When the New England Patriots held their first semi-open training camp practice of the summer — parts of the session were streamed live on the club’s website without reporters or fans present — one notable player was not among the participants: Beau Allen. Allen’s absence was a sign of things to come, as the veteran defensive tackle remained a no-show for the remainder of camp and into the regular season.
The Patriots eventually decided to move him to their injured reserve list following roster cutdowns. The timing of his move to IR was an indication that the plan was to have him return at one point, even though he was still not ready to rejoin his teammates just yet.
So far, Allen’s status remains unchanged as he has not been spotted on the fields behind Gillette Stadium even though he would now be eligible to return to practice (the same as running back Damien Harris and wide receiver Gunner Olszewski, who both returned earlier this week while officially remaining on IR). His impact on the Patriots’ defensive line can nevertheless still be felt, though.
“Beau Allen’s been a big part of our defensive line room, helping out everyone to the best of his ability, staying real focused in meetings,” veteran defensive tackle Lawrence Guy said during a media conference call on Thursday (transcript via NESN’s Doug Kyed). “We can learn from everybody. He’s been in the league for a long enough time to have good feedback, good teaching techniques.”
Allen originally arrived in New England in March, when the team signed him to a two-year contract worth $7 million as a potential replacement for free agency departee Danny Shelton. So far, however, the 28-year-old has not had a chance to help fill Shelton’s former role as a big-bodied run stuffer on early downs and in short-yardage situations with an undisclosed ailment keeping him sidelined.
Despite his absence, however, Lawrence Guy has had a positive impression of the work Allen put in behind the scenes.
“He’s just doing the best he can to get healthy, to get back on the field and do his best to help out us in the room — watching film, telling us what he sees,” the team captain said. “We value everybody’s opinion in our D-line room. He’s one of them that what he sees is going to be helpful on Sunday.”
Allen’s input will never be more important than this Sunday: the Patriots will travel to Kansas City to take on the reigning world champions and arguably the best offense in football. It certainly would have helped to have the veteran defender back in the lineup for the matchup, but for now his role remains unchanged: Allen’s veteran leadership has to come in other forms as his teammates prepare for their toughest test to date.