For an offensive line that was already underperforming, news that starting right tackle Rob Havenstein would miss time due to a knee injury was far from welcomed. Having to shuffle in young, inexperienced was certainly not ideal. But to their credit, the Rams’ coaching staff was able to quickly get young, inexperienced players up to speed and the offensive line has been...better. Notably Rams’ rookie Bobby Evans, who’s held it down at tackle during his absence.
The Rams held a walk-thru only on Wednesday, but are still required designate players for the injury report. “Full” it read next to Havenstein’s name. Barring a setback during the week, it seems he’s set to return.
So the big question is: does Hav get his job back? The answer, well, not even Sean McVay knows at this point. When asked about his apprehension of shaking things up along an offensive line that’s getting the job done, he had this to say:
These guys have done a good job and we’re going to monitor that as the week progresses. It’s something that we feel good about – if he (Havenstein) is able to go – getting another really good football player back – in terms of what capacity he’s utilized, we have not made that decision.
To be fair, Havenstein hasn’t looked himself this season, which isn’t ideal considering the Rams gave him a four-year, $32MM extension last season. That said, the size of his paycheck shouldn’t play a role in his status as a starter or otherwise, and the Rams should simply field the players that give them the best shot at winning.
Fact of the matter is that Evans has looked better. You’ve noticed it. I’ve noticed. Sean McVay has noticed it.
You look at some of the players that he’s gone against, the caliber of big-time guys and the way that he’s been able to perform. He’s got great play energy. If you watch him, the excitement, the way that he helps his teammates up, finishes blocks, gets excited when guys score. He’s got a nice enthusiasm about himself that you get excited about. I’ve been very pleased with Bobby.
The Rams will hold a practice today, and we’ll see if Havenstein was once again a full participant with the pads on. I’m guessing his role moving forward will be a hot topic during this week’s press conferences, so stay tuned. As the team prepares for the Dallas Cowboys, a decision on who gets those starting reps in practice needs to come sooner than later.