Los Angeles Rams 90-Man Roster Preview: Quarterback Brandon Allen

by Jake Ellenbogen
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We continue our Los Angeles Rams roster review series with the final quarterback in the room – Brandon Allen. The former Arkansas quarterback and ex-Jaguar now has spent almost three years with the Rams. Allen was surprisingly waived by the Jaguars and was promptly picked up by the Rams following the 2017 preseason. He’ll be looking to make the roster for a fourth straight year, but he’ll need to prove himself to earn a spot on the roster.

2018 Season

Brandon Allen initially made the 53-man roster in a surprising move from the Rams to ultimately keep three quarterbacks last season. Allen was listed third on the depth chart behind the likes of Jared Goff and Sean Mannion.

While it came as somewhat of a shock to many when the Rams kept Allen, it showed how much the Rams liked Allen due to the original familiarity with former quarterbacks coach Greg Olson. Allen finished the 2018 preseason with 261 yards, one touchdown, and an interception. It wasn’t the most eye-opening preseason performance but Allen did enough to hold onto a roster spot.

Unfortunately, for the 26-year old, he would soon find out that he was being waived from the 53-man roster in favor of the Rams promoting formerly suspended offensive guard Jamon Brown. The next day, Allen would find himself re-signed to the Rams practice squad and would remain there the rest of the 2018 season.

Following the 2018 campaign, the Rams signed Allen to a reserve/future contract on February 7th, thus making him a member for the Rams 90-man roster in the summer.

Roster Battle 

Sean Mannion has left the Los Angeles Rams and moved on to the Minnesota Vikings, but with the Rams signing Blake Bortles, Allen will once again be looking to make the roster as the third quarterback. However, that won’t be a given either. While Allen has experience in the offense, the Rams brought in former Arizona Hotshots AAF quarterback John Wolford to compete for potentially a final quarterback spot.

The third quarterback spot will be Allen’s to lose, but that’s suggesting the Rams keep three quarterbacks on the active roster. With Jared Goff having full control of the starting job and Bortles being a reliable backup behind him, it’s hard to justify keeping a third quarterback in favor of a linebacker or defensive lineman who could contribute either on special teams or in a rotation.

That leaves the Rams third quarterback situation with Allen vs. Wolford for a spot on the practice squad which Allen is still eligible. This battle could be fun to watch in the preseason, with both players hopefully getting an equal amount of reps to show off.

It’s essential to keep in mind that Allen has the in-house advantage and familiarity while Wolford has played more recently in meaningful games.

Three Plays On Tape

This is not a bad throw by Allen during the 2018 preseason to a wide open tight end Henry Krieger-Coble down the left sideline. It’s 3rd-and-3 play in the fourth quarter with the Rams looking to move the chains and extend this drive past midfield. Allen takes the snap out of the shotgun, and although he doesn’t display the most textbook delivery, he is able to put the ball right on the money to Krieger-Coble as he catches it in stride, allowing him to go for extra yards and set the Rams up near the 25-yard line.

Here’s the touchdown many will remember. Allen throws the ball into a tight window to a diving KhaDarel Hodge. Once again, Allen doesn’t make this look the most natural of throws or the most textbook, but he’s able to face the pressure head on and deliver a strike to Hodge for the touchdown.

It may have been garbage time, but this is a good throw. It would be nice to see more comfortability in the pocket out of Allen as he tends to fade off onto his back foot or change his throwing stance mid-throw, leading to a drop in his accuracy.

Good things happen when you give Brandon Allen time. The problem is, that’s the same with just about any quarterback in the NFL. However, you cannot take anything away from this perfectly placed deep ball to Dede Westbrook. Allen displays arm strength and confidence. He drives the ball and puts it where it needs to go. The problem is far too many times Allen will fade away under pressure and hurt his throw by falling onto his back foot and taking the extra juice from his pass.

Biggest Question

Does being in the Rams building since the beginning of the 2017 season help Brandon Allen enough to find a spot in the building again?

Here’s the problem for Brandon Allen: He’s the second oldest quarterback on the roster behind only his former Jaguars teammate Blake Bortles, and that’s not even by a year as Allen will turn 27-years old this year.

The problem is that if you don’t believe Allen is going to make the 53-man roster, why keep him on the practice squad over a 23-year old in Wolford that has more in-game post-college experience than Allen and is three years younger? It doesn’t make a lot of sense but Allen certainly has a chance to remain on the roster and mainly by way of the practice squad.

2019 Outlook and Role

This is going to be dependent on what Allen displays in the preseason because last year he didn’t show enough to keep himself on the roster past the first initial weeks of the season. While he might have been better than Mannion, Bortles and Wolford are solid quarterbacks. Allen will have a lot of work to do.

Allen will spend a second-year as the practice squad quarterback with the Rams, or he’ll be a potential 53-man roster add on another team that doesn’t have the roster the Rams do and is looking for quarterback depth.

Chances of Making Final Roster

The chances are incredibly slim because, again, the Rams are going to have to cut some good football players this year that could potentially find starting roles elsewhere. It’s going to be hard for the Rams to justify keeping three quarterbacks. Therefore a roster spot for Allen seems very unlikely unless Bortles suffers an injury and he outplays Wolford.

If Allen wants to stay on the roster, he would have to be okay with a practice squad spot otherwise the Rams will indeed move on.

Allen has some fun traits, his arm strength, his deep ball accuracy, and his overall mobility, but he does have a lot of things to clean up. If he cleans these things up, Allen could make a run and force the Rams to keep him on the 53-man roster in hopes of him not being picked up by another team. Regardless, Allen has a long way to go this offseason and a lot of work to do.

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