The Atlanta Falcons are getting back to tackling and one notable player getting in on tackles is Ricardo Allen.
Allen has come a long way from a very public firing on Hard Knocks back in 2014. Since then, he became one of the league’s best young safeties and has excelled with the Falcons both on and off the field. His September Achille’s tear was a huge blow to the defense. Also concerning was his rehab: Achille’s injuries can end careers, and typically have a much longer healing time that put his training camp and even preseason availability in doubt.
Dan Quinn said this weekend that Allen looks like himself.
I really looked early on in the first practice or two to see if I could tell if he would plant or favor a side. Once I tried to look as hard as I can and really, is he favoring or not, once I had look again to rewind, is he, is he not, I knew: he’s not. The natural leadership that goes along with him was there. I thought he really looks like himself. Now it’s a matter of staying conditioned, getting the mobility there.
This is a huge step for Allen. The defense desperately needs him back in the lineup. It looks like that will not be a problem.
We’re working him back to full [snaps]. He’s definitely full speed.
Allen spoke with the media for the first time in a long time. He said exactly that when he got in front of the mics.
I haven’t been up here in a long time.
Quinn has spent years talking up Allen’s leadership and it comes through even in his interviews.
It feels good [to be back out on the field.] I’ve been going at it for a long time, so it’s just good to be out there with my boys, just be out there with the team. It feels good. The team is gelling well. So far, right now, I’m feeling really well.
Some players come back timid or worried early during camp after suffering catastrophic injuries. Allen is not one of those players, saying he can only practice at full speed.
I’m feeling good. I haven’t been thinking about [the injury].
His health sounds very good. Per Allen himself, he’s dealing with a very small bit of soreness.
My soreness is real minimum. It’s making me feel real good. I’m confident with it.
Allen used a lot of his downtime studying offenses and researching quarterbacks. He “got bored” and started working on foundational offensive concepts, studying game film, including Kyle Shanahan’s time in Atlanta. Not only does he expect the studying to result in more interceptions and turnovers, but he is already thinking about a coaching career after retirement.
Fans are just hoping that minimum soreness leaves and he returns to form in 2019.