After a subpar performance in 2019, LA Rams’ right tackle Rob Havenstein has the incentive to prove he is still a premier NFL offensive tackle.
The LA Rams have some issues to sort out for the 2020 NFL season over their offensive line. But looking at the overall offensive line, we can sort through the good, the bad, and the ugly fairly quickly. For the good, the LA Rams veteran left tackle Andrew Whitworth put in a solid performance all season. Not only was he the only lineman to play all 16 games, but his 72.8 grade from Pro Football Focus (PFF) was tops on the team. The bad was the other offensive tackle, Rob Havenstein, whose PFF grade of 50.9 for 2019 was the worst grade of his career. For the ugly? Well, the play at left guard all season was… ugly.
Havenstein has been a solid performer at the right tackle position for the LA Rams since he arrived in 2015. But his play in 2019 was anything but typical. He had never allowed more than eight sacks in any given season, but he was on track for 10 sacks allowed before a meniscus injury forced him to the bench. And once there, Havenstein never quite felt strong enough to return to play.
Meniscus injuries can be very tricky to diagnose. While it was the reason listed for sending Havenstein to the bench after the Pittsburgh Steelers game, the injury may have happened far earlier in the season and simply deteriorated to such a painful point after the bye week that Havenstein was benched. The meniscus is actually two C or U shaped cartilages designed to cushion the impact of the upper leg (thigh) to the lower leg (calf). Even the slightest tear to this cartilage can cause anywhere from a dull ache to sharp acute pain.
RICE is nice for meniscus injuries
Havenstein’s injury, a torn Meniscus, is very difficult to repair “on the fly” in the midst of football season. The consensus non-surgical treatment is the RICE method: Rest, Icing, Compression, Elevation. While Havenstein may have reported the injury after the ninth game of the season, his poor play may have been the signs of injury practically all season. The Rams updates continued to be “Havenstein practiced, but he’s not ready to go yet”. The pain from slight tears
With an entire off-season to heal and recover, Havenstein should be fully healed in time for the 2020 OTA’s to get underway. Fully healed, his performance should recover as well. With the Rams reportedly working to re-sign left tackle Andrew Whitworth, having Rob Havenstein back to his usual solid self would be huge for the team in 2020. The Rams may also benefit from the play of rookie David Edwards at right guard in 2020 as well.
That solidifies three of the Rams five offensive line positions heading into 2020, leaving the team to open competition for left guard and center in training camp. With more than two players openly competing for each of the final two starting positions, the Rams offensive line may be better than anyone expects.
Right tackle Rob Havenstein has plenty to prove in 2020. If not to the LA Rams, to himself. He is a far better player than 2019 showed. Now it’s up to him to perform so well in 2020 that everyone forgets it.