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In Word Allen's About 'focus' [Ajc]


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In word, Allens about focus

Cornerback-turned .free safety makes most of shot at starting slot.

BY D. ORLANDO LEDBETTER DLEDBETTER@AJC.COM

Ricardo Allen goes from being released to resigned to the practice squad to a contender as starter.

FLOWERY BRANCH

Before now, Ricardo Allens professional football highlight came last season when he was one of the featured rookies on HBOs Hard Knocks.

There was a locker-room issue, a zip-lining trip and the revelation about his superhero drawer full of garments.

But, the former fifth-round pick and his then-girlfriend, Grace, would battle through those times. In one of the more memorable scenes, they would pull a word on a stick out of a jar and go over its motivational meaning for the day.

Fast forward. Theyve since married, and they are out of sticks.

However, Allen, who was moved to free safety by the new coaching staff, has plenty to be motivated about after getting cut and brought back to the practice squad last season.

Hes working with the first team as the Falcons try to find a free safety under first-year coach Dan Quinn.

Winning a starting position is enough to be hyper-motivated.

Its always an encouraging word, Allen said. Every now and then, when times get bad, we go to them. We have done it so long that we do it for bad times now.

The word hes using during training camp is a simple one. Focus, he said. I have to just stay focused every day.

At Purdue, Allen had 253 tackles, 13 interceptions and four touchdowns. The Falcons were impressed with his speed and tackling, Quinn said.

Hes off to a good start in training camp.

I like him a lot, too, defensive coordinator Richard Smith said. I love his speed and athletic ability. Hes doing a great job with it. Once again, coming into these preseason games there is going to be a good battle at that position.

Allen was drafted as a cornerback, but the new staff believes his skills are better suited for free safety in the new 4-3 under defensive scheme.

Hes got speed and range, Smith said. Thats why we put him there. Thats what we were looking for.

While William Moore is an apparent lock at strong safety, the Falcons are not ready to announce Allen as the starting free safety. Charles Godfrey, Kemal Ishmael, Sean Baker, Terrell Floyd and Damian Parms are the other safeties in training camp.

During practices, Allen hasnt looked out of place, but he needs to be more patient and let things develop before he makes his move. He gets to the ball with ease and breaks down to make tackles.

Ricardo Allen, Im so excited for his progress with him coming in at a new position, Moore said.

Allen has moved ahead of Godfrey and Ishmael, who have more NFL experience.

I think that whole position is going to be a great battle, Smith said. We have some younger guys in there who are doing really well, too. I like his demeanor. Hes serious about it. Hes the first guy in the building.

After being released last season, Allen was re-signed and stashed on the practice squad. He was promoted off the squad in December.

He acknowledges that last season was tough mentally.

Every day in this league is a blessing, Allen said. Yeah, you can take it as being a disappointment. Or, you can look at it as, God has a plan for you. I always believed that God had a plan for me.

He tried to remain upbeat through it all.

He put me in that position for a reason in order to make me keep working harder, Allen said. That made me stay humble and let me keep chasing my dream. Thats how I took it every day.

Allen tried to learn as much as he could while on the practice squad.

I took it as a redshirt year, Allen said. I came back with a chip on my shoulder. Im ready to prove myself. Im ready to show this team what my worth is and that Im ready to play with them.

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Getting cut and being assigned to the practice squad may not have been a bad thing for Allen. He already had the physical ability but It probably gave him a chip and a focus that he otherwise wouldn’t have had. Sometimes that type of adversity makes you a much better player.

Edited by FentayeJones
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I argue with Seahawks/anti-falcon fans often and the one thing I agree with them on is that it seemed that a lot of the competition talk from the prior staff was just lip service. There was a glass ceiling on developing players once they found someone they liked. You did not see players full potential by seeing them run with the first team, or simply paying attention and fitting the scheme toward allowing guys to do what they do best. They were constantly trying to fit a square peg into around hole.

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fyi for the last regime bashers, RA#37 said himself that he started putting reps in as a safety last year, for the last regime (http://goo.gl/jWYIXM).... just putting it out there, I get that everyone is excited for the new staff but enuf already!

Prior Regime tries Allen at FS = Cut = FFS70 Playing his Dimitroffed Card

Current Regime tries Allen at FS = Starter = Me Playing the Smittied Card

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Prior Regime tries Allen at FS = Cut = FFS70 Playing his Dimitroffed Card

Current Regime tries Allen at FS = Starter = Me Playing the Smittied Card

I think we get it that Smitty was too cautious, so following a year that he missed the playoffs after his first losing season and trying to battle the "falcons are soft" label, would you hand over the reins to a 5th round CB at the FS position?...prob not if you already have a proven vet on the roster. More than likely you're gonna go with the formula that made you the winningest coach in franchise history. I guarantee Allen wasnt the only 5th round player in the league cut then placed on the PS. I'm rooting for Allen but if he is a flop how soon after the season does the trend "Quinned" go into effect?

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I think we get it that Smitty was too cautious, so following a year that he missed the playoffs after his first losing season and trying to battle the "falcons are soft" label, would you hand over the reins to a 5th round CB at the FS position?...prob not if you already have a proven vet on the roster. More than likely you're gonna go with the formula that made you the winningest coach in franchise history. I guarantee Allen wasnt the only 5th round player in the league cut then placed on the PS. I'm rooting for Allen but if he is a flop how soon after the season does the trend "Quinned" go into effect?

I actually believe the definition of 'Quinned" will be "the rapid development of young, perhaps previously forgotten middle round draft picks into big contributors." Instead of burying them on the bench, practice squad or cutting them, they will get a legitimate shot at playing tome and will be coached up instead of ignored.

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Its always an encouraging word, Allen said. Every now and then, when times get bad, we go to them. We have done it so long that we do it for bad times now.

Focus, he said. I have to just stay focused every day.

The Falcons were impressed with his speed and tackling, Quinn said.

I like him a lot, too, defensive coordinator Richard Smith said. I love his speed and athletic ability. Hes doing a great job with it. Once again, coming into these preseason games there is going to be a good battle at that position.

Hes got speed and range, Smith said. Thats why we put him there. Thats what we were looking for.

Ricardo Allen, Im so excited for his progress with him coming in at a new position, Moore said.

I think that whole position is going to be a great battle, Smith said. We have some younger guys in there who are doing really well, too. I like his demeanor. Hes serious about it. Hes the first guy in the building.

Every day in this league is a blessing, Allen said. Yeah, you can take it as being a disappointment. Or, you can look at it as, God has a plan for you. I always believed that God had a plan for me.

He put me in that position for a reason in order to make me keep working harder, Allen said. That made me stay humble and let me keep chasing my dream. Thats how I took it every day.

I took it as a redshirt year, Allen said. I came back with a chip on my shoulder. Im ready to prove myself. Im ready to show this team what my worth is and that Im ready to play with them.

all of these direct quotes and yet no quotation marks. DLed makes his own writing rules

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