Washington Commanders defensive tackle Jonathan Allen will be questionable for the team's Week 2 matchup against the Detroit Lions.
Allen, who suffered a groin injury against the Jacksonville Jaguars, was listed as a limited participant on Wednesday and Thursday and was a full participant on Friday after receiving an MRI on Monday, although neither head coach Ron Rivera nor Allen himself seemed concerned by the injury.
Allen's presence would provide a boost for the Commanders' defensive line, which had its depth depleted when Phidarian Mathis was placed on Injured Reserve. The Commanders did sign Donovan Jeter to their active roster and Benning Potoa'e to the practice squad, and while Rivera did call Jeter a "space-eater," having their Pro Bowl defensive tackle makes them much better equipped to come away from Detroit with a win.
Kamren Curl, who was ruled out of the Commanders' season opener, was also listed as limited throughout the week and will be questionable against the Lions. Having Curl would certainly be a benefit for the Commanders' secondary, particularly against slot receivers like Amon-Ra St. Brown and tight end T.J. Hockenson, but the Commanders got an exceptional performance against the Jaguars from Darrick Forrest, who grabbed the game-sealing interception against the Jaguars.
If Curl cannot go play, the team is confident in Forrest's ability.
"DFoe did a great job. He did things tremendously well and the things we asked him to do did very well," Rivera said Wednesday. "That was a tremendous performance, and he made an impact in the game."
Cole Turner, who was ruled as questionable against the Jaguars but eventually listed as inactive last Sunday, will be active in Detroit, giving the Commanders their full arsenal of tight ends available for Carson Wentz.
On if he looks back and wishes he had played more of his starters in the preseason:
"Yes. You most certainly would. A guy that took advantage of it was -- and we're watching DFo [S Darrick Forrest] play. I mean last week, what he did was a result of him getting opportunities. You sit there and you say, 'Man, that's pretty good.' Oh yeah, that's right when we played these guys in the preseason, that's what he did against Carolina. That's what he did against Kansas City. We saw that in Baltimore, and it's not a surprise. I mean, [S] Jeremy Reaves is a guy that's a great example of showing you what he can do in the preseason when he gets out there. And now it's translating to the field. That's what you wanna see from the young guys, is taking it from what we're doing and putting it on the field. And again, DFo is an example of a guy that has. Now I will say this too, DFo made several mistakes, but he plays fast and confident. That's gonna cover it up. So there's some really good things to see as far as growth in young guys that you look for. I mean, it's like watching [WR] Jahan [Dotson]. Jahan did what he did and had a great week. Won Pepsi Rookie of the Week. But at the same time, there's some mistakes and you ask Jahan, Jahan is gonna tell you, 'I could have run this route better. I could have gotten a better release on this. I could have taken just a step wider and then come back.' That's what you want from your young guys."
On if there are any benefits of coaching with your family:
"Yeah, there is. I mean, it's that familiarity. It's funny because if somebody's gonna tell me something I need to hear it's him. He's not gonna shy away from it. And I could say the same thing for a couple of coaches that have been with me for a long, long time. [Assistant Defensive Backs Coach] Richard Rodgers, [Offensive Line Coach] John Matsko, they're gonna tell me what I need to know and what I need to hear. They're not gonna candycoat or sugarcoat anything. They're just gonna tell me, 'Hey, this, that, and the other thing.' That's just the way it needs to be and that's the way it should be. All my coaches should be able to do that. But when you have a relative on it, yeah he's my nephew and he's a young guy that started from the bottom and is gonna work his way up and hopefully he'll get the opportunities that I've had."
On his opinion on teams that have a rule against hiring family members:
"Well, it's not necessarily that I like it, it's just that there's the opportunity. If I've been told I couldn't hire a relative, I wouldn't have hired a relative. You know what I'm saying? But again, he's starting at the bottom and from that point, wherever he goes, he goes. I made it very clear cut that if anybody's gonna have to do it the right way he is, just because of his last name. And I've been very clear with that with him and his parents. I told my brother, I said, just tell him don't do anything that's gonna make me fire him."
