Rams lose starting center Austin Blythe to AFC champion Chiefs
Brian Allen, a 2018 draft pick, could replace Blythe, but Allen did not play last season while recovering from a 2019 knee injury. So, uncertainty surrounds a key position on the offensive line for a team that features new quarterback Matthew Stafford.
Allen, 25, was a rotational player as a rookie in 2018. He started nine games at center in 2019 before he was injured, and Blythe moved from guard to center. Under former offensive line coach Aaron Kromer, linemen trained at several positions. Coleman Shelton, who opted out last season, played center in college at Washington.
A few weeks ago, as the Rams prepared for the start of free agency, general manager Les Snead said Allen could step in if Blythe signed elsewhere. But his comments were tempered.
“The key that what we don’t necessarily know with Brian is, how will he play, how will he play post-injury?” Snead told reporters. “That was pretty serious injury that he has gone through, and he’s done a heck of a job rehabbing it. That’s always going to be something he’s got to do.
NFL team owners approve of a 17th game for the regular season while reducing the preseason from four to three games.
“But I do think [with] the center, because it’s such a nuanced position of almost being the second QB on the field, it’s hard just to project a rookie can do it. It’s even hard just to project a player that may be with another NFL team can do it just because they will still have to learn our system and still at that point have to quickly process football within our system.”
Go beyond the scoreboard
Get the latest on L.A.'s teams in the daily Sports Report newsletter.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.