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Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne Developing A Rhythm With Their Extra Playing Time

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A weekend trip to South Beach? A quick visit home? Maybe a jaunt to Manhattan? NFL players have many intriguing options for how to spend their bye week, and defensive end Jonathan Allen wants none of it.

“Definitely gonna just stay around, work out, watch some film on New Orleans, take some time to get the body right and get ready for the grind,” Allen said when asked how he was planning to spend the Redskins' Week 4 bye week.

Getting some rest makes sense for Allen, as the defensive tackle played a season high 64 defensive snaps in Sunday’s win over Green Bay, good for 94 percent of total defensive plays.

“I’m in shape for it,” Allen said. “Of course sometimes I did get a little tired but after like a play or two off, then I was fine.”

The 64 snaps Allen played last week was a huge jump from the 28 and 43 snaps he played in games one and two against Arizona and Indianapolis.

But Allen isn’t the only defensive lineman who got a major snap increase last week. Daron Payne, Allen’s former teammate at Alabama, jumped up to 63 snaps last week, good for around 93 percent of defensive snaps. That’s a huge workload for a run-stopping nose tackle, but Payne said he didn’t mind the work either.

“I feel alright. I don’t know, they were telling me we were going to play a bunch during the week so I just got ready for it,” he said.

Against the Packers, Payne ran a total distance of 942.6 yards according to Next Gen Stats. Allen ran for 873.9 yards, more than his total from the first two weeks combined.

“Honestly you’ve just got to make sure you’re in shape for it, that’s the biggest thing,” Allen said. “If you’re not in shape for it it’s going to be obvious and you’re going to get eaten alive for it. I definitely feel like this week of preparation definitely helped me and Payne stay out there as long as we did.”

The former ‘Bama boys were in shape for it, and got to play a lot of snaps together lined up on the interior defensive line. Allen said the more playing time the two get together, the better they’ll be.

“100 percent. The more you’re out there the more you’re able to set up things,” he said. “So I definitely feel like we were able to develop a rhythm playing out there so much.”

Head coach Jay Gruden told reporters Monday that he was happy with how the young defensive duo played.

"We wanted to get them going. The first couple games we had a rotation going and trying to get their feet wet together, especially Daron, but I think he showed that he can handle the reps and we want to get him out there," Gruden said. "We didn’t draft him in the first round to sit by me. We wanted him to play as much as possible and I was impressed with the way that he and Jonathan played, not only at the start of the game, but at the end of the game. They were flying to the football."

Both Allen and Payne said they knew early on in the week leading up to Green Bay that they were going to get heavy snap counts, in part because of their impressive play in the first two weeks, but also because of Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and his pre-snap tricks.

“Right after the Colts game they told us, because you know how Aaron Rodgers likes to catch people subbing and stuff,” Payne said.

And it worked. Washington escaped Sunday’s game without getting called for a 12-men on the field penalty, and Payne and Allen both had big days.

Allen sacked Rodgers twice for his first two of the season, and Payne collected the first sack of his career.

Allen’s first sack of the game came on Green Bay’s first drive. Allen lined up in the B-gap on left guard Lane Taylor’s outside shoulder. When the ball was snapped, he wideeds his rush, punched Taylor’s outside shoulder with his left arm and then ripped through for the sack on Rodgers. Having an interior pass rush is key for stopping a quarterback like Rodgers, and Allen showed good technique on that play.

Payne’s sack came in the third quarter on second down, where he blew by the right guard Justin McCray en route to bringing down Rodgers.

Allen said notching that first career sack is always important for a defensive lineman.

“It’s good cause now he can get it out the way, he doesn’t gotta worry about it,” Allen said. “It’s over and done with and the rest will just come now. Once you get that first one you’re good to go.

Having a nose tackle provide any interior pass rush is always a boon for the defense, but Payne wasn’t as overly excited when asked about the sack.

“Yeah I’ve seen it, got it and I’m happy about it,” he said.

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