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Mile High Morning: DE Zach Allen looking forward to seeing familiar faces in preseason return to Arizona

The Lead

Defensive end Zach Allen recorded a career-best year in 2022 with the Cardinals, notching 5.5 sacks and 47 total tackles in 13 games. That campaign earned him plenty of attention as a coveted defensive free agent, leading to his signing with the Broncos in March.

On Friday, Allen will don the Broncos' threads against his former team in Glendale. Head Coach Sean Payton said he's planning for Denver's starters to play 15-18 snaps, which would give the Broncos' defense prime opportunities to unleash Allen in the pass rush.

Allen said he's looking forward to facing off against his former team and the chance to play preseason football.

"It'll definitely be nice," Allen said after Monday's training camp practice. "It will be nice to just get some game action. I think they're really helpful. Excited to go back to Arizona, see some old familiar faces, so it will be fun."

Still, Allen knows the primary purpose for his first preseason game is to improve and work toward long-term goals.

"It's a business trip, so I can go back in the offseason, see those people for a more intimate time," Allen said. "This right now, we're here to work."

Defensive Coordinator Vance Joseph also made the move from Arizona to Colorado this offseason and has coached Allen since the defensive end was drafted in 2019. Allen said that Joseph has excelled in teaching the Broncos' defensive players the concepts and nuances of his system.

"I think he's done a terrific job of kind of keeping the concepts and making the terminology easy for everybody," Allen said. "I think it's been a really kind of seamless transition and guys are really picking it up well."

After sharpening his pass-rushing craft against Denver's offensive line for the past weeks of training camp, Allen is eager to match up against the Cardinals' offensive line and translate his success from the practice field to game day.

The preseason action will also give Allen an opportunity to work toward his individual and team goals for this season, but he's approaching the game with a singular focus.

"I do that in my own head," Allen said of his goals. "Part of my thing is, I just want to do it one day at a time. If you stack enough days and keep making enough improvement, the results follow."

The Unclassifieds

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