Brian Allen

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.

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.

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 11/3/20

Today’s practice squad moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Cincinnati Bengals

Green Bay Packers

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Seattle Seahawks

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 10/27/20

We’ll keep track of the practice squad moves from the past day here:

Arizona Cardinals

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Jacksonville Jaguars

  • Released: T Jared Hilbers

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Rams

  • Signed: K Austin MacGinnis

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New York Giants

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/10/20

Here is the latest barrage of Saturday minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Chicago Bears

  • Placed on reserve/COVID-19 list: T Badara Traore

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Denver Broncos

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

  • Activated from reserve/COVID-19 list: CB Greg Mabin

Washington Football Team

49ers’ Ahkello Witherspoon To Miss Time

The 49ers’ cornerback shuffle continues. In addition to placing Richard Sherman on injured reserve with a leg injury, the Niners also announced that fellow corner Ahkello Witherspoon has entered the concussion protocol. To replenish the group, the Niners have promoted Dontae Johnson from the practice squad to the active roster. And, to replace Johnson on the practice squad, they’ve signed former Steelers fifth-round pick Brian Allen

[RELATED: 49ers Place Richard Sherman On IR]

Now, the Niners are without their leading outside cornerback and one of their top reserve CBs. Jason Verrett figures to start opposite of Emmanuel Moseley for the time being with K’Waun Williams continuing to serve as the slot man. Beyond that, the Niners will lean on Dontae Johnson as the first corner off the bench and hope that they won’t be hit with any more CB injuries.

In other Niners news, they’ve added veteran receiver Mohamed Sanu on a one-year deal. On the other side of the ball, they’ve decided to pass on Ezekiel Ansah yet again after their second meeting with the defensive lineman.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bills Release Andre Roberts, Trim Roster To 53

Here are the roster decisions the Bills made to move to the mandated 53-man regular-season limit.

Waived:

Released:

Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform:

The Bills signed Roberts to a two-year deal in 2019, doing so after he earned All-Pro recognition for his kick-return work on the 2018 Jets. Roberts has 10 years’ experience and two Pro Bowls on his resume. The second of those two Pro Bowl nods came last season with the Bills. Buffalo enters the season with its best chance to win the AFC East in maybe 20 years, so cutting an accomplished player is certainly surprising.

Foster made a splash as a rookie in 2018, but the Bills have overhauled their receiver group since. John Brown and Cole Beasley led the way last year, and the team traded for Stefon Diggs and drafted two wideouts — fourth-rounder Gabriel Davis and sixth-rounder Isaiah Hodgins — this year. Foster will nonetheless be an interest name on waivers.

Buffalo traded for Andre Smith earlier this week. The third-year linebacker could well be brought back on the team’s 16-player practice squad. Teams can begin assembling their P-squads Sunday.

Minor NFL Transactions: 8/28/20

We’ll keep track of today’s minor moves in this post. In addition to the transactions listed below, note that Broncos DT Joel Heath and Giants CB Shakial Taylor, who had previously been listed as cut, actually opted out of the 2020 season. As Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network tweets, both players were reinstated to their teams’ rosters and placed on the Reserve/Opt-Out List. The full (and final) opt-out tracker can be found here:

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

Pittsburgh Steelers

Lions Work Out C.J. Prosise

Free agent running C.J. Prosise was among the group of players that worked out for the Lions today, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link).

Prosise, 26, worked with Detroit offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell in Seattle from 2016-17, so he presumably has a grasp of the offense Bevell is deploying with the Lions. That could prove to be especially important in this COVID-shortened offseason when meeting and practice time is at a minimum.

The Lions don’t have a dire need for running back depth at the moment. Rookie D’Andre Swift and incumbent Kerryon Johnson will serve as the club’s top two options, while Bo Scarbrough is available in reserve. Johnson has missed plenty of time due to injury in his short career, though, so Prosise could become an emergency option.

The Seahawks drafted Prosise in the third round of the 2016 draft but were never able to find a regular role for him in their offense. In four seasons in Seattle, Prosise never topped more than 30 carries or 20 receptions. Last year, he played 123 offensive snaps but handled only 33 total touches.

Per the NFL’s transaction wire, Detroit also worked out running backs Troymaine Pope and Jonathan Williams, cornerbacks Brian Allen and Dominique Hatfield, center Erik Magnuson, and linebacker Avery Moss.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.