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Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Antonio Allen surprised by lack of snaps

By Matt Ehalt

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- He's gone from covering Rob Gronkowski for a whole game to spending most of the past three games on the sideline.

For Antonio Allen, Ed Reed's arrival has led to a drastic decrease in snaps for the second-year safety.

"For any player, it's going to be difficult," Allen said. "But I think I see the big picture. Just try to focus in on your small details and your job and try to get better on plays I'm out there on the field."

Antonio Allen
Antonio Allen has had a "difficult" time dealing with his limited role.
Before Reed's arrival on Nov. 14, Allen, a seventh-round pick, started seven of the first nine games and showed the improvement teams hope to see from players in their sophomore campaigns. In the Jets' 30-27 overtime win over the Patriots on Oct. 20, Allen played man coverage against Gronkowski nearly the entire game and did a great job. He routinely played more than 40 defensive snaps each game.

Since the Jets signed Reed, though, Allen has become a forgotten man in the secondary. Reed has supplanted him in the starting lineup and taken almost all his snaps. Reed has tallied 194 snaps in the three games he's played with the Jets, while Allen has just 24. In Sunday's 23-3 loss to Miami, Allen tallied just nine snaps, his second fewest of the year, while Reed played 73.

Allen said he doesn't believe this is hurting his development, but the lack of plays has been unexpected.

"I didn't think I was going to be sitting this much time out," Allen said. "Whatever helps the team, whatever they think is going to help the team, I'm all for it."

The day before the Jets signed Reed, Jets coach Rex Ryan said he believed Allen had a chance to be "really good." While he's still complimentary of Allen, Ryan said Reed is the starter because he gives the team the best chance to win. The coach admitted he's erred in not playing Allen more as of late.

"[Allen] continues to play at a high level and I have to get him on the field more, and that's what I plan on doing," Ryan said.

Since Reed's arrival, the Jets have lost all three games and struggled in the back end. They have given up five touchdown passes of at least 25 yards in those games, and Reed hasn't made much of a difference. He has 12 combined tackles and hasn't recorded an interception.

Allen said the coaches have told him they're aiming to play him more moving forward, but he didn't make too big a deal of the situation.

"My main focus is doing whatever my role is on the team and trying to maximize my potential by playing however many plays it is I need to play," Allen said.

The youngster did say he's learned a lot from Reed in their short time as teammates.

"He's so smart and so detail-oriented," Allen said. "You just pick up small things and the small things are what I have to take on the field and just be able to play off them."