When the Detroit Lions traded for former second-overall draft pick Greg Robinson, he was immediately expected to come in and compete for the left tackle job left open after Taylor Decker’s injury. But that’s not how it started out.
Robinson started training camp on the Non-Football Injury (NFI) list. Though he was removed before the start of practices on Sunday, Robinson didn’t participate in team drills for the first few days of camp. However, for the past two practices, Robinson has earned himself a handful of reps with the first-team offense, splitting time with free agent addition Cyrus Kouandjio.
“He’s a really good athlete,” head coach Jim Caldwell said after Wednesday’s practice. “I would not suspect it to take long to be able to get the techniques and fundamentals down.”
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Watch LIVE as Jim Caldwell speaks after the fourth day of #LionsCampPosted by Detroit Lions on Wednesday, August 2, 2017
Caldwell’s endorsement matches what former Lions offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz wrote about Robinson after Detroit made the trade:
The Lions offensive line philosophy is simple and precise. There aren’t lots of drills, and the drills they do have are concise with a purpose. In my best season, 2013 in Kansas City, I played under the same system. I can’t rave about it enough. There is no overcoaching; no useless techniques taught. This will all benefit Robinson in the both the run and pass game.
While Robinson is starting to see an increased role in practice, Kouandjio will be a serious competitor for the starting job. As the backup with the Buffalo Bills in 2016, Kouandjio started five games at left tackle, giving up just one sack and no additional quarterback hits, according to Pro Football Focus. Kouandjio, too, has been getting a fair share of reps with the first-team offense.
But Robinson brings with him a unique set of athletic tools. “He’s one of the better athletes that you’ll find at that position,” Caldwell said. “There’s probably not a whole lot, from an athletic standpoint, that he can’t do. He can bend his knees, he can move, he’s big, he’s strong. I think he can adapt and adapt very well.”
Robinson won’t have that much time to adapt, as the Lions’ first preseason game is just 11 days away.