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LA Rams: Austin Corbett owns offensive center position hands down

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  • LA Rams: Austin Corbett owns offensive center position hands down

    LA Rams: Austin Corbett owns offensive center position hands down

    by Bret Stuter1 day ago

    The LA Rams were willing to allow veteran Austin Blythe to test the NFL Free Agency market because the front office had a plan in place. While that plan was not laid out for all to assess at the arrival of the new NFL season, we can see the details with the steps that the team has undertaken already. Of course, the critical cog to make the entire machinery work was the versatility of interior offensive lineman Austin Corbett.

    When the Rams traded a 2021 fifth-round pick to the Cleveland Browns for the former second-round pick Corbett, it was a rare win-win scenario. The Browns had no opening in their starting offensive line and were contemplating cutting Corbett outright. The Rams, conversely, were at their wit’s end trying to plug the starting lineup after waves of injuries forced starters’ seasons to end prematurely. Corbett played offensive left guard for the Rams in 2019, and then pivoted and started at right offensive guard in 2020.

    On neither occasion did he benefit from OTAs or training camp. He arrived mid-season in 2019, negating any chance to ramp up with his teammates. In 2020, the coronavirus pandemic had forced the NFL into stringent rules on training camp, forcing teams to limit direct contact to the barest minimum possible.

    Corbett just shows up and delivers. Simple as that.

    Trades come in all sizes

    The LA Rams are mostly known for headlining the sports section with some blockbuster trade that changes the landscape of the entire NFL. But the Rams are just as effective with the subtle moves that improve the middle and bottom segments of the roster as well. After all, the Rams used a moment of great need to parlay a 2021 fifth-round draft pick into a starting offensive lineman for 2019, 2020, and 2021 NFL seasons. Even if the Rams cannot afford to resign Corbett, his value in the NFL Free Agency market could net the Rams a fifth-round or better awarded compensatory pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.

    With the arrival of veteran quarterback Matthew Stafford, the Rams sure want to put the best foot forward. Or, in this case, their best offensive lineman at the center position. Reports already indicate that Corbett and Stafford have established a good rapport. For a 17 game season with such high expectations already set, that center-quarterback exchange is critical to set correctly right out of the gates.

    Of course, there are other variables that helped to form this decision. The Rams coaching staff believes that Bobby Evans will work out at the right offensive guard starting role. That remains to be seen. But if Evans can hold up his end of the offensive line, this could be as good if not better than 2020’s version.

    For now, forget the belief that the Rams failed to address the offensive center position in the 2021 NFL Draft and that oversight will be costly to the team. It’s just a fog that is lifting. These Rams have a lot to prove this year, and they will need to do so through 17 regular-season games well into the post-season. With the eyes on the prize set at lifting the Lombardi Trophy, there are few if any moral victories.

    Setting Austin Corbett appears to be one winner. Regardless of how other players perform on the offensive line, the offensive center position appears to be set for 2021. After this year is anyone’s guess. But for now, you can all go back to what you were doing. False alarm.

  • #2
    Corbett just shows up and delivers. Simple as that.
    If this is true, we're in business, and the offense is going to be stellar.

    Comment


    • #3
      Seems like that he is going to only get better and better. Starting as a rookie. And really has really played it to the core.
      Carolina Panthers @ Denver Broncos 2/7/2016 CBS 6:30PM EST Santa Clara CA!

      Comment


      • #4
        LA Rams: "Austin Corbett owns offensive center position hands down."

        Last year Blythe didn't set the bar all that high. I'm hoping Corbett sets a much higher precedent. If we can run the ball with a modicum of consistency, we'll be able to handle the pass rush way better than last year as well. I am optimistic we'll be better on O this year. Stafford will be the key - one way - or another ...


        Comment


        • #5
          If expectations are met, this will be very good news.
          “Oh, 100 percent,” Donald said. “I feel like the words, ‘Thank you,’ ain’t enough. You’ve got to show it... Instead of saying thank you — show it.”

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by IsaacBruce4ever View Post

            If expectations are met, this will be very good news.

            Yes it sure will. ('~')

            Hopefully AC is past the questionable time he spent in Cleveland and will have, by now, generated enough a) self-confidence, b) experience (at this point in his young career) and c) ability to establish a reliable performance at center.

            He may even get a nice free dinner from Stafford by the end of the season.

            Comment


            • #7
              Since he's been on this O-Line for 2 years that will make the adjustment smoother and consistency on the O-Line is very critical. Given the bad news with Akers, we need a break to go our way.

