The Los Angeles Rams are less than a week away from playing the Cincinnati Bengals at SoFi Stadium for the right to call themselves world champions. Thankfully, the extra week off has allowed LA additional recovery time for some ailing players. During his Super Bowl press conference, head coach Sean McVay provided injury updates leading up to the big game.
McVay to expects to have better information on Tyler Higbee and Joe Noteboom closer to game day
“We’re just taking it a day at a time with those guys. They’re doing everything in their power to be available. I’ll probably be able to give you a better answer as we get closer to the game, but there’s no change on those guys’ status.”
When asked if would be able practice leading up to the Super Bowl, McVay was not very optimistic
“I don’t think so. We’ll see. He’s been such a big part of this team. He’s one of those glue guys on this team. I know he’s going to do everything in his power, but if not he and (tight ends coach) Wes Phillips have led that room so well and those other guys will be ready to step up, but well take it a day at a time with Tyler.”
McVay has said before that the only injury he's worried about for the Super Bowl is TE Tyler Higbee's MCL Sprain.— Stu Jackson (@StuJRams) February 5, 2022
Having Noteboom (strained pectoral) available for the Super Bowl would be a huge boost for the o-line. His presence would help solidify the depth at both tackle positions. It would also open the door for some jumbo packages, with Noteboom replacing a tight end as the sixth offensive lineman, though rookie left tackle AJ Jackson and back-up center Coleman Shelton have also contributed in that role this season.
Higbee’s return would also be a boon for the offense if he is able to play on Sunday. However, with McVay so quick to admit that the tight end may not practice this week, expectations of his return should be tempered, at least a little bit.
Kendall Blanton stepped up with FOUR 1st down catches on 5 receptions. The trend of this season has been “Next Man Up” & they have all delivered! Additionally, despite the narratives, the Rams are 6th in the NFL in homegrown players. We have developed our young guys so very well pic.twitter.com/H9aX6J3NQ5— RAMS ON FILM (@RamsOnFilm) February 2, 2022
Thankfully, Kendall Blanton has shown he is capable of filling in at tight end when needed. His five catch 57 yard performance against the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship was impressive, especially if you consider the job he did blocking against Nick Bosa.
Kendall blanton puttin Nick bosa on his ass pic.twitter.com/2lMJuAdhKk— xz - (@LArams4L) February 2, 2022
McVay also provided clarity on the potential returns of Sebastian Joseph-Day, Darrell Henderson, and Robert Rochell
“All those guys are expected to practice and there is a good chance those guys will be ready to go for the game. With Rochell, well just keep taking it a day at a time but with Bash and Darrell it is looking optimistic.”
The Rams defensive front may have quite the rotation come Super Bowl Sunday. With Joseph-Day’s return likely, he will be added to the already dangerous mix of Aaron Donald, Greg Gaines, and A’Shawn Robinson on LA’s defensive line.
SACK ALERT!!!— LA Rams Nation (@RamsNationCP) September 19, 2021
Sebastian Joseph-Day with the rams third sack of the afternoon!pic.twitter.com/bV3C6DRrXl
The running back room is also as healthy as it’s been all season with Henderson expected to suit up. If the Los Angeles is able to pound the rock against the Bengals, they may have a three-headed monster of Cam Akers, Sony Michel, and Henderson. Keeping a fresh back in the game to tire out that underrated Cincinnati defense could prove pivotal in the offense’s success, and the right to hoist the Lombardi trophy.