The Confusion of New York Jets’ DB Antonio Allen


Oct 5, 2014; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers tight end

Antonio Gates

(85) runs the ball into the end zone for a touchdown against New York Jets cornerback

Antonio Allen

(39) in the second quarter of the game at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Antonio Allen showed a lot of promise at the safety position last year. He’s quick, and showed good ball skills, so much so that he posted a pick six against Tom Brady and the Patriots. There was a lot of excitement about Calvin Pryor and Antonio Allen as the safety duo in the Jets’ backfield.

Then, the injuries came. Dee Milliner went down, and so did Dexter McDougle. Dimitri Patterson went nuts. The Jets were left with a gaping hole at cornerback, so Rex Ryan turned to Antonio Allen. And Allen struggled. He was working hard, but Antonio Allen is not a cornerback. He was just the best we had.

Now, Ryan is using Antonio Allen at both safety and cornerback, which is not good at all. Allen has looked confused, and no more than last Thursday night on the long Vereen TD. Let’s take a look.

Tom Brady is set up in the shotgun. On this play, Antonio Allen is playing a safety spot, indicated by the circle. Shane Vereen is at the top of the screen, and he is going to run straight up the sideline. The cornerback is going to let Vereen go by, with Allen expected to help over the top. Move ahead to the next shot.

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Brady is looking, but hasn’t found anyone yet. You can see at the top of the screen that the cornerback is not paying much attention to Shane Vereen, knowing that he has Antonio Allen over the top for help. Tom Brady is about to roll to the right as he feels a little bit of pressure coming up the middle.

This is the key moment of the play. Vereen is moving by on the outside. Brady rolls to his right. Antonio Allen’s assignment is to slide over to the sideline to provide coverage on Shane Vereen. Instead, he steps up toward Tom Brady.

The mistake has been made. Allen moves forward to shadow Brady (I guess). Vereen is wide open over the top.

Shane Vereen lays out for the catch and the touchdown, giving the Patriots a 7-0 lead.

You have to be concerned that missing such an easy assignment has to do, in part, with the constant changing of positions. It has been in part due to necessity, but they need to let this young player play one position and get his feet on the ground at that position.