              Comment


              • #8
                I mean, this was the presumption, right? The Rams did not make much of an effort to retain Blythe, didn't bring in any other veterans, and passed on numerous quality center prospects in the draft. At that point, it was clear that the Rams planned to shift Corbett inside to start at center. I'm glad that he's developing a rapport with Stafford and I hope it works out, because the team passed up other opportunities to upgrade or solve this issue in favor of this route.

                Comment


                • #9
                  We could have taken a center in the draft. However, it is rare that a lineman comes straight from college into the NFL and lights it up right away. Given our free agent situation in 2022 - this year we'll get to see what's available "in house" - maybe great - maybe not. There is the advantage of continuity which is no small matter when it comes to an O-line jelling. Snead and McVay clearly are not afraid to follow their instincts "i.e." gamble. On paper we've got some depth on the O-line, when final cutdown comes due, it will be very interesting to see which of our O-linemen make the final 53.

                  The biggest bummer so far this offseason was losing Cam .. I was SO looking forward to seeing him run this year. He really got his mojo working towards the end of the season last year. Now we are denied watching him blend with our revamped line and Matt Stafford.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Nick View Post
                    I mean, this was the presumption, right? The Rams did not make much of an effort to retain Blythe, didn't bring in any other veterans, and passed on numerous quality center prospects in the draft. At that point, it was clear that the Rams planned to shift Corbett inside to start at center. I'm glad that he's developing a rapport with Stafford and I hope it works out, because the team passed up other opportunities to upgrade or solve this issue in favor of this route.
                    I too hope it works out. There is no doubt this is a huge gamble. Corbett has talent, but the fact is, he's never played center in a game. Not in college, not in the NFL. This is what a beat writer had to say about the Browns giving Corbett some reps at center:

                    “Except Corbett has been at his absolute worst at center. His snapping remains rudimentary at best. Moving him to center means he’s more often isolated against bigger defensive tackles, exacerbating the impact of his lack of strength and anchor ability. Pair that with his complete lack of natural instincts at the position, and it’s been a disaster.”
                    The center position is a complex one, with specific techniques and responsibilities, protections to call out, and the ability to anchor the entire OL and execute based on what the rest of the line is doing. It's not just a plug and play position, but that's exactly how the Rams are going ahead with it. They obviously have confidence it will work out, strong confidence based on the decisions they've made, so I'll give them the benefit of the doubt. Fingers crossed.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by RealRam View Post

                      Hopefully AC is past the questionable time he spent in Cleveland and will have, by now, generated enough: a) self-confidence, b) experience (at this point in his young career) and c) ability to establish a reliable performance at center.

                      He may even get a nice free dinner from Stafford by the end of the season.

                      My fingers are crossed too, Mike. (~_<)

                      Comment

                      Related Topics

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                      • MauiRam
                        Upside of LA Rams left guard Austin Corbett is undeniable ..
                        by MauiRam

                        LA Rams left guard Austin Corbett jumped into the starting lineup cold turkey last season. 2020 will be much better When the LA Rams began the 2019 season,...

                        Ramblinfan

                        Upside of LA Rams left guard Austin Corbett is undeniable

                        When the LA Rams began the 2019 season, interior offensive lineman Austin Corbett was prepared to play for the Cleveland Browns. But by mid-October 2019, the Rams offensive line was already unraveling, as the left guard, Joseph Noteboom fell to a season-ending injury. Wasting no time,

                        LA Rams general manager Les Snead contacted the Cleveland Browns about an offensive lineman who played on three special teams snaps. But he was the 33rd pick for the Cleveland Browns in the 2018 NFL Draft. His draft profile was strong, but nothing stood out. But in the draft analysis, Mike Mayock loved him, citing him as one of the cleanest (no penalty) players in the draft, and one with a bit of a mean streak.

                        Delayed opportunity

                        Lots of draft love never turned into an opportunity for Corbett in Cleveland. The Browns were set at both offensive guard positions when drafting Corbett. He arrived at the Browns under offensive head coach Hue Jackson but was led by head coach Gregg Williams for the final eight games. By 2019, the now second-year player was up to his third head coach in Freddie Kitchens.

                        By October 2019, early into his second year, he was traded to the LA Rams and met his fourth head coach Sean McVay. He returns to the Rams this year with a career first: He will be playing for the same head coach who he played for a season ago. Two years, four head coaches, four different playbooks and offensive philosophies, 22 NFL games where he saw action, eight games starting.

                        Put yourself in his position

                        Let’s say you hired on for a job to work for a new boss. Within six months of your hiring, that boss was fired. Your next boss, a temporary manager, stayed on for six months. Then he was replaced by a new boss. But in six months’ time, you found out that your company had transferred you all the way across the country, and oh, by the way, be ready to hit the floor running at your new job. For all that moving and reporting to new bosses, that’s just the logistics side of the equation.

