THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Rams defensive lineman A'Shawn Robinson knows he has a big season ahead.
And after his first season in Los Angeles didn't go according to plan, he adjusted his offseason routine to get in better shape and be someone his teammates can count on in 2021.
"Honestly, it all started when I came back this past year," Robinson said during a June 2 video conference. "When I first came here, they wanted me to lose some weight. And I thought about how I played in Detroit and how big I was, and how much better I would be if I leaned up some."
A "respiratory situation" – as described by Robinson – landed him on the reserve/non-football injury list prior to the start of the 2020 season. Robinson was eventually activated mid-season, making 12 total tackles and one pass breakup in eight games, then adding another three total tackles and a forced fumble in the Rams' pair of playoff games.
When the offseason arrived, he was inspired to change up his routine in order to maintain a lighter playing weight.
He has already successfully lost weight once before for the team – defensive line coach Eric Henderson confirmed it to theRams.com last August.
To do it again this time around, Robinson switched to a mix of a vegetarian and pescatarian diet and gets his protein through supplements – all to eat "as clean as possible." He also gave up carbs and "anything fried," hired a new chef to cook his meals, started doing pilates and yoga, and took a closer look at his recovery process.
Robinson gives himself a cheat meal – meaning an indulgent one that normally wouldn't fit the parameters of his diet – such as chicken "here and there" when he hangs out with friends, but he said he really doesn't want to do that all the time.
He started seeing results in March.
"I wanted to be the best for these guys," Robinson said. "I'm not going to go around here and just slack and let any of these guys down. I don't want to let AD (Aaron Donald), Bash (Sebastian Joseph-Day), Greg (Gaines), Coach Henny and them down."
The transformation was first revealed by fellow Rams defensive lineman Sebastian Joseph-Day, who said during his June 1 video conference that Robinson showed up to organized team activities looking "thinner" and "more explosive."
"A'Shawn's doing a great job," Joseph-Day said. "A'Shawn's transformed his body. Lost weight, toned up. He's locked in, man. He's really locked in."
Listed at 6-foot-4 and 330 pounds based on last year's biographical information, Robinson said his goal is to reach the 300- to 305-pound range heading into the upcoming season. That weight would be much closer to the 307 he recorded at the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine, and lighter than the 315 pounds he played at during his final season at Alabama (2015).
In that final season playing for the Crimson Tide, he tied with safety Eddie Jackson for fifth-most tackles on the team with 46, also chipping in 7.5 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, 10 QB hits, two pass breakups and a blocked kick.
Meanwhile, he delivered arguably his most productive season as a pro – 53 total tackles (four for loss), six QB hits, six pass breakups, an interception returned for a touchdown and a forced fumble while starting all 16 games for the Lions in 2017 – while playing at 322, according to a Lions weekly release from that season. In other words, a lighter playing weight has led to positive results on the field.
The Rams will need that production this year, especially with defensive linemen Michael Brockers and Morgan Fox departing this offseason ahead of a season with Super Bowl aspirations. If they receive it, both they and Robinson will be on their way to accomplishing their goals.
"I don't want to let anybody down on this team," Robinson said. "It's just me doing my job for the team, so everyone else can do their job."