Arizona Cardinals rookie film room: 5 plays that define Zach Allen

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Play 5: Vs. Temple, 4th quarter, 6:50 remaining, 2nd & 9

What the offense is running: Trips alignment “flood” concept with a galore of crossing routes.

What the defense is running: Cover 3 zone.

What Zach Allen is tasked to do: Rush the edge from the 5-technique.

What happens: You know how in the last play I said Allen lacks the bend and speed to be a true edge rusher in the NFL? Well, I continue to stand by that statement, but, that doesn’t mean he can’t do it. He shows just why here as he quickly creates pressure from that edge.

Allen is able to make up for that lack of speed and bend with his power, hand usage, and length. But, before getting into that, notice how he lands his first step quicker than the tackle can kick slide outward. This is what Allen needs to win on the edge as he’s able to get his hands on the tackles chest, in turn, gaining outside leverage to use his power to flip the tackles hips inside.

After forcing the tackle inside, Allen is able to use a rip move and power through the tackles attempt to slow him down. Though the tackle is holding Allen’s arm for dear life, it’s not enough to stop his relentless pursuit to the quarterback. This play is the perfect example of converting his speed to power.


  • Again, in the NFL, Allen will struggle to be an edge rusher. He simply doesn’t have the bend or speed to do so (I’m beating a dead horse here), but he should find snaps as an edge setter. Against less technically refined tackles, Allen could theoretically win consistently due to his hand usage and power.
  • When Allen can beat his tackle with the first-step he can convert speed to power. He doesn’t speed rush here, but he does win the first battle, then finishes it by simply being stronger, and better with his hands than the tackle.
  • The tackle held onto Allen and he was still able to get the sack. Reps like these remind me of J.J. Watt where he could simply take quarterbacks down with one arm. Allen does just that.

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