Friday notebook: Lucas Havrisik will be Rams’ kicker Sunday at Cowboys; Rob Havenstein (calf) will be questionable for Week 8 - Stu Jackson, TheRams.com
The Rams will have a newly-signed kicker this week at Dallas.
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Lucas Havrisik will be the Rams’ kicker for their game on Sunday against the Cowboys in Dallas (10 a.m. PT, FOX), head coach Sean McVay confirmed Friday.
Regarding the direction they would take at that position, McVay on Wednesday had said the team would see how the week goes in terms of evaluating Havrisik during practice. McVay on Wednesday had also confirmed the team had worked out some kickers as well.
“He’s done a good job,” McVay said during his press conference before Friday’s practice. “He did a nice job yesterday. A lot of the things that we talked about that (special teams coordinator) Chase (Blackburn) and Spring (assistant special teams coach Jeremy Springer) liked came to life, and it was good to be able to see him perform the way he did yesterday.”
That means that Havrisik, who previously spent time on the Browns’ and Colts’ practice squads, is set to kick his first NFL regular season game on Sunday.
A backup tackle may be starting on the right side of the Rams’ offensive line.
The Los Angeles Rams may have taken an unexpected hit to their offensive line during practice this week. Right tackle Rob Havenstein is dealing with a calf injury and could miss Sunday’s game against the Dallas Cowboys.
Havenstein didn’t practice on Thursday, leaving his status in question for Sunday. Not having the consistent presence of Havenstein would obviously be a huge blow for the Rams offensive line. The right tackle has been a rock on the offensive line for most of his career, but especially the last two seasons. Havenstein has been rated as the 16th best tackle in the NFL this season via PFF. He would especially be missed in the run game where he ranks eighth this season in run-blocking.
Noteboom has played at right guard and left tackle for the Rams this season. He has one game at right tackle in his career. Back in 2021 against the Arizona Cardinals, Noteboom filled in for Havenstein who was out for COVID reasons. Noteboom gave up three pressures in that game and had a pass-blocking grade of 73.2.
Facing a top pass-rush with the Cowboys, it would be ideal to be able to have all five starting offensive linemen available. However, that may not be the case for the Rams on Sunday. If they are indeed without Havenstein, don’t be surprised if they turn to Noteboom on the right side.
Aaron Donald on Rams possibly bolstering team at trade deadline: “That’s not my call” - Mike Florio, NBCSports.com
The All-Pro defensive tackle would welcome help, but is simply focused on playing football.
When the 2023 season began, it was fair to wonder whether the Rams would be sellers at the trade deadline — possibly trading even defensive tackle Aaron Donald. Now, with the trade deadline only four days away, it’s fair to wonder whether the team that formerly effed them picks will consider doing so again, in order to improve the team’s chances at making it to the playoffs.
Does Donald believe the Rams should do it?
“That isn’t my call,” Donald told reporters on Thursday. “That’s not my call to say. It is not my job to do that. Obviously, my job is just to go out there and play, perform. If they choose to do that and bring some guys in that can help, that’s great. But my main focus is just playing football and letting them handle that.”
The comments arguably can be interpreted as reflecting a desire by Donald that the Rams consider taking steps aimed at improving the team now. And why not?
They’re more competitive than they were expected to be. As long as the key players stay healthy, the Rams will remain in the mix.
There are some areas of worry for the Los Angeles ahead of their trip to Arlington.
Looking ahead to Sunday’s contest, there are a handful of areas that make this a challenging game for the Rams. Here are four of the biggest causes for concern for Los Angeles in Week 8.
Micah Parsons and DeMarcus Lawrence
It’s not going to be easy for the Rams to keep Dallas’ pass rushers in check. The Cowboys’ tandem of Parsons and Lawrence is one of the best in the NFL on the edge, and then they can also mix in Dante Fowler Jr. and Dorance Armstrong as rotational players, too.
Alaric Jackson struggled against Alex Highsmith and the Steelers so you can bet Dallas watched film of that game and will use that to get favorable matchups against the Rams’ starting left tackle. No team in football generates pressure at a higher rate and more quickly than Dallas.
Creating big plays downfield
The Rams have done a good job creating big plays down the field with Cooper Kupp and Puka Nacua, but Dallas doesn’t allow very many. The Cowboys have given up only 16 pass plays of 20-plus yards, and according to Pro Football Reference, their total air yards allowed (552) is the second-fewest in the league.
Limiting Cowboys’ WRs
The Rams’ cornerbacks had maybe their worst game of the season on Sunday against the Steelers, looking lost at times against George Pickens and Diontae Johnson. Now they have to face CeeDee Lamb, Michael Gallup and Brandin Cooks.
Lamb is a mismatch for anyone in the slot, and with the Rams using Cobie Durant outside more last week, that could lead to Quentin Lake playing inside like he did against the Steelers. Ahkello Witherspoon, Derion Kendrick and Durant have to stay disciplined and limit big plays to those three receivers.
Here is the final Week 8 injury report for the Cowboys.