Five things to know about Greg Robinson who could start at left tackle

The veteran played the first half Sunday in win over Colts

ALLEN PARK >> In his fourth season in the NFL, Greg Robinson knows how key it is to take advantage of every opportunity.

The left tackle, who was signed by the Lions after Taylor Decker tore his labrum in June, played the first half in the 24-10 preseason win over the Colts on Sunday. It’s unknown exactly how long Decker will be out but he’s expected to miss at least a few games early in the season. Robinson is the likely candidate to start in his place. But it’s not a sure thing just yet.

“I take it with a grain of salt, it’s just something I can’t take for granted, honestly come out every day and work my butt off. That’s the real important thing,’’ Robinson said. “Just because a guy got hurt it’s not like things are supposed to be handed to me, I have to come out apply what the coach is teaching in the room and take that to the field and each day just build.’’

The offensive line protected all three quarterbacks, allowing just one sack of Jake Rudock.

Robinson and Cyrus Kouandijo, who was also signed after Decker’s injury, joined the team just before they broke for several weeks off in mid-June. So both studied the playbook on their own but were thrown in the fire when camp started.

Five things to know about Robinson:

1. Coach Jim Caldwell is cautious with praise at this time of year but had some good things to say about Robinson. “Solid, he was solid,’’ Caldwell said. ”In terms of his first outing within the system against another team, I thought he did some good things. But he’s still got a ways to go.’’

2.  Robinson knows he has improvement to make after watching film of Sunday’s win. “Coach grades kind of tough. It wasn’t as expected. I knew I had a lot that I had to clean up. I played hard,’’ Robinson said. “I felt like when opportunities presented themselves I took advantage of it and that’s the things that really count. We don’t get many plays in preseason games so the opportunity to prove yourself is so critical so just deal with that. I feel confident that I can do that.’’

3. He knew the day before that he would be playing the entire first half on Sunday. “At night I  went to sleep a little early knowing that it wasn’t going to be a series, get my mind right mentally,’’ Robinson said. “I went  over the plays, I focused on things I was struggling with throughout the week and make sure I pounded that in my head so I could be prepared in case the coach called it. I feel my conditioning needs to ramp up a little bit just in case I had to play a little more but I felt good afterwards.’’

4. The 24-year-old Robinson was the second overall pick by the St. Louis Rams in the 2014 draft, but never lived up to expectations. He spent the first three years of his career with the Rams, so moving to a new team has offered challenges. “I would say just mentally things aren’t moving as fast as my rookie year. But I’m allowed to slow the game down a lot on my own, getting on the same page, getting the calls and those type of things. I’m able to  relate to guys when they make certain calls. It gives me a headstart almost,’’ Robinson said.

5. Robinson seemed to have a slow start in training camp but has been slowly trending up as he gets more comfortable. “Yes, honestly going against another defense (the Colts) helped a lot,’’ Robinson said. “When I was in this position and noticed that ‘OK, I’m covered, I won’t have help here, I have to change my footwork’ — a few plays I got downgraded by the coach because of that but I feel like it was just a platform I laid and I’ve got a lot of building to do.’’

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Author: Paula Pasche

Paula Pasche, a veteran sports writer, covers the Detroit Lions for her Lions Lowdown blog. She has written two books, "Game of My Life Detroit Lions" and "100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die" which are available at bookstores and on Amazon.com. She won first place for column writing from the Society of Professional Journalists in Detroit (Class B) in 2011, 2012 and 2013 and was The Oakland Press 2010 Staffer of the Year.

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