has been shut out of 3 of the Vikings first 4 games.
While at first glance this might cause one to conclude that Allen’s performance on the field isn’t up to par, that actually isn’t the case according to Vikings assistant head coach/defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier.
“He’s playing well,” Frazier explained. “What’s happening with Jared is he’s still getting a lot of situations where there are backs chipping or tight ends to his side. What it does is it helps other guys, it helps our pass defense. Our pass defense has really improved, primarily because of the types of blocks that we’re getting from offenses right now.”
Statistics show that Frazier’s explanation is not mere hyperbole. In 2009 the Vikings pass defense ranked 19th and allowed 218.4 yards per contest; that was with 14.5 sacks from Allen. But so far this season, the Vikings pass defense ranks 6th in the NFL and is allowing just 185.0 yards per contest.
But the Vikings, and Frazier specifically, aren’t content with where they’re at so far in 2010. An ideal situation would be for Allen to grab a few sacks, have that pass defense continue to improve and then also see others along the defensive line benefit from the blocking schemes Allen is dictating.
“He’s going to have a bust-out game and hopefully it’ll be this weekend,” Frazier said. “But he’s not a disappointment by any means, whether it’s in our run defense or pass rush. It’s just people pay a great deal of attention to him. We’ve just got to get other guys who are getting one-on-ones to step up and help us in those areas.”
One player in particular who stands to benefit from the attention Allen sees is DE Ray Edwards. It was Edwards who caused Dallas QB Tony Romo the most headache in last year’s NFC Divisional Round playoff game. Romo was sacked 3 times by Edwards, a Vikings single-game record in the postseason.
Tags: Jared Allen, Leslie Frazier
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 16 Comments »