Former Boston College defensive end Zach Allen has been promoted to the Arizona Cardinals’ starting lineup after the team released the presumptive starter at the position, Darius Philon. Philon, who signed a $10 million deal earlier in free agency, was cut following his arrest on Friday, August 9 for an assault involving a deadly weapon.
While the circumstances for his promotion are certainly not what he had in mind, Allen has been preparing all pre-season as if he would be the starter to make sure that he can contribute when his number is called. Now, with a Philon-sized hole in the Cardinal’s defensive line, Allen is ready to show what he has.
When asked about his role with the Cardinals, Allen stated, “I’m just here to do whatever the team needs me to do. I said that since Day 1 since I got drafted. It hasn’t changed. I’m just here to play football. Whatever my role may be, I’m just excited to do that and take that role as far as I can.”
Allen, who was visibly frustrated following his pre-season debut against the Chargers in which he did not record a single statistic, has still managed to gain the respect of his teammates and coaches alike. Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury highlighted Allen’s “coachability” when talking about the young defensive end, and categorized him as a “jack-of-all-trades”.
Zach Allen is far more ready than most rookies. High football IQ. Just knows how to play.
— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) August 12, 2019
Allen’s teammate on the defensive line, Corey Peters, also heaped praise on the former third-round pick, saying that he was “physically” ready to play in the NFL, he just needed to improve his football IQ, something that undoubtedly takes time to develop.
The great opportunity for Allen is extremely worrying for the Cardinals, who finished dead last in rushing defense last season, allowing 154.9 rushing yards per game. Arizona also finished 26th in points per game, allowing 26.6 per contest.
Regardless of the defensive struggles last season, Allen will certainly bring a new energy to the University of Phoenix Stadium. Known for his relentless motor and intelligence, Cardinals fans should be excited about seeing their new defensive prospect on the field a lot come Week 1.
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