ST. LOUIS (AP) Getting his first NFL start was no game-day surprise for Greg Robinson. Early in the practice week, the St. Louis Rams told the second overall pick in this year’s draft he’d be in there against the San Francisco 49ers.
Now, the guard will try to build on that solid debut.
”When coach (Paul) Boudreau called me to office early that morning early in the week, I thought I was in trouble,” Robinson said. ”I thought I did something wrong and he said, `We’re going to start you.”’
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However, Boudreau asked him to keep the news quiet. He thought it would give the Rams an edge against San Francisco. So there was the former Auburn standout, making his first NFL start at left guard alongside left tackle Jake Long. Across the line from them was Pro Bowl end Justin Smith.
”I was studying them throughout the week,” Robinson said. ”It was just kind of smart on our part and it helped. I really felt prepared well throughout the week.”
The Rams drafted Robinson, who was a tackle in college, over three other linemen who are starting – Jake Matthews at Atlanta, Taylor Lewan at Tennessee, and Zack Martin at Dallas. Robinson saw action in just a few plays on the offensive line in the Rams’ first four games. He also did some special teams work.
It seemed a step back for such a high draft pick. St. Louis selected the 6-foot-5, 332-pound Robinson for his size and ability to run block.
It was frustrating for Robinson to sit and watch but he kept working and eventually replaced Davin Joseph at guard. That shuffled the line. Rodger Safford moved to right guard, where Joseph had been starting in the first four games.
Robinson earned the start, Rams coach Jeff Fisher said.
”He’s come on. He’s progressed over the last few weeks,” Fisher said. ”We had a good week of practice and I thought Greg did good for his first start and he’s only going to get better.”
Joseph said he holds no ill will toward the rookie.
”He’s here to play, and he’s gonna play,” said Joseph, who came to St. Louis as a free agent from Tampa Bay. ”If there’s anything I can do for him, I will do for him. He’s a great player.”
Brian Schottenheimer, the Rams’ offensive coordinator, liked what he saw from Robinson against the 49ers.
”I thought he did pretty good, I really did. You saw a big, physical guy,” Schottenheimer said. ”It was fun to watch him match up with Justin Smith, another big, physical guy. I thought it was winning performance for his first time out there.”
Start No. 2 will come Sunday when the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks visit St. Louis.
Robinson said he realizes he has much work to do.
”After watching the film, there was a lot of good, a lot of bad, and a lot of things I have to learn from,” Robinson said. ”It’s just a start and I plan on getting better and working hard each week.”
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