                        Austin Corbett is a solid offensive line talent who arrived at the LA Rams from a very dysfunctional NFL team. He arrived and was almost instantly plugged into the LA Rams starting offensive line. Is it any wonder that his 2018 PFF grade of 54.9 looks very similar to his 2019 PFF grade of 51.8? It’s difficult to improve your swimming stroke when you are trying to keep from drowning.

                        From cobwebs to center stage

                        Lots of moving, learning a new playbook, and moving on in 18 months for Corbett. Shockingly, his arrival and being pushed into an immediate starting role for the LA Rams...
                        -07-30-2020, 01:46 AM
                      • Curly Horns
                        Rams are playing Austin Corbett at center to begin OTAs
                        by Curly Horns
                        Cameron DaSilva
                        May 18, 2021 6:05 am PT


                        The departure of Austin Blythe in free agency left a gaping hole in the middle of the Rams’ offensive line. He was the starting center for the last season and a half, playing relatively well in front of Jared Goff.

                        But with Blythe now a member of the Chiefs, the Rams are set to make a change at center once again. Brian Allen should be healthy after suffering a severe knee injury in 2019, so he’s a candidate to start. Coleman Shelton is, too.

                        But the likeliest scenario seems to be moving Austin Corbett from guard to center. During the first session of OTAs on Monday, the Rams had Corbett at center, Bobby Evans at right guard, David Edwards at left guard and Andrew Whitworth at left tackle in front of Matthew Stafford. The photo didn’t clearly show the right tackle, but it appeared to be Rob Havenstein.

                        This appears to be the projected starting offensive line and it makes sense. Allen struggled at center in 2019 before getting hurt, and Shelton doesn’t have any starting experience. Corbett wasn’t great at center with the Browns when he came into the league, but the Rams clearly believe he can succeed there now in L.A.

                        Of course, it’s only May and there’s still training camp to go through, but the Rams are clearly going to give Corbett a shot to start at center in 2021.

                        ...
                        -05-18-2021, 06:43 PM
                      • Nick
                        Rams draft signals confidence in O-Line
                        by Nick
                        Rams draft signals confidence in O-Line
                        Saturday, May 09, 2020 04:00 PM
                        J.B. Long

                        Survey a group of Rams fans about which position group was most culpable for the 2019 team missing the postseason and the results would be nearly unanimous.

                        Offensive line.

                        After enjoying an improbable run of health and continuity in recent seasons, last year saw a regression to the mean, and with it, some mean regression.

                        As documented in a previous discussion, nine Rams started along the offensive front in the first 11 weeks, including six who were making their first or second NFL start.

                        Joe Noteboom and Brian Allen struggled to replace Rodger Saffold and John Sullivan before suffering season-ending injuries.

                        Right tackle Rob Havenstein was earning a career-low Pro Football Focus grade before a Week 10 injury in Pittsburgh also ended his campaign.

                        So understandably, even with total personnel retention, the line was considered an area of need going into the NFL Draft.

                        Instead, the Rams doubled-down on a group that stabilized in December, but in aggregate rated among the NFL's worst in 2019.

                        They didn't choose an offensive lineman until their final pick (guard Tremayne Anchrum at 250 overall) or acquire help through trade or free agency, signaling a readiness to run it back with their existing talent, banking on internal development.

                        "Last year was beneficial for us, in spite of having some of the injuries and shuffling things around," Sean McVay said. "You got a chance to really evaluate a lot of guys playing in real games that count and you can see that there's a lot of upside."

                        It will be at least a year – likely two or three – before we can truly evaluate the merits of this approach, and the results will depend on a number of factors. Most notably, can this group of Rams realize that upside McVay referenced, both individually and collectively?

                        But also, do players like Ezra Cleveland (58th pick, Minnesota) or Josh Jones (72nd pick, Arizona) turn into All-Pro tackles? Or similarly, do several of the interior linemen selected in a Day Two stretch where the Rams had four selections outperform L.A.'s existing options?

                        In the present, you can understand how general manager Les Snead, offensive line coach Aaron Kromer, and McVay might prefer what they have in house. And it's not as if they haven't spent comparable draft capital in recent years on this position group.

                        2018: Joe Noteboom (3rd round), Brian Allen (4th), Jamil Demby (6th)

                        2019: Bobby Evans (3rd), David Edwards (5th)

                        They also traded in a 2021 fifth-round pick to acquire Austin Corbett from the Browns last season.

