Atlanta Falcons: The Mysterious Ricardo Allen


I got the first big play of the year.” – free safety Ricardo Allen

Those were the exact words of Ricardo Allen after making a big hit in last year’s preseason game. Even though that is not what you want any of your players saying, he got caught in the shine of the NFL.

Now in his second season, Allen is in competition for the starting job at free safety after making a position change last offseason.

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New head coach Dan Quinn knows a thing or two about the importance of having an intelligent safety in the back end from his Seattle days. During OTAs and minicamp, Quinn continued what was left of Mike Nolan’s plan for Ricardo Allen, a 2014 fifth round pick as a cornerback, and plug him into the free safety battle with Charles Godfrey and Kemal Ishmael.

The position switch seems like a success for now. Allen has impressed the team during minicamp with his awareness and ball skills. Both are important skills needed to manage the center field of Quinn’s 4-3 under defense.

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To many fans he is still a mystery yet to be solved.

Entering his second year, he has the attention of the coaching staff because of his awareness and ball skills, something that he has possessed since his college days at Purdue.

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While at Purdue, he started all three years at cornerback and proved himself to be an useful playmaker. He is extremely quick when defending opponents and has a physical mindset in the run game as a willing tackler. He excelled playing zone coverage and has great eyes that roam the field.

The big question then, is why didn’t he make the team?

The team was filled with backup corners like Robert McClain, Javier Arenas, and Josh Wilson. Allen being a rookie and after coming off a year on the practice squad, he’s been making the push to play alongside strong safety William Moore.

Still, training camp is around the corner and hopes can not be too high until pads are put on. Though we can not make high assumptions, Allen is definitely someone to keep an eye on this preseason.

Next: Atlanta Falcons: Projecting the offensive starters