On Wednesday, defensive tackle Jonathan Allen spoke with local reporters to provide an update on his offseason and share his thoughts on a variety of topics, including his new teammates and his expectations for the defense next season.
Here are five takeaways from Allen's videoconference:
1. He's all in on the new coaching staff.
It's been more than four months since Ron Rivera held his introductory press conference as the Redskins head coach. With Allen and his wife in attendance, he laid out a plan to develop a sustainable, winning culture in Washington that would help turn the team into a winning franchise.
From that moment, Allen has been all in on his new coach.
"My first impressions, I love him," he said. "I love everything I'm hearing from him, I'm loving everything I'm hearing from other players and other former teammates. He seems like the type of guy that we need in Washington, to help get this culture change and turn things around for the better."
There isn't one thing in particular that has jumped out to Allen about Rivera, but he did say "it was easy to get behind and believe in everything he was preaching." Perhaps part of that is because he has hired coaches who also believe in his message. He first brought in Jack Del Rio to be his defensive coordinator, and so far, he has lived up to his reputation.
"His track record speaks for itself," Allen said. "It's been nothing short of fantastic."
Rivera and Del Rio also brought in Sam Mills III as their defensive line coach, and Allen likes him, too. He views having Mills around as an opportunity to learn new techniques and schemes, so he's anxious to get on the field with him.
"It's hard to really get a lot of technique through a Zoom call, so I'm looking forward to the opportunity, trying to take everything I can and just trying to improve myself as a player."
2. He's "super excited" to play with Chase Young.
Not long after Young was drafted, he reached out to Allen to see if he could come visit him. It was an informal meeting, Allen said. It was just an opportunity for them to get to know each other.
Playing alongside Young is one of many reasons why Allen cannot wait for the season to begin.
"I'm super excited. Whenever you get a guy with that caliber it's definitely immediately going to make an impact for your team."
Adding Young is one of the latest moves the Redskins have made to improve the team. They already had strong pieces in players like Montez Sweat, Ryan Anderson and Ryan Kerrigan. Combine them with Young and the new coaching staff, and it creates plenty of possibilities for what the group can become.
"We have a great core of players," Allen said. "We have to go out there and do it, but, there's definitely a lot of potential for us to go out there and have a good season."
3. The new defensive scheme will allow the defensive line to be more aggressive.
Allen said the Redskins were in a four-man front 50-60% of the time in 2019, but this is the first time he has played in a true 4-3 defense since high school. He believes the switch will provide an opportunity for everyone on the defensive line, especially the edge rushers, to improve from last year.
"Just let those guys go and let the defensive line go, be free," he said.
Del Rio believes in playing aggressive on defense, but that isn't a new experience for the defensive line. That's the mentality they've had for years. Still, Allen can already feel a difference in this new scheme.
"You can definitely feel that sense of pressure and the type of play style that we're going to have this upcoming season."
The expectations for the defensive line were high before Young joined the team; they have risen even higher now in the month since the Redskins drafted him, and Allen knows that.
He doesn't get too caught up in that, though, because there's more than three months before the season opener Sept. 13. They still have to meet for the first time, go through training camp and learn to work together. So, rather than focus on what could be, Allen prefers to put all his attention into what the group can do right now.
"We just have a lot to prove," he said. "We're just keeping our heads down and we're just working; we'll see what happens come season time."
4. He's taking full advantage of his time in quarantine.
Like most people, living in quarantine is a new experience for Allen. He has an abundance of free time once his virtual meetings end around 2 p.m., so he's trying to use his time wisely by staying active.
"I'm a firm believer of if you want to have a good season you've got to have a good offseason," he said. "I'm doing everything I can to eat right, sleep better this offseason, just do everything I can to make sure I'm in the best possible shape."
The days can get rather boring during quarantine, so Allen has been doing whatever he can to keep his mind sharp. He loves esports, so he has been streaming more than he has in the past. He's also been golfing more frequently during this time of self-isolation; in fact, that's what he was going to do once he ended his videoconference.
His main goal is still to be in the best shape possible for the season. He wants to use the time alone as an opportunity to work harder than his competition so that he will have an advantage over them when the time comes.
"I'm really just trying to...make sure I'm in the best shape possible and really hit the ground running when training camp does start, or whenever we get together."
5. He anticipates there will be a 2020 season.
With leagues around the world debating whether to resume play this year amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the NFL has been able to be more patient since the 2020 campaign is still months away.
Safety is always the first priority, Allen said, but he "couldn't imagine" a scenario where the NFL does not have a season.
"I have full faith in our medical staff," he said. "It's really what they determine and what the NFL determines is safe for us to move forward with."