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Practice Report 8/29: Havenstein Returns to Practice

Posted Aug 29, 2016

After sitting out most of training camp due to a foot injury, right tackle Rob Havenstein is off PUP and practicing again with his teammates.

Training camp and the preseason are winding down, but at long last, Monday marked the first practice for one of the Rams’ starting offensive linemen.

Right tackle Rob Havenstein was taken off the Physically Unable to Perform list on Friday, and went through pregame warm-ups with his teammates prior to Saturday’s contest in Denver. Now he’s officially returned to the practice field, ready to put his foot injury behind him.

“It felt good — good to go out there and get a little sweat, play some real football,” Havenstein said. “Got to get out there with the guys. It gets pretty lonely over there watching. So it was definitely good to be back.”

“We got him out there, he had a couple reps in each period,” head coach Jeff Fisher said. “Better than me seeing him out there, it was better for him getting out there for the first time.”

While sitting out can be tough on an individual accustomed to participating, Havenstein appeared to be even-keel about it all.

“I mean, the only thing that changes is that you’re not wearing shoulder pads when you come out to practice,” Havenstein said.

The Wisconsin product said he has been staying as active as possible in the meeting room, and in the weight room with head strength and conditioning coach Rock Gullickson.

“You can attack the weight room probably a little harder just because you’re not getting the stress of practice,” Havenstein said. “So I got with Rock and his staff and definitely tried to make some gains there.

“But anything else, meetings, are very similar — go in taking notes for the right tackle position,” Havenstein continued. “And if I can help out any way with guys asking questions, try to give them an answer that’s not [totally made up].”

With any player coming back from injury, there’s always a balance to strike between wanting to get back as soon as possible and making sure there’s no undue stress to cause a setback. Havenstein said he feels good about the way that process has gone.

“I think we had a pretty good plan with our medical staff. Between the communication between me and the coaches and the medical staff, obviously we want what’s best for me,” Havenstein said. “We don’t want to go out there and jeopardize something or be too cautious and miss time that I didn’t need to miss, or anything like that.”

The next step for Havenstein is to shake some of the cobwebs off before the regular season begins. He said he felt a bit rusty at times during Monday’s session — understandable given how long it’s been since he’s taken live reps.

“There’s obviously some technique things I need to clean up,” Havenstein said. “As I was especially taking pass sets I was kind of thinking to myself, ‘Ahh, this is a bad position to be in.’ But it just kind of comes with shaking the rust off. And I’m looking forward to getting as many reps as possible within the rules we kind of set for me.”

While it appears unlikely, there’s a chance Havenstein could get some playing time against Minnesota on Thursday.

“We’ll see how he does over the next couple of days,” Fisher said. “I haven’t ruled him out for the game.”

Whether he does or not, Havenstein’s goal at this point is to get better every day with an eye toward being healthy in the regular season.

“All I’m looking forward to is tomorrow — putting in a good practice out there,” Havenstein said. “We’re going to take it one day at a time. I’ve got to be open with everyone with how I’m feeling and everything like that. So it just goes on to keeping the good line of communication open.”

AUSTIN GLAD TO STICK AROUND

Wide receiver Tavon Austin inked a four-year contract extension prior to the weekend’s game against the Broncos, and is clearly glad to be a part of the Rams organization for years to come. As he said over the weekend, Austin reiterated the family feel that made him want to stay after Monday’s practice.

“I just love what coach Fisher and his staff did for me,” Austin said Monday. “I call this place home now.”

While he wasn’t too involved himself, Austin said the team initiated the extension talks.

“They contacted my agent — kind of came to him and told him they were thinking about doing something,” Austin said. “For me, I just cleared my mind [and said], ‘Let me know what the end and the result is.’ That’s how we did it.”

“I definitely was happy. You definitely know they had some interest in you and they still want you here,” Austin added. “I’m just glad it’s done. I don’t have to really worry about it, keep going back and forth, things like that.”

INITIAL ROUND OF CUTS

The Rams must get their roster down to 75 players by 1 p.m. PT on Tuesday afternoon, and the process is nearly complete. While the club will formally announce cuts tomorrow once all have been completed, via the NFL transaction wire, the club has made 14 moves today.

Los Angeles waived kicker Taylor Bertolet, tight end Benson Browne, safety Michael Caputo, defensive tackle Zach Colvin, offensive lieman Brian Folkerts, linebacker Darreon Herring, long snapper Jeff Overbaugh, wide receiver David Richards, tight end Jake Stoneburner, tackle Jordan Swindle, and quarterback Dylan Thompson. The club waived with an injured designation fullback Zach Laskey and wide receiver Marquez North.

Additionally, the Rams terminated the contract of defensive lineman Quinton Coples, who had signed with the club in March.

“You know, ‘Q’ did a good job coming in here,” Fisher said. “We started him off at defensive end and then we asked him to move to tackle, just to give him a chance inside to see. And I really appreciated everything that he did, his attitude. And going from end to tackle — if you’ve never been in there — is quite a change. So he worked really hard at it.

“But out of fairness to a player like Q, I didn’t see him making the team, and that’s exactly what I told him,” Fisher continued. “So I wanted to give him a chance — give him an opportunity — to get out there early to see if he could find work. And if not, we’re going to keep the door open for him.”