Redskins.com's Stephen Czarda provides five takeaways from Jonathan Allen's press conference at the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center in Richmond, Va.
1. Allen is getting acclimated to the NFL level but has encountered few surprises so far.
Allen's calm demeanor at the podium is replicated on the field, as Washington's first-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft hasn't been slowed from a whirlwind last few months.
Considered one of the best prospects in this year's draft, Allen said he hasn't felt too many differences so far from his time at the University of Alabama to the Redskins.
"I wouldn't say there was one specific thing that surprised me," Allen said. "There's just things that I have to get adjusted to and acclimated to."
While the Redskins have purposely eased Allen into the fold, working him with different defensive line combinations and against all three offensive line units, Allen has faced an early test against Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams.
"He does a lot of little things that I've never seen before," Allen said. "So that just goes back to the acclimation process that I'm getting adjusted to right now, but I mean, I love it. It's been great."
2. Allen is ready to get the pads on.
When at Alabama, the Crimson Tide often practiced in pads. While the rules in the NFL are different and the Redskins' number of padded practices are capped, Saturday will mark a first for Allen's professional career.
He'll be in pads.
"The first time in pads at the NFL level is something I've been waiting for my whole life," Allen said. "So I'm just excited for the opportunity and just ready to play."
"I love contact. As a defensive [lineman], everything is always hand-to-hand combat. Just the physicality of the game is what I look forward to the most."
3. While Allen hopes to get to the quarterback frequently, his first goal is to be a strong run stopper.
A majority of the Redskins' pass rush falls at the feet of the outside linebackers. Ryan Kerrigan, of course, is a candidate each season to record double-digit sack totals. Trent Murphy, meanwhile, is coming off a breakout season and Preston Smith has shown the ability to create issues in the pocket.
Washington also returns a healthy Junior Galette and drafted Allen's college teammate – Ryan Anderson – in the second round of the draft.
Allen proved at Alabama that he get sacks on his own, doing so 28.5 times. But to start, his primary focus in his first season in Washington will be stopping the run.
"Right now I'm just focusing on doing what the coaches are asking me to do," Allen said. "If that's rushing the passer, so be it. Playing the run is definitely the biggest emphasis that I feel like because you can't rush the passer without stopping the run. We're just taking it day by day. I'm not worried about the expectations of others because I feel like no one can put more expectations on me than myself. So, I mean, we're just grinding as a unit right now."
4. With a vocal position coach and veterans that took him under his wing, Allen already feels at home with the Redskins.
Known for his passion and proven track record, Redskins defensive line coach Jim Tomsula has been Allen's No. 1 supporter and the man who's pushed him the most so far.
"Coach Tomsula is crazy," Allen said with a smile. "We love him though. I love him. He reminds me a lot of Alabama – just his coaching mentality, his style. Just, if it's not about winning he doesn't want to hear about it and I love it. You know, he's going to push you, he's going to work you, but he's always fair. So as a player, that's really all you can ask for in a coach."
Off the field, Allen has been studying tendencies in the veteran defensive linemen's games, hoping to pick out their positives and replicate them.
Check out images of defensive lineman, Jonathan Allen during his first few months with the Washington Redskins.
"When I first came in here, I definitely looked at some of the veterans and [saw] how they worked," Allen said. "But as a defensive line, they all took me under their wing. They all told me their experiences and what they went through. I've just all kind of been piecing it together to help get me along through my process."
Allen has also been spending a lot of time with the defensive linemen, going to play TopGolf among other activities.
"Yeah, we've had a bunch of get-togethers," Allen said. "Definitely have cookouts over at people's houses. Sometimes we go to TopGolf. It kind of just depends. But we definitely feel that we're a close group and try to do things together."
5. The local kid has come home.
As you likely already known, Allen attended Stone Bridge High School in Ashburn, Va., before selecting Alabama as his college destination.
Now he's back in Virginia again.
"I definitely feel the support of fans," Allen said. "I really don't focus on the fact that I'm from here, because this is a new environment for me, new playbook, new team. So even though I'm home, this is still a new experience for me and I'm excited. I'm loving it, just being a part of the Washington Redskins. Every day I just wake up with the mentality to just try to get better and help this team win games."