IRVINE — Allen Robinson quickly became a reliable target for Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford with good-enough receptions in the middle of the field.
This was Robinson’s routine for most of the first week of Rams’ training camp, but satisfactory plays didn’t seem right for a player of his caliber. Cooper Kupp had the “wow” plays while Robinson battled for his receptions against a feisty rookie cornerback in Derion Kendrick.
But it didn’t take long for Robinson to produce his own wow plays. They came in a variety of bunches over the past two weeks, from jump balls in the end zone to first downs on comeback routes to one-handed catches on the perimeter. And it didn’t matter if it was Stafford or backup quarterback John Wolford making the passes.
The hype is real on the Rams’ offensive prize from free agency, but catching everything in his vicinity during camp practices doesn’t mean much for Robinson.
“I have high expectations for myself, although those things are good, you definitely enjoy them and embrace them, but not to get too hyped about stuff like that,” Robinson said. “It’s training camp. We’re trying to make each other better.”
Robinson’s early mistakes occurred partly because it was a week of many firsts, including his first time catching passes from Stafford in a team-organized practice. Errors occurred amid the modest plays and Kendrick, the sixth-round draft pick from Georgia, benefited from the acclimation period between Robinson and Stafford. It was a feel-out week but don’t tell Robinson that.
Robinson, 28, didn’t want to hear the circumstances of this being his first training camp with the Rams and gave Kendrick his full credit for making a handful of plays against him. Robinson declined the excuses – he was the same way with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Chicago Bears.
But Robinson didn’t credit Kendrick for his dominant surge, which has featured several plays versus the rookie, including a leaping grab over him during Monday’s practice. Robinson said that practicing alongside Kupp has given him an increase in motivation.
“When you have a person like Cooper Kupp on the other side and seeing him make plays and things like that, that definitely picks you up as a player to want to make plays,” Robinson said. “You want to make those difficult plays because you’re seeing your teammates straining to make those plays and you want to do the same thing.”
Look ma, one hand. 👋
— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) August 4, 2022
The 6-foot-2 Robinson set the bar high for himself, despite erratic surroundings with subpar quarterback play during his first eight seasons in the NFL. He’s OK with fans and pundits expecting more because he usually delivers and that’s what he did after the first week of camp.
Perhaps it’s unfair to constantly expect more from one of the most productive wide receivers in the NFL since Robinson entered the league in 2014. But he’s coming off a down season with only 410 receiving yards and one touchdown in 12 games for the Bears in 2021 and that might be why he didn’t have a high market in free agency.
The three-year, $46.5 million contract that Robinson signed in March is starting to look like a bargain for the Rams, especially after several star wide receivers cashed in this offseason.
Robinson’s average annual salary ranks 24th among wide receivers with $15.5 million, according to OvertheCap.com. He’s certainly playing better than a top-24 wideout this summer.
“Being here in L.A., I got everything that I wanted,” Robinson said. “I’m more than pleased and overjoyed with that decision that I’ve made. I’ve been able to have a productive spring, a productive training camp, and I’m continuing to push myself for that productivity to be even higher.”
KYREN OFF PUP LIST
Rookie running back Kyren Williams was activated from the physically unable to perform list and participated in his first training camp practice Monday morning.
Williams, who broke his foot in June, dressed in full uniform and joined his teammates for individual drills, but he stood on the sideline for the 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 periods.
“He’s making good progress,” Rams coach Sean McVay said of the fifth-round pick from Notre Dame. “We’re just going to take it a day at a time. He was able to participate in individual stuff and looking forward to seeing his workload incrementally increase.”
Wide receiver Warren Jackson was also activated, leaving safety Quentin Lake as the lone player on the PUP list. Linebacker Travin Howard remains on the non-football injury list.
PART OF THE PLAN
Stafford had a scheduled day off from throwing. The plan is for him to throw Tuesday for individual drills and the 7-on-7 period.
“Part of the plan,” McVay said. “He’ll work tomorrow and you’ll see him do a similar workload to what he did last week.”
Stafford has had a reduced workload with days off mixed in, as he and the team continue to monitor the elbow soreness in his throwing arm.
OTHER CAMP NOTES FROM MONDAY
Outside linebacker Leonard Floyd missed most of practice because he felt something in his “lower half,” according to McVay.
“We’re just being smart with him,” McVay said. “He was feeling a little something in his lower half. We just said, ‘Hey, let’s be smart.’ Nothing to worry about.” …
Second-year wide receiver Tutu Atwell continued his camp surge by recording a handful of dynamic catches. Atwell hauled in a deep pass from Wolford with rookie cornerback Decobie Durant draped over his back. A few plays later, Atwell jumped over two defenders to grab an underthrow deep pass from Bryce Perkins.
McVay said he’s been impressed with Atwell’s camp performances but he wants to see him build off that in preseason games starting against the Chargers on Saturday night. ..
Safety Jordan Fuller, who’s working his way back from an ankle injury, had an impressive interception against Perkins. …
In TV news, the Rams announced that Andrew Whitworth will be a part of the broadcast team for the preseason games. The recently retired left tackle will join ESPN’s Mina Kimes and NFL Network’s Andrew Siciliano in the TV booth.
Now Tutu jumps over two defenders to grab an under thrown deep ball from Perkins https://t.co/x3xIRqGTwZ
— Gilbert Manzano (@GManzano24) August 8, 2022