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Practice Report 11/30: Benefiting from Break, Robinson Expected Back at LT

Posted Nov 30, 2016

HC Jeff Fisher said LT Greg Robinson used his week off well to refocus and should be ready to play against New England come Sunday.

Last Sunday's game against New Orleans was different for Greg Robinson.

Earlier in the week, Rams head coach Jeff Fisher made the decision to temporarily replace the left tackle in the lineup with Rodger Saffold. As Fisher termed it, Robinson just needed the time off. While the young lineman clearly has ability, the mental mistakes and costly penalties had just piled up.

“Guys, sometimes in their career, need a break,” Fisher said Monday. “I know he refocused, he recharged, he rebooted and he’s ready to go.”

And so the 24-year-old Robinson, who had started 35 consecutive games for the Rams at left tackle, watched Los Angeles’ offense take on New Orleans from the sideline as one of the club’s seven inactive players. It was tough — especially considering Robinson is a Louisiana native and had numerous family members in attendance at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome — but the left tackle said he tried to make the most of the experience.

“It was the decision they made, and all I can do is just accept it. And it wasn’t like I could tell them, ‘No, I’m not sitting down,’” Robinson said after Wednesday’s practice. “So, if it was smart for him to allow me to take a break, I feel like I used it to the best of my ability, and just accepted what was at task, and just tried to move on.”

What made the experience a bit more challenging for Robinson was seeing Saffold leave the game with a hand injury in the second quarter.

“Yeah, on the sidelines it kind of got me down. But, like I said, there was nothing I could do about that,” Robinson said.

Offensive coordinator Rob Boras noted Robinson handled the situation well both leading up to and on Sunday.

“Anytime that you feel threatened, and you get something taken away, I think it refocuses your energy and channels your focus,” Boras said. “I think in communication with Greg, and just the guys that were on the sideline just talking about Greg’s energy, and what he was on the sideline, and how he handled the situation, I think spoke volumes. He didn’t pout, he handled it, he was communicating, making calls.”

As the Rams get set to take on the Patriots this Sunday, Fisher has said he expects Robinson to be back in his starting role at left tackle.

“I’m doing fine. Like I said from the beginning — all I can do is get better. It’s coaches’ decisions, and it’s a business at the end of the day,” Robinson said. “So take it how it comes, and just continue trying my best to get better each day.”

The head coach has noticed some encouraging signs from Robinson in terms of preparation this week.

“He’s been great. He understands,” Fisher said Wednesday. “Every once in a while, when you take a step back and watch what’s going on and see things through a different window — it’s life-changing.

“He is really excited right now. He’s been in here early, he’s staying late, he’s focused,” Fisher continued. “We’ve got some stuff behind him and he’s excited about playing.”

In his third season, Robinson said he feels like he’s progressed throughout the year — acknowledging that it may not seem that way to many. And now that he’s expected to line up at his regular spot once again, Robinson said he’s focusing on making sure he knows exactly what to do on each play.

“Honestly, I’m playing full speed, I feel. But there’s sometimes I’m just moving a little slower in getting to my spots. But that’s just something that I need to spend a little extra time studying and making sure I can get to those spots a little faster,” Robinson said.

“He’s embracing it right now,” Fisher said. “It’s a combination of technique, it’s a combination of some outside distractions and some misunderstandings – maybe a little lack of preparation. By all accounts right now, he’s ready to go play, so I’m proud of him.”

And that won’t be the easiest of tasks against a formidable opponent like the Patriots. New England head coach Bill Belichick and his staff are known for their ability to craft team-specific gameplans. Robinson said offensive line coach Paul Boudreau has been stressing that fact in the classroom.

“I was speaking with coach ‘Bou’ and he’s said in meetings that Belichick just shows different things that we probably won’t see, and it varies with different teams,” Robinson said. “So I feel like all we can do is put our heads down and grind and just keep chipping on it. And hopefully we come through with the ‘W,’ because we really need it.”

INJURY REPORT

The Rams listed five players on their injury report, none of whom participated in Wednesday’s session.

Wide receiver Tavon Austin (chest), center Tim Barnes (foot), offensive lineman Andrew Donnal (hip), defensive end Robert Quinn (concussion), and offensive lineman Rodger Saffold (hand) did not practice.


Though he left the matchup with New Orleans in the second quarter and did not return, Fisher said Saffold has not been ruled out for Sunday’s game in New England.