Rob Havenstein happy to be back on field

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. –– Asked about the progression of the offensive line earlier in Rams Training Camp presented by UNIFY Financial Credit Union, head coach Sean McVay went through each of the five players working with the first team offense. When he arrived at right tackle Rob Havenstein, he said Havenstein "has been outstanding."

To hear that four days into camp was a promising and positive development for a key piece to the unit. Havenstein worked hard to get to this point, of course, and feels like his return to the practice field has been "going well" so far.

"I think, me personally, got a lot of good work in," Havenstein said during a video conference with local media this week. "I feel good. I put my best foot forward, but it is definitely good to be back out there."

Last season, Havenstein sustained a knee injury in Week 10 against the Steelers, though McVay said the Wisconsin product was also " working through some different things."

The setback resulted in a career-low nine games played for Havenstein in 2019 – atypical for one of the Rams' most durable offensive linemen. He played all 16 games in 2018, and missed only five games combined from 2015-17.

When asked why he didn't play in Weeks 16 and 17 after coming off the injured list, Havenstein said he tried to play through the same injury but was unable to play as well as he wanted to, so he made the decision to get surgery to fix it.

"Then it's getting as healthy as possible, getting strong, and getting my body back right," Havenstein said.

The COVID-19 pandemic nearly threw a wrench in those plans, but Havenstein got an assist from teammate and left tackle Andrew Whitworth. Though gyms and team facilities across the country temporarily closed earlier this offseason, Havenstein was able to stay on top of his rehab and offseason workouts by working out with Whitworth in Whitworth's garage-turned-home gym.

"(It's beneficial) anytime you get to really work with the guys that you're going to be playing with, especially as an offensive line, to see and kind of push each other and to know like, 'Hey, I know he's put the work in and he knows I've put my work in,'" Havenstein said. "I'm not at home half-assing a workout, halfway between chips and the couch. I'm getting out there and putting my best foot forward, I'm getting after it. 'Whit' is pushing guys, I'm trying to push guys, they're pushing me. It was a really good environment and the work had to get done. You wouldn't want to do it with anyone else."

Having a front-row seat to the work Havenstein put in this offseason, Whitworth couldn't be happier to see Havenstein perform as well as he has.

"He was working here, he was working in my house, he's doing extra all the time," Whitworth said. "It meant something to him to come back healthy and over the injury and you know what, I couldn't be happier to see him having some success and seeing some good things going and feeling good about his knee."

A healthy Havenstein will prove pivotal for the Rams' offense, especially its running game.

During that 2018 season when he played in all 16 games, he had the highest run-block success percentage of any offensive tackle according to PFF. Los Angeles finished with the No. 3 rushing offense in the NFL that same year, averaging 139.4 rushing yards per game.

Based on McVay's comments, Havenstein is looking like his old self.

"Here is what I feel great about – I know that he attacked the offseason the right way, he's feeling healthy, he looks like the guy that has been a top-tier, starting tackle in this league," McVay said Monday. "He's got a great way about himself and I've been very pleased with Rob."

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