The speculation surrounding Brian Allen as the Rams starting center to begin the season was an interesting storyline to follow as training camp unfolded. And after Sunday's Week 1 contest, Allen lived up to the billing, keeping the pocket relatively clean for quarterback Matthew Stafford.
Allen allowed one pressure in the Rams' Week 1 win over the Bears, although it did result in a sack. Aside from that one rep, Allen looked the part, holding down the center position.
“I loved it," McVay said of Allen on Sunday, referencing his play. "He’s another guy, you talk about great stories that just make you so happy for guys,” he said. “You look at the way that he has consistently just demonstrated a resilient mindset and mentality as he’s recovered from what was a really tough knee injury against Pittsburgh a handful of years ago, or a couple of years ago. He just had belief, he just continued to grind at it."
Allen missed the entire 2020 season as a result of injury, so seeing him thrive early on this year in a starting role presents a nice little comeback story in the making. McVay said Allen got a game ball for his efforts in diagnosing calls at the line. McVay remains hopeful he's only going to get better from here on out.
"He played really well, we got a game ball. I just think his rapport with Matthew (Stafford), his competitiveness, his physicality, and then also, his poised, calm demeanor as he’s getting the calls communicated and recognizing a variety of things where we didn’t really have an inventory, didn’t know what to expect. I thought he was great. He’s only going to get better, but he got a game ball for us yesterday. He’s one of those feel-good stories that you love so much about working with people like him. I want to continue to see him do what he’s done and build off of that, but really pleased with Brian. Really happy for him.”
So with starting center job being one position that felt hanging in the balance entering Week 1, has McVay officially planted his stake in Allen as the guy each week?
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It certainly seems so. Initially, the plan was for Austin Corbett to kick over to center and Bobby Evans play right guard, although those plans seem far-fetched after Allen drew such high praise from McVay following the season opener.
If last week wasn't already an enormous test with Allen being tasked with slowing down defensive tackle Akiem Hicks, he'll now face the All-Pro DeForest Buckner in Indianapolis this weekend. Buckner is arguably the next closest thing to Aaron Donald when it comes to pass-rushing from the interior, so Allen will have a big day ahead of himself on Sunday.
Only time will tell what the future holds with Allen and the center position. However, McVay appears quite content with the job he's done, and the expectations he expects from Allen in Week 2 and beyond.
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Nick Cothrel is the Publisher of Ram Digest. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickCothrel.