A year ago, the Los Angeles Rams started the 2018 season with starting RG Jamon Brown suspended for two games for marijuana. They went to OL Austin Blythe to fill in for those two games. Blythe ultimately played well enough to hold on to the spot leaving Brown sidelined.
At the same time, the Rams started the year without ILB Mark Barron. While the role and snap counts didn’t exactly correlate, ILB Ramik Wilson filled in admirably with Barron dealing with an ankle injury. At right guard, the mantra was clearly “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Yet at inside linebacker when Barron came off injury, he immediately went back into the starting lineup.
The inconsistency wasn’t necessarily surprising though it reflected a coaching staff that was willing to treat those situations independently and not commit to a precedent of not fixing that which wasn’t broken.
And now, here we are again.
RT Rob Havenstein missed the Rams’ Week 11 win over the Chicago Bears with a knee meniscus issue that he picked up in Week 10 against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Havenstein, who has had a rough 2019 season after four solid years since being drafted in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft, was replaced in this game by rookie OT Bobby Evans. The Oklahoma product was taken with the 97th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. While interest was high having played on OU’s 2018 line which won the Joe Moore Award, given to college football’s best OL, Evans struggled mightily in the preseason. Last night going up against EDGE Khalil Mack, he did not.
So now the Rams are back at the decision point. Hav was made the long-term solution at right tackle when the Rams gave him an extension last year that made him a Ram through 2022. Evans was made the short-term solution midweek. The results between the two, albeit in wildly different sample sizes, is stark.
Allow TST Deputy Editor Brandon Bate to summarize the decision via his beloved Twitter platform:
If Havenstein heals up for this week or even if he doesn’t beyond that when he does if Evans can continue to play well, the Rams have a tough decision to make at right tackle. The right decision is the one that works.
Which one is it?
Once Rob Havenstein is healthy enough to play, who should be the starting right tackle?
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