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Why isn’t Joe Noteboom practicing this week?

Is Rams’ Joseph Noteboom injured? Has he lost competitions to start?

Los Angeles Rams Mandatory Minicamp Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

For unknown reasons, L.A. Rams head coach Sean McVay was ambiguous and unclear when it came to why offensive lineman Joe Noteboom didn’t participate in team drills in Wednesday’s joint practice against the Las Vegas Raiders, and according to McVay won’t practice at all this week. Though it would be fair for anyone to assume that Noteboom is dealing with an injury, McVay still refused to elaborate on what the offensive lineman’s “setback” was and only stated that he was “dealing with a little something” that happened on the practice field.

Noteboom participated in individual drills, but the sixth-year pro who has been competing to start at either left tackle or right guard, will be on the bench for at least this week, according to McVay in his Wednesday press conference.

It could be that Noteboom is injured, that would not be unusual for a player who has missed countless practices and a lot of games in his first five years as a pro. There are also a number of reasons why McVay would not disclose whether Noteboom is injured, he’s not required to do so, therefore it is feasible that some sort of “setback” is injury-related and keeping him from going head to head with anyone in practice. When asked if he could clarify Noteboom’s “something”, McVay refused.

“He’s dealing with a little something right now and so he won’t be practicing the rest of this week. I don’t have anymore information than that right now but he wasn’t part of the team activities today.”

McVay added that he didn’t want anyone on the team to “waste our emotional energy on stuff that we can’t control”, which could mean an injury. It could also mean something not related to injury. It could mean not being the starting left tackle or right guard. However, McVay did say that he was pleased with Noteboom’s offseason, training camp, and that he was hopefully to get Noteboom back “sooner than later”.

Just based on Noteboom’s unavailability this week, we can say for sure that if the Rams had to put out a starting offensive line that A.J. Jackson would be the left tackle and that either Tremayne Anchrum or Coleman Shelton would be the right guard. The potential starting five would be Jackson, Steve Avila, either Brian Allen or Shelton, either Shelton or Anchrum, and Rob Havenstein.

The Rams could in theory be interested in talking to other teams about whether or not they need offensive line help, should Noteboom have failed to win a starting job. His cost to another team would be low, the Rams would get a little bit of salary cap relief, and some low-level draft compensation.

Whether that’s being considered is unclear. A lot about Joe Noteboom is unclear right now.