Free safety Nate Allen received his indoctrination into the NFL last Friday night against the Bengals.
Yes, he was beat by Cedric Benson for an 11-yard gain in the first quarter. But on the very next play, Allen blitzed from quarterback Carson Palmer's blindside and helped hurry a pass that was intercepted by Dimitri Patterson. Later in the second quarter, Allen lined up in the box and blitzed again which led to his safety partner Quintin Mikell's interception.
Allen also displayed his range and instincts on a broken play. Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco got free deep and Allen came over to help to ensure that the pass would fall incomplete.
"The funny thing about that was that wasn't even his man. Basically, he was playing with his instincts," Mikell said. "He saw a guy who bounced open and he covered it. I think the mindset sometimes, people think that you can just throw anybody back there at safety. Really, you need to be able to run, you need to tackle and you need great instincts. He has all those tools. I think he did a great job with that kind of play."
Defensive coordinator Sean McDermott thought that Allen was tested and he rose to the challenge.
"For a young player to go against that caliber of receiver and show up the way he showed up, I thought was outstanding," McDermott said. "That said, he has work to do. And there are going to be plays and growing pains, yet. We need to continue to move him along through the process here and spend time with him. If there's one thing about Nate he's very composed and he has outstanding mental toughness. So, that will serve him well."
Allen praised the time and energy that his coaches and teammates have invested in getting the second-round pick up to speed.
"I'm just getting more comfortable in the defense and getting that chemistry with the first-team guys. I'm just learning as I go and am getting more confident every game," Allen said. "As Coach McDermott says be 1/11th of the defense and do my job and everything else will take care of itself."
-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 10:05 a.m., August 24