All Jonathan Allen Wants To Do Is Win

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RICHMOND, Va. -- Tackles, sacks, forced fumbles -- all of that comes secondary to Redskins defensive lineman Jonathan Allen. As do individual accolades, such as Allen making the NFL Network's All-Under-25 Team, and the possibility of him being named a team captain in 2019.

Entering his third professional season, Allen's No. 1 desire remains the same as it's always been.

"I’m trying to win games," Allen told reporters after Day 5 of training camp Tuesday. "I’m tired of losing. I hate losing more than I like winning, so I’m just trying to help this team. If they put me as captain, then great. I’m just trying to do everything I can to help this organization win."

Allen rarely experienced losing before Washington selected him 17th overall in the 2017 NFL Draft. At Stone Bridge High School, located about five miles from the Redskins' facility in Ashburn, Virginia, his varsity teams combined to go 38-4 from 2010 to 2012, according to MaxPreps.

He then committed to Alabama, and in his four years there the Crimson Tide won the 2015 College Football Playoff National Championship, made the College Football Playoff twice and posted 51 wins compared to six losses.

Add those records, and you get 10 losses over seven years for Allen between high school and college. During his rookie campaign in Washington, the Redskins finished 7-9. Another nine-loss campaign followed a year ago.

In the midst of these struggles, Allen has focused on the controllables. Following a rookie campaign hampered by a lingering foot injury, Allen went on to start every game in 2018 and established himself as a valuable interior defender. He recorded 61 total tackles (11 for a loss), and his eight sacks were second on the team to four-time Pro Bowler Ryan Kerrigan.

This offseason, Allen basically lived at Redskins Park to prepare for Year 3 with fellow defensive linemen Daron Payne and Matt Ioannidis. Everything was a competition, from on the field to in the weight room.

When Allen returned home, the self-proclaimed gamer competed some more.

"One hundred percent, it’s where I get my fix," Allen said when asked about video games as an offseason activity. "I always got to be competing no matter what it is. If it's not competitive or not something I can compete in, then I don't really find it enjoyable."

Allen's gaming habits took a back seat during the team's off day Monday. He slept until about noon, "squatted heavy" and then slept until dinner. After eating, he mentally prepared for Tuesday's practice session at the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center. Then it was back to bed.

It's this type of ambition and discipline that's turned Allen into a force in the trenches, routinely beating offensive linemen during both 1-on-1 and team drills over the past week.

"Going back to college, [Alabama] Coach [Nick] Saban used to always say, 'It's not about the other team, it's about what we do,' and to me it doesn't matter who I line up against. I'm going to try to the same thing, play with the same aggression, same physicality, and I'm going to get my work in regardless."

More than anything, Allen said he feels confident going into his third season. He feels as though he fully understands the playbook and has a strong grasp of the overall defensive scheme, which will allow him to play faster and more aggressive.

After five days of practice, Allen has been pleased with the communication between each level of the defense but added, "we're nowhere near where we need to be." He's also been impressed with the rookie class, which is more fundamentally sound and physical than he anticipated. "If I didn’t know any better I wouldn’t know they’re rookies."

However, more than anything, Allen respects the team's like-mindedness entering the 2019 campaign.

"I just feel like we have a bunch of guys who just want to win," Allen said. "Honestly, if it's not about that, there's really no point. ...We're desperate to win and honestly, if we don't win, it doesn't really matter about stats. Personally, I don't even care about that."

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