NGSC Sports

Jared Allen, Now A Midway Monster

It was no secret that the mission for the Bears in this off-season was to re-build their defensive line.  General Manager Phil Emery and head coach Marc Trestman both believed this could be done, considering how they flipped the offensive line last season with much success.  The Bears defense was awful last year.  Not even to Chicago Bear standards, just football standards.  The Bears gave up an average of 161 yards a game on the ground to opposing offenses at a chunk of 5.3 yards a carry.   With numbers like that it’s not even a stretch of the imagination to say Screech Powers would’ve found his way through this defensive line (I have no time to school you on who Screech Powers is, see Google).

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The Bears stuck with their off-season plan and signed youthful linemen Lamarr Houston and Willie Young, while adding the veterans Jay Ratliff (re-signed) and Israel Idonije back into Chicago.  Not too many people saw what would happen next though, as the Chicago Bears signed free agent Jared Allen to a 4 year, $32 million deal.  Most reports had Jared Allen talking to Dallas, Denver and Seattle – not much thought was given to Allen choosing to stay in the NFC North.

Jared Allen has been in the league since 2004, which was his only season without double digit sacks.  Allen has only missed 3 games in his whole career and on top of all that brings energy and excitement to every play. Although he started his career with the Kansas City Chiefs and most recently played with the Minnesota Vikings, Allen possesses a Chicago Bears-friendly approach to his style.  He has an old school feel for the game and is as tough as they come. His energy is not always that of an aggressor at the line of scrimmage, but also he’s the type to laugh on the field, talk trash and keep things interesting after the whistle.  Totally old-school, which is so welcomed in Chicago.

Earlier this off-season the Bears made the decision of releasing defensive end Julius Peppers who promptly signed with rival Green Bay. Many saw this as a spiteful move made by Peppers but cooler heads realized, the Bears parted ways with Peppers because his underwhelming production on the field was not worth the hefty price tag. When comparing the two side by side over the last four years Jared Allen has roughly 20 more sacks and 20 more solo tackles than Julius Peppers.  Allen is just two years younger than Peppers but it’s not just the age that matters it’s how their style of play varies with their age.

Jared Allen is 32 and uses technique along with strength.  He’s quick for a man of his size (6’6″, 270) but it’s not his quickness that helps him get to ball carriers, it’s how he gets the right angle while in pursuit.  Julius Peppers on the other hand, is 34 years of age and unlike Allen, Peppers was blessed with freakish athleticism.  Considering he not only played defensive end for the University of North Carolina football team, but also played power forward for it’s basketball team, shows just how dangerously versatile the 6’7″, 287 pounder was in his prime.  Age kills athleticism though, which is what Peppers has relied on his whole career.  Yes, he has some technique, but it’s never been perfected because he always could rely on his natural ability to chase down ball carriers or swat passes down at the line of scrimmage.  When considering how both men vary in their game, the smart move is going with the man who has the technique down and still hasn’t shown signs of slowing down.

Jared Allen, who’s known to be a very serious hunter, probably won’t get much hunting done in the city of Chicago as he would in Minnesota, but I’m sure his wife Amy, a Chicago native is happy with the decision he’s made.

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At his introductory press conference, Jared Allen said: “I have a lot left in the tank, my body feels good. . . I want to win a Super Bowl.” It seems as if the Bears played this one wisely.  Jared Allen was in talks with teams but nothing seemed to be working out.  At one point it seemed as if Seattle was a lock to get him but when this was brought up to Allen his response was : “There’s been a lot of wrong reporting.”

Allen continued saying how he was excited to be working together on the defensive line with Jeremiah Ratliff.  He kept repeating the word “excitement” in expressing on what signing with the Bears meant to him: “I want to believe in what I’m playing for and who I’m playing for and that’s why I’m here. . . I believe in the product they’re putting out on the field, that’s what gets me amped to come play.”

The Bears restructured Jay Cutler’s contract before the Allen signing, leading many to believe it was a move made purely to pursue/sign the five time pro bowl defensive lineman.  Maybe Cutler just figured it’d be worth the restructure if he didn’t have to run from Allen anymore.  Can’t blame him for that one.  One too many times have Bears fans cringed and booed while Jared Allen sacked a Bears QB and celebrated with his “calf-roping” celebration.  Now the Chicago faithful can’t wait to see Allen wreck havoc on opposing quarterbacks.  The fans also hope that Allen can be that much needed bite, that helps to bring back – the Monsters of the Midway.

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G.W. Gras

Twitter @GeeSteelio

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