I played for Gus [Bradley] in Jacksonville and worked out for him when he was in Seattle. He’s had the most recent success in terms of building solid defenses. Obviously, Coach [Mike] Pettine had the defense with the Jets and did really well with them.
If I had a preference, I’d pick Gus. I already know what I’m going to get because I’ve seen it. I just know he brings a competitive atmosphere where the best guy is going to be on the field. He’s going to challenge everybody, motivate everybody and inspire everybody. He’s an uplifting person and I think you need that out of a coach. The biggest thing about him is he’s genuine. He genuinely wants to see you succeed.
Saban is referring to the concerns about Allen’s surgically repaired shoulders, which are both moderately arthritic. That wasn’t the only concern evaluators had about Allen, though, as one executive predicted a couple weeks before the draft that Allen would be a surprise slider, citing a lack of explosiveness.
Now, before anyone completely dismisses Saban’s comment as just another college coach singing the praises of his former player, keep in mind that the Alabama coach doesn’t think all of his players are steals.
According to NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport, running back Matt Jones is on the block. Headed into his third year, Jones followed a breakout rookie season with an immensely disappointing 2016 where he played in only seven games. Despite putting up 460 yards and three touchdowns, Jones put another three balls on the turf after five fumbles his rookie season. It was enough for Washington to bury him on the depth chart.
So it goes during draft season, where Jones may be enticing as a roster filler for a team that doesn’t hit on a late-round running back. Still, the investment in the 6-1, 235-pound power back will not be insignificant. Coaches will need to revamp the way he approaches carries in order to harness all the speed and power.
The No. 22 overall pick strained his right Achilles tendon during spring drills last season, and the injury lingered the rest of the summer. He opened the season on the roster, but played little. He corralled just two catches for 66 yards in the first two games of the season. He has been sidelined since Week 3.
With both DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon set to garner wide-ranging interest on the open market, Doctson’s health will be under the microscope this offseason. If both veterans leave, Doctson will need to play a big role alongside Jamison Crowder and Jordan Reed in the Redskins’ passing offense.
This is a silly way of getting to a real point about the Redskins this offseason: There is almost no way for them to navigate it correctly. There are the pitfalls of a potential long-term deal with Kirk Cousins and the dangers of once again pinning him into a franchise tag situation. There is the matter of losing the 30-year-old Garcon, who was a lifeline for Cousins this season and led the team with 79 catches and 1,041 receiving yards. There is the danger of counting on 2016 first-round pick Josh Doctson, who appeared in just two games before getting shut down with an Achilles issue.
And then there is the matter of Jackson, who, even at 30, is still a top-end speed receiver. His devastating home-run power was a very useful and difficult to replicate weapon in head coach Jay Gruden’s arsenal. If they don’t really love him, might he end up torturing them in the uniform of a division rival?
The Panthers are targeting Matt Kalil to be their new left tackle, Rapoport reported, per sources. That would bring him together with his brother Ryan Kalil, which would also kick Michael Oher out to right tackle, Rapoport added. Carolina are working on signing former Bucs wide receiver Russell Shepard, per Rapoport.
Defensive end Courtney Upshaw has agreed to terms to remain with Falcons, a source informed of the situation told Rapoport. Atlanta also signed defensive lineman Jack Crawford to a three-year, $10.3 million deal with $3.75 million due in the first year, and tight end Levine Toilolo to a three-year, $12 million deal, Rapoport reported.