St. Louis Rams RB Tre Mason and OT Isaiah Battle Inactive Sunday After Missing Team Bus


Mason, who has been fighting for playing time while dealing with fumble issues, and Battle, who just got promoted to the active roster after an awful preseason, didn’t make the best impression on the staff.

St. Louis Rams running back Tre Mason and offensive tackle Isaiah Battle were surprise inactives for Sunday afternoon’s game against the Baltimore Ravens. But as FOX broadcasters Kenny Albert and Daryl Johnston discussed during the game broadcast, Mason and Battle were deactivated for missing the team bus Saturday as the Rams departed for the airport.

Mason was the Rams’ primary starter in 2014 but was relegated to the bench following the implementation of first-rounder Todd Gurley into the offense this season. He’s missed two non-consecutive games due to injury–the season opener against Seattle and the Rams’ Week 6 victory over Cleveland–and when he’s been healthy, he’s been used very infrequently, rushing the ball 37 times for 103 yards since Gurley entered the lineup in Week 3. 15 of those attempts came in the Rams’ Week 8 blowout victory over the San Francisco 49ers. Following a costly first-quarter fumble in last week’s loss to the Chicago Bears that spurned a Bears field goal, Mason already seemed to be in the doghouse. Following this incident, it should be interesting to see how much patience the Rams have left for the former third-round pick.

Battle, a supplemental fifth-round pick by the Rams this summer, looks even worse after being promoted from the practice squad earlier this week to fill the void created by season-ending injuries to fellow rookies Jamon Brown and Darrell Williams.  The reason that Battle is even with the Rams this season is due to the fact that he exhausted his “three strikes” at Clemson and had to enter the supplemental draft. Battle, a 6-foot-7, 290-pounder, was cited for speeding and marijuana possession in June, a costly last straw following two previous suspensions, one for an unidentified violation of team rules, and another for a sucker punch thrown at a South Carolina player during 2013. Battle’s latest slip-up seems to signify that players with repeated character issues in college just can’t be trusted to change once they get to the NFL.

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It’s not as if Battle has let his play do the talking since he’s arrived in St. Louis, either. Despite the fact that they sacrificed a fifth-round pick in 2016 to add him to the roster, the Rams released Battle at the final cutdown in September (while keeping the undrafted Williams) because he just looked so unplayable during the preseason. It was expected that Battle, who played only three college seasons, was light for an offensive tackle, and missed the entire offseason program, would have some serious catching up to do before being game-ready. He was so underwhelming during the preseason, however, that the Rams were willing to let him go through waivers before being placed on the practice squad as the season began.

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Interestingly, Battle probably would have played if he had been dressed on Sunday. Rookie right tackle Andrew Donnal (who was starting in place of usual rookie starter Rob Havenstein…notice the alarming theme) suffered a knee injury in Sunday’s game. That necessitated the move of left guard Garrett Reynolds to right tackle, the shift of rookie right guard Cody Wichmann to the left side, and the insertion of Demetrius Rhaney at right guard. If Fisher’s statement Monday about Battle–“he’s a snap away from playing”–was to be believed (and that was backup up by Fisher’s statement this week that he sees Rhaney as the backup center, rather than a realistic option at guard), then the rookie blew his opportunity to see his first NFL action this week.

The Rams are hurting badly for offensive line depth at the moment. With Battle sidelined they had to dress three backup linemen who have played center almost exclusively throughout their respective NFL careers (Rhaney, along with newly-signed Eric Kush and Brian Folkerts). The severity of Donnal’s injury is not known, either, so that could affect things, but we’ll see if Battle remains on the active roster following this latest incident.

Next: Rams Sign Eric Kush, Brian Folkerts

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