JACKSONVILLE – The sun is shining, and Josh Allen is smiling.
This was Monday, Day 1 of Jaguars 2022 Organized Team Activities – and Allen, the Jaguars' fourth-year defensive end/linebacker, had reason to smile. He's back in Jacksonville and focused on next season.
And to Allen, that's a very good thing.
"I feel like I'm in a good spot right now," he said, adding: "I'm all about growth this year. I'm all about us all getting better."
Allen toward that end spent the early part of the 2022 offseason in Phoenix, Ariz., working with former Arizona Cardinals defensive end Bertrand Berry – and at Exos Athletic Training – on movement, technique and recovery. He returned to Jacksonville last week and is participating in OTAs, with Jaguars Head Coach Doug Pederson on Monday calling him a "pro, through and through."
"He spent time away and came back just here recently and came back in the right frame of mind," Pederson said. "He's obviously a tremendous leader on the defense and the team and a guy that wants to learn and just study our defense and just get better and that's what we need."
Allen, the No. 7 overall selection in the 2019 NFL Draft, said his offseason work has been about a total physical and mental makeover.
"I was just working," he said. "I was really trying to craft myself and really trying to just find myself again – find that mentality, find my mindset, how I want to approach the game again. I feel like I lost that – bits and pieces. I still had that dog but, it wasn't on a consistent level.
"I really had to do a lot of deep searching and really had to practice some habits to really understand, 'This is the time you're on. You're not going to change this time.' I feel like I needed to do more, and that's the energy I expected to have back in here."
Allen expanded on his work with Berry, saying: "Not only were we working, I was also learning the history game. [Former Jaguars defensive end] Calais [Campbell] always told me, 'You want to be great, you want to have all these awards, you want to have all these accolades … you've got to respect the game. You have to respect what was here before you.
"That's what I wanted to attack this offseason. The first conversation we (he and Berry) had, that's what it was about. That's when I knew I was in a good setting.
"I worked on field work, but I also worked my mind."
Allen, speaking after Monday's practice, said he can see the results of his offseason work.
- "I feel like I'm moving better than I have in a long time," Allen said. "I feel like that's the growth I really needed. I needed to come back a football player – not a pass rusher, but a football player."
- Allen said being back around teammates "just uplifts," and he spent time following Monday's practice working with teammates long after many had left the field.
- "I feel like I learned a lot," Allen said. "I feel like I really put that time in to learn those things. I feel like I have a good grasp. It got me better to where I feel comfortable enough to show somebody who really needs it. I got the knowledge and I can spread that knowledge."
Allen, like many Jaguars players in recent weeks, talked of the need to move forward following a difficult 2021 season – and yes, that played into his offseason approach as well.
"That's why I had to leave," Allen said. "I really had to reassert myself and really find out what I'm about. Now, coming back … a trust was broken in that aspect. For me not to break that trust, I have to be ready myself. I had to find that. I think I found that.
"I'm going to continue to find it every day, but it takes discipline to find it every day. That's where I'm at right now. That's what I want to carry and it's what I want everybody else to carry."
View the top photos from Day 1 of the Jacksonville Jaguars 2022 Organized Team Activities (OTAs).