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Allen, Jarrett Fighting for the ‘Other’ Safety Spot

Posted Aug 12, 2013

The Jets have erased LaRon and penciled in Dawan as one of the two starting safeties for this season, but the competition for who will be named the starter opposite Landry continues to be a hot topic in training camp.

With Josh Bush expected to back up Landry, a pair of second-year safeties, Antonio Allen and Jaiquawn Jarrett, have been fighting for reps with the ones.

Allen, a seventh-round pick of the Jets last year, played in seven games while spending the rest of the season on the practice squad.

Jarrett was a second-round pick for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2011 but failed to remain with the team past the first week of the season last year. Getting cut was “surreal,” he said.

“It made me understand and realize how the business is,” Jaiquawn said, “so I was just thankful for the opportunity that the Jets organization has given me.”

Regardless of where they were drafted or what they’ve done so far in their young NFL careers, it’s an open competition at SUNY Cortland between the two safeties.

“It’s back and forth between me and him,” Allen said. “One guy has to pull off, so I’m trying to do that. Pull off so I can lock down a position and be one of the legit players on the 11-man roster.”

It appeared that Jarrett pulled ahead of Allen following head coach Rex Ryan's comments in Detroit that Jarrett would be running with the ones during this week’s practice.

“What he showed Friday night was what we thought we would bring to the table,” Rex said. “A guy that is extremely physical, and a great tackler, and that’s exactly what he did.”

Allen said that after reviewing the film, Jarrett’s performance stuck out to him as well.

On a third-and-10, for instance, Jarrett blitzed up the middle and laid a back-breaking hit on QB Kellen Moore as he heaved the ball downfield. The throw missed the receiving target, forcing a three-and-out as the punt unit took the field.

“We were just executing the call as a unit,” Jarrett said. “That front seven was getting after them, and everyone was doing their job.”

But the head coach made it clear during Sunday’s news conference and again today that his praise of Jarrett was far from an indictment of Antonio Allen.

“Antonio Allen, also, you go back and watch the tape,” Ryan said. “He played extremely well. That’s going to be a great competition.”

Allen agrees that he played pretty well in the preseason opener, but he made one “unacceptable” mistake when he was supposed to be a deep safety and instead blitzed on a play.

“I just missed the call,” he said.

Luckily, his mental error on the play didn’t cost the team any yardage. “But it could have,” he said. “I’ve just got to be in better position.”

Allen feels as though his second NFL training camp has been “going pretty well,” but it has also come with a fair dosage of “little things” that he needs to work on correcting.

“I just need to learn the defense,” he said, “get it down and take control.”

Whether he starts or not, Jaiquawn Jarrett says his approach on the practice field will be “to do whatever is necessary for me to become a better individual player. No matter where I’m at on the depth chart, I want to make sure I continue to prepare."

As for the next game, against Jacksonville in MetLife Stadium on Saturday, Allen hopes to eliminate any mental lapses and “come out and try to have a better game than [Jarrett] did.”

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