Los Angeles Rams eldest Rob Havenstein blocking statesman: ‘Something special’ coming
Not much has changed for Rob Havenstein as he enters his eighth season in the NFL. Even his home, the Wisconsin alum claims, is in relatively the same condition it started in since he first moved down to Southern California in 2016.
Alas, a broader look at Havenstein’s professional endeavors presents tinkering beyond his control.
Havenstein, whose next regular season game will be his 100th with a rolled-up yellow ram’s horn, is the oldest statesman in a blocking unit that played a big part in February’s Super Bowl victory .
Two members of that unit have left as the next championship defense looms: Andrew Whitworth has retired and Austin Corbett will report on Carolina’s activities. The loss of the inspiration Whitworth will particularly sting and Havenstein is directly impacted.
Given that he has several years on each of his main blockers, he will likely be called upon to take on a bigger leadership role. If he succeeds, another reward lingers beyond another ring, as Havenstein faces a contract year.
When it comes to both companies, Havenstein chooses to place his trust in a team environment. His agent will handle any contract negotiations. His teammates will collectively work on leadership.
“From a leadership perspective, I think we have a good collective in the room,” Havenstein said in his opening statements from training camp. “Guys are spitting ideas at each other, brainstorming ideas and everyone is kind of working together. I think that’s something special about this piece.”
Speaking of which, Havenstein was intrigued by the move taken by AJ Arcuri, the newcomer in the seventh round who is currently expected to support him at right tackle. Havenstein said it never occurred to him to take Arcuri aside, but rather the rookie peppered him with questions during their first days working together.
Scroll to continue
“I think it’s an important detail because a young man asks questions, it shows me that he cares about them. It shows me that he really wants to do it,” he said. . “He wants to be here. There’s been a handful of guys over the years who’ve done that. AJ wants to come down the stairs.”
The veteran was finally able to dispense some traditional veteran wisdom when an overzealous Arcuri struggled in the early exercises.
“I kind of had to bring it back and say, ‘Hey, it’s day one. You’ve never done these exercises with us before. Relax a little. And he did it and he smoothed it over and finally got it,” Havenstein recalled. “I’m looking for some good stuff from him this year. He is a hard worker. Ready for him to take a good step when we play football.”
While Havenstein will work with new names in the top five, he’s no stranger to some of the comers. Havenstein praised Joseph Noteboom, who is back on a $40 million extension.
Noteboom was often placed behind Whitworth, but earned his new paycheck with outstanding performance, namely neutralizing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ powerful pass rush in the NFC Divisional Playoffs. Havenstein already knows what Noteboom is capable of and thinks his years working under Whitworth will only improve his game.
“Joe is an amazing athlete…(he’s a) hard worker, amazing athlete, he loves being around him,” Havenstein said. “He’s one of the smoothest athletes I’ve ever seen. It’s honestly boring sometimes because he makes everything look so easy. With this guy’s strength and speed, I am excited to see what he does.”
The returning duo will be joined by other familiar faces Brian Allen and David Edwards, the latter lining up next to tackle Noteboom on the left side. Third-round rookie Logan Bruss is expected to work alongside Havenstein at right guard, taking on the role Corbett left behind. His arrival allowed Havenstein to take a new initiative.
Taking one of the lessons he learned from Whitworth, Havenstein sought to infuse his preseason workouts with like-minded people and the shared efforts at Madison were the perfect ingredients. Josh Seltzner, an undrafted rookie with the Indianapolis Colts, was also believed to be on hand.
“(Bruss) was all in. I think he was there the first day he came back. The rookie stayed a little longer for the OTAs but just wanted to get around it,” Havenstein said. “Working with guys in your bedroom, there’s always that little bit of competition that you can’t have on your own. It’s something I wanted to do again.”