It's hard to be in the shadows when you're 6-3 and 327 pounds, but Beau Allen has done a very nice job of it. When reporters crowded the defensive line area of the locker room inside Lucas Oil Stadium on Saturday night after the Eagles' 33-23 win over Indianapolis, most were waiting for defensive end Brandon Graham. However, one said, "I'm here for Beau."
To which Allen replied, looking up from his locker seat: "Really? Cool."
Allen is worth noticing. He has enjoyed a terrific preseason as part of the very deep and talented Eagles defensive tackle rotation, adding his second quarterback sack (he is credited with 1.5 sacks officially, but he has been in on two) and helping the Eagles hold the Colts to 39 rushing yards on 18 carries.
With Fletcher Cox, Bennie Logan, Allen, Taylor Hart and a handful of young, talented prospects leading the way, the defensive tackle group has shown its ability to transition from the two-gapping responsibilities of the last few seasons as they now attack the line of scrimmage and get up the field off the snap of the football.
"I feel good. I feel explosive. I feel powerful. I feel quick," Allen said. "It's just getting used to the new scheme. It's a process. We knew it wasn't going to happen overnight, but we're working hard every day and getting better and better. When you're consistent and you work hard every day, you make plays when it's gameday."
Allen was an attacking defensive lineman at Wisconsin and was forced to learn a new scheme after the Eagles made him a seventh-round draft pick (No. 224 overall) in 2014. He did it well, learning a new technique and playing valuable reps for the defensive line in 2014 and 2015. Allen played 17 percent of the defensive snaps in 2014 and upped that to 28 percent of the snaps last season.
Now Allen is using his massive lower body to attack the line of scrimmage and he's having a lot of success, as has the entire defensive line through three preseason games.
"I like that I've played in both schemes and that I have more tools in my toolbox," he said. "I think our entire defensive line appreciates it. You understand that there are a lot of different things we can do to have success and we're using it to our advantage.
"We know it's only preseason, so there is no reason to be rah-rah at this point in the season. But I think we all feel that we can be a dominating group. We have a lot of talent here and we have great coaching. We're experienced and we feel comfortable with each other. There is a comfort level that comes with playing a ton of snaps with your guys and I think it shows out there on the field."
The Eagles feel like they don't lose much when Allen comes in to give Cox or Logan a breather. Allen uses his strong lower body to get off the ball when it's snapped and he has great balance and leverage to win inside.
After that, it's a matter of finishing and Allen is as hungry as they come in his third season, looking for more ways to contribute to the Jim Schwartz defense.
"We're all excited about it and it's going to be really fun getting this started," Allen said. "We all just kind of attack on every play. I like that a lot."
Eagles take on the Colts in Indianapolis during Week 3 of the preseason.