Recap of Interview by Carl Dukes and Mike Bell, written by Allison Smith
June 13, 2018
Ricardo Allen enters his 5th year as an Atlanta Falcon. From a late cut his rookie year, to the practice squad, to a leader on defense, Rico has had quite a ride in the NFL so far. In the 2017 off season, Rico and wife Grace welcomed their second baby, he graduated from Purdue, and most recently signed his 2nd round tender to stay a Falcon for another season. It was very important to Rico to earn his degree as an example to his children, “Anything you start, you need to finish.” While he hopes to be in Atlanta playing the rest of his career and not need his degree, he is proud of the work he put in to receive it and actually walk at graduation.
After Day 2 of Falcons Mini Camp, Rico spoke to Dukes and Bell (Carl Dukes and Mike Bell of 92.9 The Game’s afternoon show). If you know about Rico, you know he is one of the hardest working guys on the team and is a film nut. As I have reported numerous times, just days after the playoff loss in Philadelphia, Rico was at the Branch watching film and working out. He said that he watched the game over and over on the flight home, already taking notes on things to improve. He noted that the team was a tackle or turnover or an inch away from the SuperBowl last season. He knows this team is not that far off.
When asked about vacation time between Mini Camp and Training Camp, Rico replied, “We had vacation and time off after the season ended. There is no vacation time now, I am ready to go.” Anytime there are not official team activities at The Branch, Rico is working out 2-3 times a day, either at home or at The Branch.
Dukes and Bell asked about the current team and the work outs, Rico said that they are competing and taking care of each other. “Can’t win games right now, but can put in the work.” Rico is the mentee assigned to Isaiah Oliver and said that Oliver is long and can run with any receiver on the Falcons roster, he has great ball skills and comes in very mature.
Asked about some of the new offensive weapons, Rico commented that Ito Smith is fast out of the backfield and finishes every rep like he is going to score a touchdown. He said that Calvin Ridley is a “Good dude. He did not come in like a first round pick, but instead like a rookie willing to work. He is definitely going to make something happen.” He noted that all of the rookies came in knowing the team was already a good team, but there were some roles to fill.
Defensively, Allen commented that “We have allot of speed on defense, and when one of us is coming, know the other 10 are coming too.” As the deepest defender in the secondary, Rico has the best view and depended on for lots of communication to the rest of the defense. He said that he will watch 2 to 3 years of film on an offense to learn all of their tendencies (did I mention film nut?). He also plays allot of Madden. Madden shows their best plays and when a team is in a crunch, that is what they pull out of the bag, so you know Rico is already ready.
Dukes and Bell asked about the best offense they face in the NFC South. Rico said they go against the best of the best each week in practice.
On the Cornerback front, Rico commented that Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford (Tru and Rocky) are good. “They have been grinding, already getting balls popping up in the air” even though there is no tackling happening yet.
Plans for 2018 as a defense…..”Want to get more turnovers.” He noted that they had at least 5 turnovers overturned by penalties last season, clearly they plan to clean that up. After going from a 30something ranking up to the 8th ranked defense last season, Rico wants “Our Defense to be the #1 defense” this season. On the rookies and young defenders, “We got some dawgs out there – pull the leash off of them and let them go.” And commented that we have the fastest linebackers around.
Sounds like the defense is ready to go. We know many of the guys came in bigger and stronger and faster, so the 2018 defense is definitely going to be something to look forward to.
#RiseUp @FalconAlley Owt
**Graduation photo courtesy of Ricardo Allen, Interview photo is courtesy of 92.9 The Game