Chiefs’ Jeff Allen physically, mentally prepared to compete

  Print article

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Offensive lineman Jeff Allen has appeared in 32 games with 28 starts since joining the Chiefs as a second-round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.

Allen has been a mainstay at left guard. That is, until the Chiefs added two-time Pro Bowl left guard Ben Grubbs in March via trade with the New Orleans Saints in exchange for a fifth-round pick.

Kansas City Chiefs guard Jeff Allen (71) blocks during the first half of an NFL football game against the Oakland Raiders at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Oct. 13, 2013. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga)

Kansas City Chiefs guard Jeff Allen (71) blocks during the first half of an NFL football game against the Oakland Raiders at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Oct. 13, 2013. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga)

The acquisition of Grubbs left Allen without a sure spot to hang his hat, but Allen enters the offseason workouts with a full understanding what is at stake.

“I’m coming to compete,” Allen emphatically said during a Thursday media conference call. “Competition never made anybody worse. I don’t feel anyway about it besides me getting better and coming in and winning the job, whether it be right tackle, left guard, right guard, anywhere.”

The 6-4, 306-pound Allen offers flexibility on the offensive line, and that potentially works in his favor in the coming months leading to training camp.

With Grubbs set to man the left guard position, Allen projects to battle Donald Stephenson, among others, at right tackle or wherever the Chiefs deem necessary.

“The way I’m taking it is competition is competition,” Allen said. “It’s not going to make me any worse. The only thing it’s going to do is propel me to a different level. I’m looking forward to it.”

The Chiefs moved Allen from left guard to right tackle to start the 2014 season with Stephenson serving a four-game suspension for violating the league’s policy on performance enhancing substances.

Unfortunately, a right elbow/biceps injury suffered in the first regular-season game landed Allen on injured reserve where he has since rehabbed following surgery.

Coach Andy Reid said on April 20, which marked the first day of the offseason workout program, Allen has a clean bill of health.

“Jeff is back and doing everything,” Reid said then. “Looks good, very good.”

For his part, Allen left no doubt where he stood.

“I am 100 percent,” Allen said. “I feel about as good as I’ve felt my entire career. I’m stronger, faster, a little bit more lean, so it’ll be a good year for me.”

Playing offensive tackle isn’t new for Allen, who finished his college career at Illinois with 47 straight starts (38 at left tackle, nine at right tackle), and it is considered his natural position.

Allen, who enters the final year of his contract, said he trained on drills specific to offensive tackle in recent months.

“I’ve been working on a lot of things this offseason, primarily my kick slide, getting back comfortable at tackle because I haven’t done it in a while,” Allen said. “I know I played one game last year there, but it had been a while before that since I had been out there.”

Allen said he stayed in Kansas City during the offseason and worked with Chiefs strength and conditioning coach Barry Rubin.

He added the weight training with Rubin has been a big part of his workouts for the past six weeks, and Allen said he is now benching more weight now than before the injury.

With a starting position on the line, Allen is motivated, healthy and mentally ready to take on the challenge that waits for him.

“I’m a versatile guy and I can play anything,” Allen said. “Coach Reid’s motto is best five. My goal is to just be one of those best five, whether it be right tackle, right guard or wherever it might be. Left guard, it doesn’t matter.”

—–

Herbie Teope is the lead beat writer and reporter for ChiefsDigest.com. Use the contact page to reach him or find him on Twitter:

—–