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Greg Robinson allowed just 1 pressure in solid Lions debut

When Greg Robinson was traded to the Detroit Lions this summer, he instantly became the leader to start at left tackle. Which is a scary proposition.

Robinson, the second overall pick in the 2014 draft, has never been a good offensive tackle. He's never even been average, according to ProFootballFocus. He allowed 40 pressures in 14 games last year, and ranked 70th at the position according to PFF.

That was out of 76 qualifying players.

Now the Lions were asking him to replace Taylor Decker, one of the best rookie linemen in the league from a year ago?

Robinson's early camp struggles did nothing to extinguish those growing concerns about how the Lions were going to keep Matthew Stafford upright and intact. But then he started stringing together some good practices, including in Indianapolis against the Colts.

Then he went out there in the exhibition opener, and in an extended debut, gave the Lions their best hope yet that maybe, just maybe, they'll be able to weather the Decker injury after all.

Robinson allowed just one pressure on 25 pass-blocking reps in the preseason opener, a 24-10 win on Sunday against the Colts. And he didn't allow any QB hits or sacks.

"Solid," coach Jim Caldwell said. "Yeah, he was solid. In terms of first outing within the system, you know, against another team, I thought he did some good things. But he's still got a ways to go."

Robinson expressed similar sentiments. He'll take the performance, especially against the backdrop of his early struggles. But there were some blown assignments to correct as well.

"I take it with a grain of salt, honestly," Robinson said. "It's something I can't take for granted, and honestly, come out every day and work my butt off, and that's really the most important thing. Just because a guy got hurt doesn't mean things will be handed to me. So I got to come out, apply what the coaches are teaching in the room and each day just build.


"Coach grades kind of tough, and it wasn't unexpected. I knew I had a lot I had a lot to clean up. But I played hard."

While the Lions took out most starters after a series or two, Robinson played the entire first half before getting the hook. That allowed him to get some more live reps as he transitions to a new scheme, as well as gave the Lions a better evaluation of exactly where they stand without Decker at left tackle.

He's expected to miss at least the first month of the season with a shoulder injury, and might not return until December. Which means the Lions need something more than a one- or two-game stop-gap at that position.

It's early, but Robinson is starting to look like a guy who could hold the fort until the calvary arrives.

"Honestly, going against another defense helped a lot," Robinson said. "I noticed, 'OK, I know I won't have help here, I got 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 got a lot of building to do."



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Neil S. Schwartz

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