                        "You look at Austin," McVay says of the 33rd overall selection from two years ago. "You say, alright, what does it look...
                        -05-12-2020, 08:09 AM
                      • Nick
                        A position-by-position look at how to stabilize the Rams’ offensive line
                        by Nick
                        A position-by-position look at how to stabilize the Rams’ offensive line
                        By Rich Hammond Jan 7, 2020 21

                        Put together a pie chart, with all the reasons the Rams missed the playoffs in 2019, and the biggest chunk will belong to the offensive line.

                        A year ago, the Rams whiffed on the construction of their line by letting veterans Rodger Saffold and John Sullivan leave and believing they could be replaced by two players with almost zero practical experience. That resulted in instability and ineffectiveness that didn’t get reversed until late in the season.

                        The Rams couldn’t run the ball effectively in 2019, and Jared Goff often looked skittish without the belief — firmly held in 2017 and 2018 — that the line would give him time to throw and keep him upright.

                        By the end of the regular season, the Rams found an unconventional mix that (mostly) worked. Four of the five spots on the offensive line had changed hands since the start of the season, but somehow the Rams allowed only 22 sacks, fewest in the NFL (that’s attributable, in part, to coach Sean McVay’s dedication to running the ball more and rolling out Goff with play-action passes).

                        The shuffling resulted in a positive for the Rams, who got long looks at several young linemen at multiple positions. Joe Noteboom, Brian Allen, Austin Corbett, David Edwards and Bobby Evans each played at least six regular-season games, although Noteboom and Allen suffered season-ending knee injuries.

                        As the Rams head into the offseason, it’s not so much that they must improve their offensive line. They perhaps don’t even need to make outside additions. Stability is the main thing, and the Rams’ biggest task between now and September is the evaluation of the young linemen. They miscalculated in 2019, but that’s easy to do because it’s difficult to project how inexperienced linemen will play.

                        Given what the Rams put on film this season, here’s a reasonable position-by-position plan for how they should approach the offensive line in 2020. These will be listed in order of importance.

                        Left tackle
                        The Rams had the right idea a year ago. They hoped Joe Noteboom, a third-round draft pick in 2018, would thrive as a first-year starter at left guard, then slide over to left tackle in 2020. Andrew Whitworth was set to play out the final year of his contract and then presumably retire at age 38.

                        None of that happened. Noteboom struggled at guard in early games, and just when he seemed to be showing improvement, he tore an ACL in Week 6 and was lost for the season. It’s possible, because of the extensive rehab needed, that Noteboom won’t return to full action until the start of training camp. Meanwhile, Whitworth completed his 14th NFL season, then indicated he wants to keep going.

                        As of now, the Rams don’t have a starting left tackle. Here are their options:
                        • Proceed with the Noteboom plan
                        ...
                        -01-09-2020, 04:03 AM
                      • MauiRam
                        LA Rams 2019 offensive line ahead of other teams this season
                        by MauiRam
                        Ramblinfan

                        LA Rams 2019 offensive line ahead of other teams this season



                        (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)
                        The LA Rams brought back 2019’s offensive line. Now it appears that decision could give the team a distinct advantage


                        When is a bad offensive line not a bad offensive line? When you remove the casts, ACE bandages, and crutches. At least, that is what the LA Rams are counting on this year. The LA Rams owned the 31st-ranked offensive line in 2019. That fact alone triggered many to call on the team to sign free agent offensive linemen, draft multiple offensive linemen, and rework the entire unit. Of course, the recent history of the Rams proved that the team had been doing exactly that.

                        Since 2018, the Rams had steadily been adding offensive linemen. In that 2018 season, the Rams added Brian Allen, Joseph Noteboom, and Jamil Demby. In 2019, the Rams added Bobby Evans, David Edwards, and Chandler Brewer. Then, mid-season in 2019, the team picked up Coleman Shelton and Austin Corbett. If you do the math, the team loaded up on eight new offensive in the past two seasons. That’s quite the overhaul, to be honest.
                        Room for two more?


                        Conversely, the Rams not only did not add multiple offensive linemen in either the free agency or draft but instead re-signed all of last year’s offensive linemen to 2020 contracts. That’s not just veteran left tackle Andrew Whitworth, but also Austin Blythe and Coleman Shelton as well. Even in this offseason, the Rams added rookies Tremayne Anchrum and Cohl Cabral. 10 new additions to the roster since the 2018 NFL Draft.

                        That has been received with disappointment by some, but after thinking about it, many are reconsidering. After all, this is an offseason like no other, and that comes after a season unlike any other. The Rams offensive line in 2019 was crippled by multiple injuries throughout the entire season. But that means that the Rams have multiple players competing at virtually all positions with multiple-game starting experience. How can that be anything less than a huge positive, particularly in a year with zero preseason games.

                        Ummm .. sounds good to me ... we'll see .....
                        -07-22-2020, 02:20 PM
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