Mon, 30 Nov 2020

OLB Says His Defense Needs 'the Mindset that He's Possibly Going to Lower His Shoulder on You' Randy Lange

Buffalo has lost two straight games, at Tennessee and home against Kansas City, and Bills quarterback Josh Allen has been taking it hard.

"I was not good enough," Allen said among some of his sound bites after the 26-17 Monday night loss to the Chiefs. "This team can't afford to have me play poorly. ... Sixteen, 17 points is not going to cut it in this league. ... If that's how we play, we're going to struggle to win games. ... I'm obviously super-frustrated with myself and how I performed."

LB Jordan Jenkins, ahead of the Jets' game against the Bills at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, isn't falling for Allen being in slump mode. About Allen's ability to hurt the Jets and other teams not only with his arm but his legs, Jenkins said:

"It's very annoying, especially when somebody tends to get the ball out quick. It's a hard mental game to deal with. You want to sometimes make a play outside the scheme, you say, 'This is the time he's not going to scheme me,' you go outside, rush high and turn the corner - and then he just runs downfield for 40-something yards."

If Sam Darnold returns as the Jets starter from his shoulder sprain for this game, that could make for a fine battle between the two 2018 first-round draft picks, who have split four decisions (although one Darnold win was in the 2019 season finale when Allen played only two series ahead of the playoffs).

But Allen has hurt the Jets throwing and running. In this year's season-opener, a 27-17 Bills win at Buffalo, he completed 33-of-46 passes for a career-high 312 yards and 2 touchdowns while rushing for 57 yards and another TD on 14 carries. In the QBs' first pro matchup, Darnold prevailed with the comeback win at the Bills in 2018, but Allen ran for 101 yards, becoming the first opposing QB in 42 years to rush for 100 yards vs. the Jets.Obviously, Jenkins would like to apply some pressure on Allen in the pocket - and he had a stripsack of the Wyoming product in last season's opener - but that running dimension still concerns him.

"You've got to tackle the guy when you get the chance," he said. "You've got to treat this guy like tackling a tight end in the open field. The problem is a lot of guys get ready to tackle him like a quarterback, but he's not running like a quarterback. He's a stockier guy, a bigger guy. You've got to go out with the mindset that he's possibly going to lower his shoulder on you. ... And you can't rush upfield too much because he will gash you right in that B-gap."

If the Jets hope to climb a little bit out of their 0-6 hole with a home win over their AFC East foes, they can take some hope from the Bills having fallen off their 4-0 start with those two losses, and from Darnold and the Jets having beaten Allen and the Bills before, and from Allen sounding as if he's beating himself up this week.

But that could make him the most dangerous kind of QB for the Jets to face. He was being billed as an NFL MVP contender during Buffalo's opening run. And now he's setting his jaw ... and dropping his shoulder. Just in time for his old division friends.

"I've got to be better," he said after the loss to KC. "I will be better."

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