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'I definitely think I can improve': Following career highs in 2022, new Broncos DE Zach Allen sees room to be even better

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — In his final season in Arizona, Zach Allen was at his best.

The 2019 third-round pick posted a career-high 5.5 sacks, 20 quarterback hits and 10 tackles for loss, and the Broncos' new defensive end posted those numbers in just 13 games.

As he begins his tenure in Denver, Allen believes there's room for even more improvement.

"I definitely think I can improve, watching the film," said Allen on Thursday when asked whether he believes he can reach double-digit sacks this season. "That's a big reason why I came here. I think there's a lot of good pieces here to help me get there and help us win some football games."

The Broncos saw said improvement when they evaluated him ahead of the start of free agency, and Head Coach Sean Payton said in March that Allen's effort and energy stood out, as well.

"We feel he's really good in the run game," General Manager George Paton said in March. "He provides some inside pass rush as well. When you watch tape of Zach, it's just the way he plays. He's relentless. He's all over the field. Again, he can play the run and he can rush the passer. We're really happy to have him."

Allen also had familiarity with new Defensive Coordinator Vance Joseph, as Joseph directed Arizona's defense for all four years Allen spent with the Cardinals. Allen said Joseph's new role in Denver played "a big part" in him choosing the Broncos as his next team.

"I think Vance is one of the best coaches in the NFL, and [I] was really fortunate to be with him for four years," Allen said. "If you have a chance to make it five, six, seven then you're going to do that. I really am believer in his stuff, in his coaching style. At this point, he's just a really good friend."

Allen said his experience in Joseph's system has given him a "jump start" as the Broncos install a new defense, but the continuity of a 3-4 scheme has helped all returning players.

"It's been really smooth for all of us," Allen said after the first week of OTAs. "It's been good, and it's been a good first three days."

As Allen and a "really talented" defense in Denver begin their work, the Broncos' new defensive end knows he still has plenty more to learn.

"I'm coming in with an open mind," Allen said, "because there's a lot of guys on this defense and on this coaching staff that have done a lot more than I've ever done."

In Denver, Allen will look to reach those higher standards.

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