When your Houston Texans signed Jeff Allen as a free agent in March of 2016, the hope was that he’d provide a reasonable facsimile of Brandon Brooks’ production at a cheaper price. That didn’t happen, as Allen performed quite poorly in his first season in Houston.
What I didn’t realize—perhaps I just missed it—was that 2016 marked Allen’s first foray into playing right guard; he’d played left guard with the Chiefs.
"I feel like it was kind of an up-and-down year," Allen, 27, said. "Obviously, you have to look in the mirror and try to figure out what you can do better.
"Everybody can do things better. For me personally, every year I try to figure out what I can do better, learn the offense a little bit better, get a little more comfortable in a new position.
"I would say it was more so just being on a new team in a new offense and getting comfortable all-around playing a position I hadn't played before. It was my first time playing right guard, so I needed to get a good feel for that.
While shifting from the left to right side on the interior of the line may not be as dramatic a change as the fabled culture shock of a player moving from right tackle to left tackle, it stands to reason that there would be an adjustment. Could those growing pains, and not the Texans making an egregious mistake in evaluating Allen, have been the primary reason for the lineman’s poor 2016? After all, it’s not like Allen hadn’t played well with the Chiefs. From PFF:
- Allen had by far the best year of his career in 2015 with the Chiefs. He ended the season with an overall grade of 81.9, seeing him as the 19th best graded guard in the league.
- He surrendered just five hurries on 182 pass blocking snaps and didn’t give up a single sack or hit. Allen’s pass block efficiency of 97.1 ranked him 16th of 82 guards who has played 180 pass blocking snaps or more.
As PFF notes in that linked piece, the Texans desperately need Allen to resemble the guy he was in Kansas City; the right side of Houston’s offensive gave up 47.8% of the team’s total pressures last season. Do you foresee a bounce-back year for Jeff Allen in 2017?