ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — After four seasons with the Arizona Cardinals, defensive end Zach Allen signed with the Broncos in March and is bringing plenty of production – and potential – to Denver's defensive line.
With training camp starting up, Allen said that his first months with the Broncos have confirmed to him that he made the right free-agency decision.
"Guys are really excited to work here, and I'm just really glad I'm here right now – the team's great," Allen said. "I'm super excited to be here, and I'm really glad with my choice."
Allen was one of the most sought-after defensive free agents for his abilities in defending the run and rushing the passer. He emerged as a major contributor for Arizona last season with 5.5 sacks and 10 tackles for a loss.
Moving to Denver also gave the Boston College product the opportunity to reunite with Defensive Coordinator Vance Joseph, who was also his defensive coordinator for all four of his seasons with the Cardinals. In the beginning of the offseason, Allen's new Broncos teammates consulted him for advice on the system, but over time, defensive players have learned Joseph's defense quickly.
"We have the offseason, and guys were able to pick it up then," Allen said. "Vance is a really good teacher, and all the coaches have done a great job breaking it down. Guys have done a good job on that six-week break on staying up on that study because you have got to really hit the ground running from that mental aspect."
Allen is also grateful for the chance to join forces with his some of his new teammates after years of playing against them, from former NFC West rivals in quarterback Russell Wilson and tackle Mike McGlinchey on offense to outside linebacker Frank Clark and defensive tackle D.J. Jones in the defensive front seven.
Allen said the conversations he's had with the veteran Clark, who has started 13 postseason games, have encouraged him most about the addition.
"Frank's awesome, just in the few days getting to know him," Allen said. "He's just all about football, which is all you can ask for. He has so many great ideas, and I'm excited to work with him."
In the defensive line group, Allen has built an immediate rapport with Jones and praised Jones' combination of size and agility.
"I've been a big fan of him since San Fran[cisco], just watching his tape," Allen said. "The fact that we get to work together, I'm really excited. For being so big, he's just such a good athlete, just a perfect combination. We've had success working off each other and it's only Day 3, so I'm excited to see how it goes when we can wear pads and go live."
Relocating from the Phoenix area to Denver has come with its challenges, but Allen expressed plenty of excitement about his new team and eagerness toward putting on football pads and improving his game during training camp.
"It's been nice to just focus on football 100 percent," Allen said. "For me coming to a new city, I had to deal with a lot of ins and outs, find a place to live and kind of find a routine, things like that. I definitely feel comfortable."