Beau nose

Posted: August 05, 2014

BEAU ALLEN was willing to stop and talk with a couple of reporters after yesterday's Eagles training-camp practice at Lincoln Financial Field, but first he wanted to see if center Jason Kelce had a minute to discuss a play on which Kelce beat the seventh-round rookie from Wisconsin.

"He just 'reached' me really good," Allen said. "It was, like, an outside zone - not to use too much jargon, he just reached me," getting his hands on Allen's pads, "and I shouldn't have gotten reached, because we were blitzing in that direction anyway. So I want to know how he knew and how he did it. He flew over there. He got over there fast."

Kelce later said Allen had given him too much credit, he didn't know where Allen was going on that play.

"My job was to cut him off and get him to the sideline, so he couldn't run down the play," Kelce said. "I got off pretty good on the snap count, and I got to his pad. That's the one thing, as a two-gapper, you don't want to let guys do. Everything is pushing off, trying to keep offensive linemen from getting into you."

Before we get too caught up in the esoterica of exactly how the big bellies bump against one another, let's pan back a bit. The big picture here is that Allen practiced with the starters yesterday, not for the first time, as the Eagles' heftiest defensive lineman (6-2, 333) continued to take advantage of the opportunity created by starter Bennie Logan's hamstring injury. Allen has not looked out of place in that group, though Logan, as a third-round pick a year ago who played well as a rookie, certainly will have an edge when he gets healthy.

Logan suited up for yesterday's session but sat out the team work. He said he was "being patient" with his hamstring.

"Beau's an intriguing guy," Kelce said. "For how big he is, he has very, very good feet. He's quick, he's very strong. He has a lot of raw ability that you like to see in a nose tackle. Right now he's just working on his technique. Getting to know the plays, getting to know our offense. Some of the other 'noses' are ahead of him in terms of the knowledge, but you see a lot of the things you want to see in terms of the skill level in him . . . The nose guards that I see that are the most consistent . . . are big guys that have really quick feet, or really long arms."

Allen seems much bigger than Logan, listed at 6-2, 315. He definitely is much bigger than last year's backup, undrafted Damion Square (6-2, 293). It might be worth keeping in mind that while the coaches like Logan, he also can play defensive end in a 3-4. Allen was drafted strictly as a nose tackle.

Asked if he was impressed that Allen was so intent on finding out what Kelce could tell him to improve, Kelce said: "That's just the culture that Chip [Kelly] instills here. Everything is trying to get better every single day at one little thing here, one little thing there, and over the course of a training camp, over the course of a season, over the course of multiple seasons, you continue to progress your game."

A nose tackle's job is pretty much to clog up traffic in the middle, keep blockers from creating holes, certainly keep them from getting to the second level, which is what o-linemen are called upon to do quite often on running plays in the Kelly offense.

"The important thing is just to not let the ball in the A-gaps" on either side of the center, Allen said. "The thing that I had trouble with when I got here was not being patient enough. Initially, I would just fly to the [frontside] A-gap, when I first got here, in the spring. But now, I can be more patient, and play more on your backside, and drive you, and then get over to the frontside A-gap later."

Allen said working against the starting offensive line is great experience. He agreed that he might have progressed quickly through the spring and the first week of camp because Kelly's brisk practice pace makes for more reps for nonstarters than many teams provide.

When the Eagles drafted Allen, general manager Howie Roseman invoked a Bill Parcells quote about God not making too many people that big and that fast. Why was he available in the seventh round? Because predraft scouting reports said he didn't move that well laterally. He's strictly a nose tackle, valuable only to a 3-4 team. NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock called him a "two-down thumper." Observers were a little surprised Kelly wanted such a commodity, given how he prizes versatility. But the New Orleans loss in the playoffs might have shown that the Eagles would need more bulk up front against some opponents.

Kelly and defensive-line coach Jerry Azzinaro, who held the same position at Oregon, tried to recruit Allen, but he opted to stay closer to his Minnesota home.

After the draft, Allen told Phillymag.com a funny story about his predraft visit with the Birds, and his first encounter with Kelly.

"I was sitting and waiting to go in and meet with [Roseman] and all the front-office guys, and coach Kelly was driving around a little remote control car - they use it out on the field because they can't do motions [players going in motion, in settings where there aren't 11 players] - and he drove it right into me and was like, 'Oh, hey Beau, how are you doing?' And I was like, 'Hey, coach.' "


On Twitter: @LesBowen

Blog: ph.ly/Eagletarian

comments powered by Disqus
|
|
|
|
|