Newly-acquired defensive end Jared Allen has averaged 14.5 sacks over the past seven seasons. Now at the age of 32, Allen finds himself on a new team for the first time in his productive career, and Chicago Bears fans are ecstatic to have him on their team — for now.
Bears fans have a tendency to let a player know when they are not playing up to expectations — just ask Jay Cutler. So now the question needs to be asked: how well does Allen need to play this season in order to keep the fans happy?
Last season, Julius Peppers led the Bears with 7.0 sacks while the team went on to finish tied for last in the league with 31.0 total sacks. After what the fans suffered through last season in watching a dreadful defense, they have their expectations set very high for what Allen and the newly refurbished defensive line can do this year.
It seems almost selfish to say after last season, but given his past success, Allen will need to record double-digit sacks in order to keep Bears fans satisfied and keep them from questioning the signing. Allen will be 33 by the end of next season, and a primary concern from fans is that his game will fall off with his age. After being one of the most prolific pass rushers in the game before arriving in Chicago, Allen will need to approach his career averages to placate these die-hard fans.
Anything more than 10 sacks for Allen should be icing on the cake for Bears fans, though there will always be doubters who are hoping for Allen to re-create his elite seasons with the Bears. Allen’s saving grace for a lackluster season would be a Super Bowl win for the Bears, because a Lombardi Trophy tends to silence a lot of critics.