The Rams made a significant trade on Wednesday morning, sending offensive lineman Greg Robinson to the Lions for an undisclosed draft pick.
While the move will give Robinson a fresh start in the NFC North, it also has consequences for Los Angeles' offensive line. Jamon Brown has been taking snaps at first-team right tackle since the second week of OTAs, and on Thursday head coach Sean McVay said he will open training camp as the starter.
"Jamon has done some really good things. Right now, he will be the guy that will be the tackle when we go out there, but by no means is our starting lineup set in stone," McVay said. "We're going to continue to evaluate these guys and try to put them in situations that are competitive, where you really, truly evaluate what goes on in games. And then the preseason is going to be a great tool for us as well."
One reason the Rams felt comfortable making the move to trade Robinson is the depth the club feels it has along the line with Andrew Donnal and Pace Murphy, in addition to Brown.
"You have Jamon's development and some of those other guys at the tackle position that enable you to move a player like Greg and feel good about it, because of what he has done and put on tape," McVay said. "It was more of a credit to those others guys than anything that Greg didn't show us."
Check out photos from the Los Angeles Rams first minicamp practice. Photos by Ric Tapia.
According to McVay, Los Angeles' deal to send Robinson to Detroit developed rapidly over the last few days. With Lions left tackle Taylor Decker undergoing shoulder surgery that will keep him sidelined for a significant portion of the season, Detroit had an immediate need at the position.
"It was something where a couple other teams had expressed some interest," McVay said. "Fortunately we were able to get a thing done that we felt was good for both Detroit and the Rams."
Plus Robinson himself. McVay referenced Robinson telling Detroit media that having a fresh start is "refreshing" and that he plans to make the most out of it. The timing of the trade also benefits both Robinson and the Rams, as it gives the parties a chance to make necessary adjustments over the NFL's summer break.
"I think it allows Greg to be able to have a fresh start, knowing where he's going to be, especially when you have a bit of a break," McVay said. "Then it also gives us a chance to figure out what you want to do to make sure you get your numbers, where now you lose a lineman and you want to make sure you have the appropriate numbers going into training camp with your 90[-man roster] and how you want to shape that — based on the evaluation of the guys we do have in-house right now."
For now, the two on the right side are Brown and Rob Havenstein. It's a familiar pairing, though they're in different spots than they were when drafted in 2015. According to McVay, the plan is to keep Brown at tackle and Havenstein at guard.
"He did a nice job of adjusting inside, so I think that's what we're going to do moving forward," McVay said of Havenstein. "It wasn't exactly how you project and anticipate moving forward. You've got to be able to adjust. I think, to Rob's credit, his ability to be able to transition to that spot inside is a credit to his approach from an above-the-neck standpoint, with how smart and instinctual he is.
"What you do feel good about is, if for whatever reason something were to happen to Jamon at that tackle spot, you have a guy that is playing the guard position who has also played good ball at the right-tackle spot," McVay continued. "And it's hard to find those types of guys."