On his thoughts on Detroit Lions QB Jared Goff:
"Well, first of all, I appreciate who Jared golf is. He's a golden bear, so I'm okay with that. Second thing is you know, it it's surprising that he got traded, but he's in Detroit. He's a veteran guy. He's had some success in his career, very similar to what our guy has had. Our guys had a lot of success in his career as well. So, these are just two guys that have another opportunity with another team and that's really the crux of it is that, you know, they have opportunities somewhere else."
On LB Jamin Davis:
"The expectations are higher. You know what I'm saying? And those are our expectations. So, our expectations shouldn't be higher than his. He should be wanting to be perfect every time. We just wanna make sure he understands and again, I have no issue with what Jack [Del Rio] said, because again first of all, it's just his honest assessment. Secondly, I agree with him. I agree that the young man had a good camp and I thought he played well in the preseason. I expect him to go out and do those things. Again, if it's a base fundamental thing, issue like that, like it was, let's get those corrected, don't repeat the mistakes."
On S Darrick Forrest:
"I was very excited for DeFoe's performance. He was a guy that came in last year and I told him before the game, I said, 'Hey man, listen, last year, you didn't know if you needed to go left or right. And now you're about to get your first start in the National Football League.' And I told him I trusted him and I believed in him and he went out there and he really played well. I was really happy for him, excited for him to see it all come together. You normally see a second-year, you see the biggest jump between players from their rookie year to second year because their rookie year everything's moving. So it, I mean, it's moving, you feel like it's moving at the speed of light because I felt that way as a player myself. And so you feel like everything's going so fast and you get a year under your belt and you get another offseason, a full off season and things really slow down. I feel for DeFoe, the game has started to slow down and he can focus less on, 'Okay, what's my assignment but how was the offensive attacking me? And so I think as a rookie, you're like, man, what am I supposed to do? Hey, I just want to make sure I'm doing what I'm supposed to do. Okay. This is what I'm supposed to do in this defense and I'm doing it and you don't see the full picture. You don't see the broad picture. I think the evolution of DeFo is the game slowing down and he's starting to recognize formation, starting to recognize split, starting to recognize back field sets. And it's not just okay, what's my job and I gotta make sure I do my job. So I think that's where you see the growth from DeFoe."
On using S Kam Curl and Darrick Forrest collectively:
"It'll kind of morph. We have three good safeties. I mean just like last season, we had three safeties playing at times with Landon [Collins] Kam and Bobby [McCain]. I'm pretty sure it'll be some combination because after seeing what we saw Sunday, we know it is not too big for DeFoe. He can play and then whenever Kam gets back, it is gonna be fun. It's gonna be exciting to mix and match the pieces and make sure the right combination is out there on the field to give us our best possibility to win games."
On what makes S Kam Curl so valuable:
"Kam is a leader and he leads in his own way. He's not just extremely vocal, but guys really gravitate towards him. He's got a charisma about him. Just an aura about him. It's hard to explain. I mess with Kam every single day just cuz I like being around him. He's a fun guy to be around and Kam, he's a cerebral player. He's very intelligent and you have to be in order to play multiple positions. We could stick Kam at nickel, we could stick Kam at free. We could stick Kam at strong, we can stick Kam down in the box to play dime. He has value and he has a ton of value. A guy like him, you're excited to have around cuz he's really like a Swiss Army knife. What do you need him to do today? And we put him in the role that we best need him that day. And then that could change the next week. Okay. Prime example, we played the Panthers last year. Okay. Kam, we need you to cover [RB Christian]McCaffrey. Okay. He covered McCaffrey. Okay. Following week, Hey, we need you to cover this tight end. Okay. Kam covered the tight end. So being able to mix and match and do those type of things, it creates value for yourself and he is very valuable to this defense."
On the performance overall in Week 1:
"I was excited. I thought it was a good start. I thought it was a very good start with us kind of changing things the way we're doing on defense. I thought guys really, they played fast. We gave up the one explosive play. Wasn't happy about it Unfortunately, we gave up the play and it shouldn't have happened. The guys know it shouldn't have happened, understanding exactly how we should have rotated and things like that. But for the most part, I thought communication was really, really clean. And that was one thing that we really focused on this offseason. We said, 'Hey, two words we're gonna eliminate is I didn't know and I didn't hear.' And I think the communication aspect of it was very, very good."