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Former Alabama football star still on board with the Commanders

Washington Commanders defensive tackle Jonathan Allen (93) is introduced before an NFL football game the against Miami Dolphins, Sunday, December 03, 2023 in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Daniel Kucin Jr.)
Daniel Kucin Jr./AP
FR170985 AP
Washington Commanders defensive tackle Jonathan Allen (93) is introduced before an NFL football game the against Miami Dolphins, Sunday, December 03, 2023 in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Daniel Kucin Jr.)


Jonathan Allen is one of Washington's longest-tenured players has seen a lot of change and experienced a lot of losing. The team has been known as three different names, he has played in just one playoff game and he's on his fourth coach. Going into his eighth NFL season, he could not be happier.

Months after saying he did not want to be part of another rebuild, the respected veteran and longtime defensive captain is thrilled with how things are unfolding under new general manager Adam Peters and coach Dan Quinn. He has a smile on his face each day he gets to the Commanders' facility for offseason workouts and has fully bought into what the latest regime is selling.

"I love the coaching staff, I love the direction we're moving in, I love the way we're working," Allen said after practice Wednesday. "It has truly been reinvigorating and just so fun to come to work every day. This is literally just a dream job right now."

A dream following a nightmare 4-13 season that was not good for a whole lot of people around the Commanders. It certainly was not Allen's best, following Pro Bowl nods in 2021 and 2022.

A change of scenery could certainly have been in the cards, given especially that Allen has no guaranteed money left on his contract, which has two years remaining.

Conversations in recent months with Peters and Quinn got them all on the same page.

"We just talked about what we want this thing to look like, and I'm on board with it," Allen said. "Obviously I'm emotional, and last year was tough. But after time moves on, you learn from the past and get ready for the future and I'm super excited about what we've done."

That included signing veteran free agents such as Bobby Wagner, Zach Ertz and Marcus Mariota and drafting Heisman Trophy-winning LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels with the second pick. The defense could also have a much different look with Quinn and new coordinator Joe Whitt Jr. in charge, and a lot has changed outside of Allen and fellow defensive tackle Daron Payne, also of Alabama.

"Everything starts up front," Whitt said recently. "I'm a believer of that. And that's where we're going, and I'm glad we have those guys because that's where it all starts."

Allen is not worried yet about how his role will change and acknowledged it's too early to say if this is the best he has felt about Washington going into a season. After all, the team's record since he was picked in the first round out of Alabama is 43-62-1, counting a wild-card round defeat.

"Games aren't won in May," Allen said. "They're won in September, so, all I can say is we're working really hard and I like the direction we're going in. We still got a long way to go, I have a long way to go, so we'll see come the season."

The Commanders just announced David Blackburn as the director of player personnel, another change after holdover Eric Stokes left the organization. Blackburn spent the past 17 years with the Baltimore Ravens, most recently as director of college scouting.

"I've known David Blackburn for a number of years dating back to our days scouting the West Coast," Peters said in a statement. "David has always impressed me with his consistent approach, talent in player evaluation and overall professionalism. He is one of the most respected scouts in the NFL and is also a top-notch person."

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