INGLEWOOD, Calif. – As if the Rams’ injury luck didn’t add up, head coach Sean McVay watched as starting left tackle Joe Noteboom was carted off the field early in the second quarter, and later ruled out for the game, with an ankle injury.
“It’s unbelievable, isn’t it?” McVay said postgame.
Fortunately, Los Angeles had a pair of relievers between Alaric Jackson and Oday Aboushi, with Jackson holding it down in place of Noteboom at left tackle and Aboushi moving up to Jackson at right guard in its 24-10 win over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday at SoFi. The stadium.
“I mean, I feel bad for Joe Noteboom, but what made AJ Jackson go from right guard to left guard. He was great all day,” McVay said. “Oday Aboushi, I just met this guy a few weeks ago and he is playing every game, doing a good job.”
Jackson has been a key piece to the offensive line with his versatility at multiple positions, which has been helped in part by getting reps at guard and tackle during training camp and the preseason this year.
After this training, he switched to the left to make it seamless, because that is his natural position and he played it last year. When forced into action against the Vikings in Week 16 last year, Jackson performed well — Pro Football Focus said he allowed just two pressures and one hit, and didn’t throw a single sack.
“Things happen, just roll with it a lot,” Jackson told Rams.com postgame.
That’s not to say it’s easy, though – just ask Rob Havenstein.
“If I had to go right to left, I would fall down,” Havenstein told Rams.com postgame, smiling. “I’ve been playing right for a while now, so. I could guard well, but I don’t know if I could do anything on the left side. In camp, he played small guard, he played right tackle, he played left tackle, so he has experience with that. But it just shows what A.J. is capable of.”
After Jackson moved out, Havenstein spent the entire game talking to Aboushi, who was signed to the Practice Squad on Sept. 14 and was promoted to the Active Roster six days later.
Havenstein made sure to answer any questions Aboushi had. To that end, Havenstein said Aboushi’s communication was “good.” And perhaps a demonstration of someone who has 73 career games under their belt.
“I think he’s a confident guy and a good communicator, and that’s something that this team needed a lot,” Havenstein said.
With Aboushi at right guard and Jackson at left guard, the Rams put together back-to-back drives in the second half to pull away from the Panthers and snap a two-game losing streak.
“I think it was good,” Jackson said of the performance of the Rams offense. “It’s a step in the right direction for the most part. Use this as an opportunity to grow.”
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