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In His Debut, Jonathan Allen Impresses With Sack


The Redskins' first-overall pick this year showed he could make an immediate impact, collecting the first sack of his NFL career in the team's preseason opener against the Ravens.

When asked what he wanted to see from his rookies and younger players in the Redskins' first preseason game, head coach Jay Gruden said that he hoped to see them play with poise, be fundamentally sound, and most importantly, play hard.

After one NFL preseason game into his career, it seems that won't be a problem for defensive lineman Jonathan Allen.

The team's first-overall draft pick in 2017 played a variety of snaps in the first and second quarter during the Redskins 23-3 loss to the Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium Thursday night. And Allen, more excited than nervous to get his first taste of NFL action, showed a glimmer of what's to come in his career late in the second quarter, collecting his first sack.

"It felt good, I felt really fluid," Allen said of his first time on the field. "Felt really comfortable and we played pretty good. But definitely a lot of room for us to improve."

Allen's sack came thanks to a strong pressure, which occurred throughout most of the first half, which forced Baltimore quarterback Ryan Mallett to step up into the pocket and try to race upfield. Allen sniffed out Mallett's scurrying and shed his block to grab his legs from behind.

"Really just rushing the quarterback," Allen said. "I had seen him step up in the pocket and had a good retrace and got him before he was able to cross the line of scrimmage."

As most preseason games go, there will be plenty of things to learn and critique, parts of his game Allen won't fully be able to identify until he watches the tape before the team wraps up training camp this weekend in Richmond, Va.

Still, other teammates were already impressed with what they saw from the rookie, who felt he was adequately prepared for Thursday night's opener.

Check out the top images from the Washington Redskins' Preseason Week 1 matchup against the Ravens Aug. 10, 2017, at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland.

"He's a physical player," linebacker Mason Foster said. "He's learning quick too. With Tomsula, sky's the limit for that kid. He's working hard, picking up on the technique quick and I'm excited to see where he ends up."

"I saw him back there a couple times and the surge," cornerback Josh Norman said. "I like the surge from the defensive lineman that I see. They are deep. They have depth. This is the first time I saw that since I've been here so that's impressive to see guys like that. It's cool to me."

Along with Allen, nose tackle Phil Taylor, playing in his first game in more than two years, looked just as comfortable and showed some of his physicality shedding a block and stopping running back Terrance West from crossing the goal line in the first quarter.

The line's rotation didn't seem to have any significant dropoff, regardless of who rotated in during the first half, a testament to the unit's strength this year and their conditioning, constantly cycling through different packages. The next step will be improving as an entire group.

"I don't feel like we played that great of defensive football," Allen said. "We did good for the position we were in, but there's still a lot of room for us to improve. You definitely got to look at preseason games with a critical eye, and focus on where you can get better."

For Allen, so far, so good.

Keep it locked for more Redskins coverage on ESPN 980 and televised programming.

ESPN 980 programming streaming live on and the Redskins' official mobile app:

Thursday 8/10:  Inside The Locker Room from 1-2 p.m.

Friday 8/11:       The Cooley And Kevin Show from 8-9 a.m.

Friday 8/11:  Inside The Locker Room from 1-2 p.m.

Upcoming television programming:

Thursday 8/10: Redskins vs. Ravens, NBC/CSN 7:30 p.m.

Saturday 8/12: Redskins vs. Ravens replay, CSN 10 a.m.

Saturday 8/12: NFL Films Washington Redskins Year In Review, CSN 6:30 p.m.

Saturday 8/12: Redskins vs. Ravens replay, CSN 7 p.m.

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