LA Rams: Brian Allen’s return to anchor offensive line a success

After the LA Rams seemed to be tinkering with the offensive line configuration far too late into training camp, there were plenty of logical reasons to be concerned. Making it more concerning is the fact that it required nearly an entire two years to fully rehab the LA Rams former offensive center, Brian Allen, from a devastating knee injury.  Two years between suiting up, banging pads, calling out blocking, and oh yeah, hiking the football.

Many expected the LA Rams to draft an offensive center. When the LA Rams stepped up to the podium to select their 57th pick of the 2021 NFL Draft, Oklahoma offensive center Creed Humphrey and Wisconsin-Whitewater offensive center Quinn Meinerz were both there on the board. The Rams opted to go in a different direction.

The pads go on

Until the pads went on, Brian Allen was heading for the bench. And based on the fact that he is in the last year of his current contract, that would likely spell the last year as an LA Rams starter. But he fought tooth and nail to retake his starting spot. And then, two things happened.

His toughest challenger, offensive lineman Austin Corbett, had a bad outing when the pads went on. Simultaneously, it was the first time that the Rams coaches had the chance to see the entire offensive line suited up and actually blocking. That didn’t turn out as well as they had hoped. And so, months away from the first OTAs where Corbett got almost all of the work at center with the first string line, the Rams installed Allen to center, Corbett to guard, and Bobby Evans, the former right guard, to the bench. After that, we all crossed our fingers.

Brian Allen promising start

For the first game, Allen was not pancaking anyone. That’s no sleight, as he faced Chicago Bears Akeem Hicks, a 6-foot-4 352-pound nose tackle, nearly the entire game. Er, wait. Based on booth review, it seems that he did get his pancake after all. Hicks ended up making three tackles and getting credit for 0.5 quarterback sacks.  For that effort, Hicks was given a grade of 54.9 from Pro Football Focus.

So how did the Rams Brian Allen perform? He was given a 77.9 grade by Pro Football Focus. Kansas City Chiefs rookie offensive center, Creed Humphrey, scored a 66.8 grade by the very same PFF. Allen allowed one coverage sack against Hicks and was called for offensive holding once. That isn’t bad after mothballing for two years.

As the game progressed, and the Bears’ defense began to defend the back end of the football field, the Rams began to find running lanes for running back Darrell Henderson. Perhaps that is how it will go this year.  If the Rams can protect quarterback Matthew Stafford that well to put up that many yards to just one sack each game? Well, I daresay that the Rams will be a very difficult team to face this year.

One game down, and the offensive line held up pretty well. The Rams are 1-0