Disappointed Allen expects improvement

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 10, 2008 - 11:02 PM

The Vikings defensive end was held without a tackle or a sack against the Packers but said he and the team are intent on getting better against the Colts.

Jared Allen enjoyed Ray Edwards' sack off Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers in the first quarter Monday.

Photo: Jerry Holt, Star Tribune

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Defensive end Jared Allen, who is expected to help give the Vikings the big pass rush they've been missing, didn't have a tackle or a sack in Monday night's 24-19 loss to the Packers. He was not happy with his performance.

"Normally in a game, I'm used to being a little bit more productive," said Allen, who had an NFL-best 15.5 sacks for the Chiefs last season. "But after I watched the film, there really wasn't a whole lot that we could have done differently.

"We got out of our gaps one time on that long run [a 57-yarder by Ryan Grant], but everything that they did -- there was a great catch on that pass [a 56-yard completion to Greg Jennings from Aaron Rodgers] -- but after watching the film, they did a lot of things. They booted away from me a lot, a lot of play-action. I had a couple of good rushes; I just didn't get there in time. So obviously you've just got to keep grinding, got to go back and work harder."

Allen didn't alibi and claim he was held a number of times.

"No, I didn't think there was too much holding," Allen said. "[Packers offensive tackle Chad] Clifton is a good player. He was in the Pro Bowl for a reason, and he's athletic, but I don't think there was too much holding. There was a lot of chips, a lot of double-teams, a lot of people cutting me from different angles, and I took a pretty big thigh bruise on that goal-line play. But other than that, like I said, you've got to go out and create your own opportunities sometimes. So I'm just back to work, back to the field. You're going to have those games, and we'll come out and be better this week."

Allen said he wasn't concerned about being criticized for his first-game performance.

"This is the NFL; everybody's good," he said. "I'm just going to keep doing what I did to get me where I'm at. I'm not worried about it. We'll go out and when I have the opportunity to make a play, I'll make it.

"The sense of urgency has got to go up. You look at that game and the big plays they had. That punt return [a 76-yarder for a touchdown by Will Blackmon] was devastating to us, obviously, but we had the ball with two minutes left and a chance to win it. That's what these games are going to come down to. They're going to come down to a field goal in the end."

About facing Peyton Manning, the great Colts quarterback, here on Sunday, Allen said: "I've had some good games against them. He gets rid of the ball so quick. He's a good quarterback. He knows that offense inside and out. He's a tough quarterback to sack.

"But we'll get our shots and like I said, it's Week 2, and it's a crucial week for us because we want to get that first win, and especially at home."

Gardenhire does the job

Ron Gardenhire has one more year on his contract, and he is sure to get an extension and a good raise after doing a fantastic job of managing a young Twins team this season.

Gardenhire deserves the AL Manager of the Year award, but he probably won't get it because it will go to Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon, who has the surprising Rays atop the AL East.

Twin executives can say they expected to be in contention this season in the AL Central, but it didn't seem possible in spring training with 30 new players in camp.

Outfielder Torii Hunter was gone, and so were pitchers Johan Santana and Carlos Silva. Gardenhire had to depend on rookies and unproven young players to replace those veterans.

Silva, now with Seattle, has the American League's highest ERA, 6.53, among pitchers who have pitched at least one inning per team game, and Livan Hernandez, who started this season with the Twins and is now with Colorado, has a 9.85 ERA in six starts since joining the Rockies.

The Twins signed some free agents, but all but one are gone. Gardenhire has won with help from a bunch of farmhands.

Yes, without a doubt, this is Gardy's best managing job.

Jottings

Under NCAA regulations, Duane Bennett, the Gophers running back who tore the ACL in his left knee in the Bowling Green game and is out for the season, will be eligible for another season because he played less than 30 percent of the season. The loss of Bennett was a big blow because he not only was their best running back but he had developed into a fine receiver and caught eight passes for 100 yards and a touchdown against Bowling Green.

Gophers football coach Tim Brewster promised he will play the freshmen who are ready and not redshirt a large group of them, and thus far only four members of the 2008 recruiting class haven't played after two games. They are free safety Keanon Cooper, defensive end D.L. Wilhite, linebacker Ryan Grant and running back Kevin Whaley. ... Sam Maresh, the Gophers football recruit from Champlin Park who had heart surgery in June, is making enough progress that he will be able to take a limited part in some football programs at the Bierman complex.

Clint Brewster, son of the Gophers coach who transferred from Minnesota after last season, quarterbacked the College of the Sequoias to a 52-42 victory over Feather River Community College with a total of 584 yards. He completed 14 of 21 passes for 284 yards and two touchdowns. One of the touchdowns covered 90 yards. Meanwhile, Nolan Brewster, another of Tim Brewster's sons, continues to play as a freshman for Texas and will not be redshirted.

Ben Hankinson, who represents former Gophers hockey player Keith Ballard, reported that Ballard has signed a six-year contract extension with the Florida Panthers worth more than $25 million.

Joe Esposito, director of basketball operations for Gophers coach Tubby Smith, understands some of the team's fans are unhappy with the nonconference schedule but said he called Duke, Villanova, Florida and many top basketball schools and none was interested in playing here. The Gophers pay from $45,000 to $85,000 to visiting teams. In an effort to improve future schedules, Esposito said he is going to work with the football program to try to line up a combination of home teams that will bring both their basketball and football teams here.

The Gophers do have some invitations to attractive future tournaments, with the ESPN tournament next year in Anaheim, Calif., next year along with UCLA, Butler, Clemson, West Virginia, Texas A&M and Long Beach State, coached by former Gophers mentor Dan Monson. The Gophers are also scheduled to play in tournaments in Puerto Rico in 2010-11, Orlando in 2011-12 and Maui in 2012-13.

Wide receiver David Gilreath of Armstrong and linebacker Blake Sorenson of Eden Prairie have been starters for the Wisconsin Badgers in their first two football games.

Chris Elrod, who previously was on the Texas football academic staff when Brewster was there, started Wednesday as the new director of academic support for football. He also had worked at Alabama and Texas State.

Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on WCCO AM-830 at 6:40, 7:40 and 8:40 a.m. and on his Podcast once a week at www.startribune.com/sidcast. shartman@startribune.com

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