After leading the league in sacks last year, Vikings defensive end Jared Allen didn’t have a sack in Week One this year. But he thinks he would have if the regular officials were on the field.
Allen did bring down Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert behind the line of scrimmage on one play, but the replacement officials working the game ruled that he had crossed the line of scrimmage prior to the snap. Allen believes he perfectly timed his jump, just starting to get out of his stance at the exact moment the ball was snapped, and the officials were wrong to flag him.
“I moved, but I didn’t think I broke the neutral zone before the ball was snapped,” Allen said in an interview on ESPN.
Allen said that he thinks he beat Jaguars left tackle Eugene Monroe so swiftly that the officials were caught off guard by it, and assumed that he must have had an unfair jump. Allen said he thinks the regular officials know about his fast first step and would have given him the sack.
“When a guy doesn’t move, I think it was his lack of movement — the offensive lineman’s — that made it look worse than it was,” Allen said. “I think I’ve got a rapport with the other refs. They might have given me some leniency and let me get away with a tight call.”
For his part, Monroe thinks the refs were wrong too — but wrong in the opposite direction. According to Monroe, not only was Allen offside, but the officials should have blown the play dead because Allen had an unabated path to the quarterback.
“He jumped offside and it was bulls–t,” Monroe told the Florida Times-Union. “They should have stopped the play. That just shouldn’t happen. He knows better than to hit the quarterback in that situation. . . . I don’t remember hearing the whistle, but I know I saw a flag. To take a shot at the quarterback like that, especially a veteran player who understands the game, that didn’t start his day off with me on a good note.”
Monroe played well in protecting Gabbert from Allen, who didn’t have a single tackle all game. But to my eyes Allen is right: On the play in question, he timed his jump perfectly, and should have had a sack.