Anthony Allen was on the field for each of Jacoby Jones' four return touchdowns a year ago, which included a 108-yard touchdown in the Super Bowl.
As Jones' lead blocker on returns, Allen was responsible for leading the way and providing a path.
This skill was one of the reasons he earned a spot on the 53-man roster. Allen initially didn't make the team after last year's preseason but got back on the roster right before the opener against Cincinnati.
This role is perfect for a running back with good vision that has a knack for seeing plays develop quickly. Allen would look for a hole to open as Jones followed.
Allen isn't granted much time to pick and choose with this responsibility, so he must do so wisely. Once he picks the hole, Allen takes on the first special teams defender near him, hoping to spring Jones far down the field.
On the three kickoff return touchdowns, including the Super Bowl, Allen picked the right hole to run through and helped Jones run off to the races.
As it often is with special teamers, Allen's role is unheralded and overlooked. But it's an important one. The Ravens might not have defeated the Cowboys in Week 6 if it wasn't for Jones' 108-yard kickoff return.
But Allen's in a bit of a dilemma. Is there room for him on the roster at this time?
The Ravens drafted fullback Kyle Juszczyk in the fourth round. He's assured a spot essentially as he can contribute on offense in a receiving fullback/H-back kind of role. Juszczyk also played special teams in college. It's not out of the question that if the Ravens think he's capable of doing Allen's role, that he in fact will work in as Jones' lead blocker.
Allen doesn't have a role on offense at tailback, considering he's behind Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce, not to mention even with Bobby Rainey and Damien Berry.
Considering where the numbers are at various other positions, the Ravens may not be able to carry three running backs and two fullbacks.
As well as Allen's been on special teams, the Ravens have a tough decision to face.
Each year the Ravens say they're picking the 53 best players for the roster. This year will be no different. Allen's role is vital and he's the best on the current roster at what he does.
Allen may have to sweat it out come cut day. He carved out a niche on this team a season ago. But football's a numbers game. There's a chance Baltimore could find someone else to fill that void.
Do you think Anthony Allen deserves a 53-man roster spot this season? Sound off in the comments section.
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