Bobby Evans

Rams Shuffle Offensive Line

Rams HC Sean McVay did not play most of his projected starters in last night’s preseason tilt against the Chargers, but when his starters do take the field for live action, there will be a notable shakeup on the O-line. Earlier this week, Austin Corbett — who took almost all first-team reps at center during the spring — was shifted to right guard, and Brian Allen was inserted at the pivot, as Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic writes.

Allen served as the Rams’ starting center for nine games in 2019 before an MCL injury ended his season prematurely. He spent all of last season recovering, and Austin Blythe took over the center position. But Blythe signed with the Chiefs in March, so Los Angeles moved Corbett, 2020’s right guard, to center for spring practices. He stayed there throughout the early stages of training camp, but Allen has done enough to show that he can be trusted as QB Matthew Stafford’s snapper.

Because Corbett offers more size than Allen, whose body type lends itself more to the wide-zone concepts than the gap-power looks that McVay started to favor with RB Cam Akers, it was believed that Corbett might be the better option at center for the Rams’ offense. But McVay thinks Allen will allow the team to do everything it wants to do in the run game (especially now that Akers has been lost for the season due to a torn Achilles).

“We’ll be able to do the same things,” McVay said. If you look at Brian Allen, he looks physically impressive. He’s strong, he’s sturdy. You can see all of the work that he has really put in. I think you can see that he’s feeling really good being another year removed from that knee injury.” 

Corbett’s move to right guard could put Bobby Evans on the bubble. Evans did play extensively in last night’s game — which clearly suggests he has fallen down the depth chart — and he struggled. He entered the spring as the projected starter at RG, but one wonders if he will even make the final roster at this point.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/29/20

Here are Tuesday’s minor moves:

Dallas Cowboys

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Rams

Minnesota Vikings

New York Jets

San Francisco 49ers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

West Notes: Carr, Broncos, Rams, 49ers

Derek Carr left Thursday night’s AFC West matchup early because of what Jon Gruden called a “significant” groin injury. The veteran Raiders quarterback’s rest-of-season status can be considered in doubt. Carr is facing a 10- to 14-day return timetable, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com notes. This puts his availability for next week’s pivotal Dolphins game in question, though Rapoport adds Carr will push to return for what could be an elimination game against another fringe AFC contender. Carr has not missed a game due to injury since 2017. The former MVP vote-receiving passer has only missed two regular-season games in seven years. Marcus Mariota played well in relief of Carr on Thursday, and Carr’s status going into next weekend stands to give the Dolphins some extra work due to the differences in the Raiders QBs’ skill sets.

Here is the latest from the West divisions, moving first to another team’s quarterback situation.

  • Drew Lock has shown some potential as a long-term answer this season — including last week in Charlotte — but ranks 28th in QBR and has thrown 13 INTs in 10 games. The Broncos sat out this year’s veteran QB market, but Troy Renck of Denver7 notes the team is likely to bring in a veteran to compete with Lock (or potentially replace him) next year. A similar batch of vets — Andy Dalton, Cam Newton, Jameis Winston — on track to be available again would qualify as competition, and the Broncos were also high on Sam Darnold in 2018. A trade for Matthew Stafford, a scenario Renck mentions, would be to replace Lock. The Broncos have used four different Week 1 starting QBs since Peyton Manning‘s retirement, moving from Trevor Siemian to Case Keenum to Joe Flacco to Lock.
  • Sean McVay is not ruling out an Andrew Whitworth regular-season return, and it sounds like the Rams having their left tackle back for the playoffs is realistic. “Andrew is doing great,” McVay said. “He continues to amaze me. He’s somebody we could potentially really push to have him play whether it’s the (Week 17) Cardinals game or next week. If we’re fortunate enough to get an opportunity to play after the regular season, I think that’s the goal, but nothing’s guaranteed for us.” Whitworth suffered MCL and PCL tears Nov. 15 but was believed to be ahead of schedule on his recovery timetable.
  • A Rams positive COVID-19 test resulted in offensive lineman Bobby Evans and safety Nick Scott landing on the reserve/COVID list; they will miss Week 15, McVay said (via ESPN.com’s Lindsey Thiry, Twitter links). The Rams also held starting center Brian Allen and rotational pass rushers Justin Hollins and Ogbonnia Okoronkwo out of practice Friday, though McVay expects the latter trio to play Sunday.
  • The 49ers‘ Arizona arrangement will extend through season’s end. Santa Clara county extended COVID-19 restrictions that have prevented the 49ers from playing at Levi’s Stadium, but the Cardinals will permit their division rival to use the stadium for their Week 17 game against the Seahawks, Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com notes. The 49ers will also be in Glendale next week but will do so as the road team against the Cardinals.

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/18/20

Here are today’s minor moves:

Buffalo Bills

Denver Broncos

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

  • Activated from reserve/COVID-19 list: CB Jamal Perry

Philadelphia Eagles

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Rams Wrap Entire Draft Class

And just like that, the Rams’ entire draft class has been signed. After inking three of their rookies on Friday morning, the Rams following up by signing third-round running back Darrell Henderson, third-round cornerback David Long, third-round tackle Bobby Evans, fourth-round defensive tackle Greg Gaines, and fifth-round tackle David Edwards

Second-round safety Taylor Rapp was the highest-selected player in the Rams’ rookie class, but most of the attention is on Henderson, who rushed for 1,909 yards and 22 touchdowns on just 214 carries last year. His 8.9 yards per rush was no fluke, as he posted the exact same average as a sophomore in 2017. Henderson could see a decent amount of work behind star Todd Gurley and he’ll really be in the limelight if Gurley’s knee issues remerge in 2019.

Here’s the full rundown of the Rams’ draft class:

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.