EARTH CITY, Mo. -- Perhaps more so than most other rookies around the league, Greg Robinson's rookie season with the St. Louis Rams has been a never-ending crash course. As soon as he learns one thing, it's on to something else.
After taking the first month-plus of the season to earn his way into a starting job at left guard, Robinson was quickly moved to left tackle when Jake Long suffered a season-ending ACL injury Oct. 26 against Kansas City. Though Robinson is more at home on the edge, he's still going to have his share of bumps and bruises along the way.
It doesn't make the adjustment any easier that Robinson is getting his crash course on things like understanding angles and how deep to get before setting in pass protection while going up against the likes of DeMarcus Ware, Tamba Hali and Justin Smith.
Last week's matchup against Ware, who dominated Long in last season's meeting with Dallas, was perhaps Robinson's toughest yet.
"He had quite a battle on his hands," coach Jeff Fisher said. "It wasn’t easy. I know this is going to be a great learning experience for him. I think he was a little disappointed today at some of the things that happened, but as long as he continues to learn from things and become a little bit more patient, he’ll just be fine.”
Certainly, Robinson had his share of hiccups along the way. He was responsible for allowing a sack to Ware that nearly turned into a disaster when Robinson didn't hear quarterback Shaun Hill check to a pass from a run before the snap. When the snap came, Ware ran right past a startled Robinson, who was clearly left stunned by what happened. The miscommunication led to a sack and a fumble, but Hill was able to get the ball back before Denver could pounce.
Beyond that, Robinson had some other issues and wasn't his usual, physical self in the run game.
The good news for all parties, though, is that Robinson is athletic and strong enough to offset some of his shortcomings in fundamentals and communication. Slowly but surely, those areas are coming along just fine.
"He’s getting a lot more comfortable," offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer said. "Obviously, you can teach a couple sets. He’s obviously a great athlete, but I think you watch him fundamentally and how square he’s starting to stay, using his hands. He had a tendency in the past to kind of want to clutch guys and grab them around the outside part of the shoulder pads instead of punching. It’s hard to control and counter a guy when he makes a move."
Like many things, though, the only way to truly learn is to go out and do it.
"The more repetition he does, the (better)," Schottenheimer said. "Again, he’s going against the best each week, normally, but I think he’s done a really good job of holding his own. We expect him to continue to get better. So much is a rhythm and timing with his feet and his punch, things like that. That’s hard to develop with drills. You’ve got to actually go out and do it."