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.’’

Five things learned from Lions’ 24-10 preseason win over Colts

Kerry Hyder suffers ‘significant’ Achilles injury

(Photo courtesy of Detroit Lions.)

It was an impressive debut for a few of the Detroit Lions rookies in the 24-10 win over the Colts in the preseason opener for both teams at Indianapolis’ Lucas Oil Field.

It may become known as Kenny Golladay’s big coming out party.

Remember the Colts were playing without starting quarterback Andrew Luck who is out rehabbing a shoulder injury. He was missed the Colts’ offense just couldn’t get anything going. The Lions led in yardage 336-230.

A win is always a plus in the preseason, but don’t make too much of it. Do I have to remind you that the Lions went 4-0 in the preseason in 2008 and then couldn’t win a regular season game? Didn’t think so.

Here are five things we learned from Sunday’s win:

1. First, the bad news. Kerry Hyder went down in the first quarter grabbing his lower left leg on a non-contact play. He was carted off the field which is never a good sign. After the game, coach Jim Caldwell told reporters Hyder has a “significant” Achilles injury. Caldwell would not say his season is over, but it very well could be. Hyder led the Lions with 8.5 sacks last season. Also linebacker/defensive end Brandon Copeland went out in the second half with a shoulder injury. Overall the defensive line was impressive considering they were missing key elements.

2. Kenny Golladay, the Lions’ rookie wide receiver, lived up to the hype. He’s been solid in training camp and was able to translate it to the field on game day. Golladay had three catches for 53 yards — two of them were touchdowns — in the first half. All three passes were from Jake Rudock. On everyone he used his height (he’s 6-foot-4) over rookie cornerback Quincy Wilson. While Golden Tate, Marvin Jones and TJ Jones started, if Golladay keeps this up he could break the top three. “He functioned well today … That’s one game down and more to go,’’ said Caldwell who was typically cautious about not over-hyping the rookie.

3. First-round pick Jarrad Davis didn’t waste any time, picking up a tackle on the first defensive snap. This isn’t a surprise to those who have seen the middle linebacker at camp. He’s a hard worked and understands the game which helps when calling the defensive plays.

4. Matthew Stafford completed two of three passes for 36 yards and a touchdown. The best news is that he was not injured. Rudock took over for Stafford in the first half and started the second half. Rudock’s numbers were solid — 13 of 21 for 142 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Rookie Brad Kaaya got his first reps and was able to move the ball. He connected with Dontez Ford for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter and finished 8 of 11 for 71 yards. Ford made a terrific play to get in the the end zone.

5. Discipline was a key factor for the Lions who made it through the first half without a penalty and finished the game with just six. Sure, it’s just the preseason but it could be an indication of things to come. Meanwhile the Colts were a little sloppy with 11 penalties.

— BONUS: Defensive end Jeremiah Valoaga, an undrafted rookie out of UNLV, was a standout with five tackles and one sack. … Rookie linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin led the defense with six tackles. … Linebacker Paul Worrilow, defensive end Pat O’Connor, defensive end Alex Barrett and Valoaga each picked up a sack.

Five positions to watch as Lions take on Colts in Sunday’s preseason opener

First chance to see rookies in game situation

After two days of joint practices, the Lions and Colts will face off at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday in the preseason opener for both teams at Indianapolis. (In Detroit, the game will air on FOX 2.)

Typically in this first game, starters might see about a quarter of playing time depending on how the game unfolds.

Here are five positions to watch:

1. Greg Robinson seems to have the edge at left tackle to hold down the position until Taylor Decker is able to return. It’s not a done deal though. Cyrus Kouandijo was also signed to get a look for the left tackle spot. Both are veterans and this battle could continue through the four preseason games.

2. At wide receiver there are plenty of bodies. The Lions could have some tough decisions to make here. Golden Tate, Marvin Jones and rookie Kenny Golladay are locks. Then there’s a bottleneck for the fourth and fifth spots (if they keep five). TJ Jones, Jared Abbrederis, Keshawn Martin and Jace Billingsley have had solid camps so far. TJ Jones has been a bit of a surprise coming up with tough catches in traffic.  Even coach Jim Caldwell is uncertain how many wide receivers they will keep. “It just depends on how many guys are kept at other positions. What we think, you know, we may have some guys that take us above maybe what our normal limit would be in terms of how many we would keep. It changes. There’s a lot of positions involved in that,’’ Caldwell said this week. The number of tight ends could play a factor, same with running backs.

3. Defensive end is another key area to watch. Ziggy Ansah likely won’t play at all since he’s been out with an undetermined injury. That gives the others a chance to go against the Colts’ first unit. Kerry Hyder and Anthony Zettel are listed as starters on the depth chart. Armonty Bryant, who is suspended for the first four games, and Cornelius Washington are next up. Still keep an eye on Alex Barrett (No. 79), the undrafted rookie who has opened eyes in camp. Plenty of tough competition at this spot.

4. Not sure how much we’ll see of Ameer Abdullah, who missed the final 14 games in 2016. He’s looked fine in camp but Caldwell won’t want to take unnecessary risks. Same for Theo Riddick who is coming off surgery on both wrists. Quietly Zach Zenner has had a good camp, especially during goal-line plays. Mike Asiata and Tion Green should get plenty of reps along with Dwayne Washington who was hot and cold as a rookie last year.

5. Jarrad Davis, the first-round pick, has looked good as middle linebacker in camp. It will be interesting to see how that translates to a preseason game. Chances are good it will carry over. Tahir Whitehead will start on the weakside and Antwione Williams on the strong side. Still plenty of time to make changes. Watch rookie Jalen Reeves-Maybin, veterans Paul Worrilow and Nik Bellore, along with Brandon Copeland.

BONUS: Safety Miles Killebrew could come out hitting. Also Teez Tabor plays with a chip on his shoulder so let’s see how it goes in a game situation.