FOXBORO — Monday may technically have been an off day for Dwayne Allen and his Patriots teammates, but at this time of year there is no such thing.
In other words, sitting around and watching film wasn’t really an option.
“If I were to sit back and study, today would have been extremely hard,” Allen said. “No, it was some yoga, it was some core, a little cardio and, of course, some rest. And I had to catch up on some ‘Game of Thrones.’ ”
Taking in the hit HBO series may draw Allen in for a variety of reasons, but it’s apparent that the tight end can relate via his penchant for winning the hand-to-hand combat of run and pass blocking. After yesterday’s third padded practice, Allen appeared to relish that aspect of the game, though he wasn’t at the level he wants to be at yet.
“Man, I’ve definitely got to knock the rust off,” he said. “It’s one of those things that I’m going to be required on to be stout at the point of attack, and it’s something that I’ve always taken pride in. Coach (Bill Belichick) has always been great at putting individual players in the best position to succeed. I believe that I’ll be put in those positions to be the lead point blocker a lot this year.”
In individual blocking drills yesterday, which were part fundamental teaching and part competition, Allen excelled at both. He got his hands inside the pads of opponents and use his 6-foot-3, 265-pound frame to move them aside with relative ease. One of his top reps came when he sent defensive end Trey Flowers reeling backwards, not an easy task against one of the Pats’ top linemen.
Although Allen took some heat in the spring for dropping a fair number of balls in minicamp and OTA practices, his role going forward will have as much to do with setting a physical tone in the run game as anything else. The Pats, who acquired him via trade from Indianapolis this offseason, will likely move him all over to best take advantage of his physicality.
Of course, those won’t be his only responsibilities.
Opposite Rob Gronkowski, who looks healthy but is coming off back surgery and has a lengthy injury history, Allen will need to be just as proficient as a receiver. The Pats had that guy in Martellus Bennett a season ago, but he left for Green Bay in free agency. Allen, who caught 35 passes for 406 yards and six touchdowns last year, dropped one yesterday but has shown improvement there.
“I think anytime you’re adjusting to a new quarterback, new offensive system, new everything, there’s definitely going to be some struggles and I certainly had a lot of those early on,” Allen said. “But again, coming out here each and every day, working my tail off, getting better, that’s all you can expect from (me).”