LA Rams: DL A’Shawn Robinson season delay is déjà vu all over again

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

There is a lot of hope and optimism riding on the performance of LA Rams veteran defensive lineman A’Shawn Robinson for the 2021 NFL season. After signing on as a free agent with the Rams in 2020, his debut was tarnished by a bit of bad news. After four NFL seasons without any troubling medical history, Robinson arrived at the LA Rams organization only to be shut down through training camp due to a non-football-related medical condition. That delayed his availability to the team and limited his play to just eight regular-season games.

After a buildup of optimism, his first season was rather underwhelming as he did not have the chance to train with his teammates and spent most of the 2020 season trying to play catchup. His 2020 season resulted in just 111 defensive snaps, less than a third of his least NFL action prior.

2021 was planned to be different. A’Shawn Robinson arrived a much leaner and more determined player than ever. The LA Rams had parted ways with two veterans in DE Morgan Fox and longtime DL Michael Brockers.  In many ways, the door is now swinging wide open for Robinson to walk through and take his place alongside the likes of teammates Aaron Donald and Sebastian Joseph Day.

Only, he won’t. At least not at first. It seems that LA Rams head coach Sean McVay announced that the veteran defensive lineman will be having a minor medical procedure performed on his knee, and will be out for the next few weeks. Since the LA Rams play their first regular-season game within that time frame, it appears that A’Shawn Robinson will not be available to start the season for the LA Rams once more.

Los Angeles Rams
Los Angeles Rams /

Los Angeles Rams

Rams Roster

That may or may not make the job of getting the Rams 53-man roster set up more difficult. If Robinson is indeed out for three or more weeks after August 31st, the LA Rams could opt to assign him to Injured Reserve to start the season, and that would free up another roster spot to carry an additional player, say one of the rising stars of the Rams defense perhaps? The downside to this option remains if he is ready sooner than the month of October, he will be unable to rejoin the team.

On the other hand, if he is expected to return in a game or two, then the Rams may simply carry him on the roster and simply designate him as inactive for any and all game days until he is fully able to participate. Of course, the downside is carrying him on the active roster while he recuperates. And if the original projections are overly optimistic, he could be out a month or more and remain unavailable to the team.

With both Jonah Williams and Eric Banks showing a lot of positive momentum, it seems that it would be a wiser choice to assign Robinson to Injured Reserve for three weeks, allow the two younger players to sink their teeth into the Rams defensive line rotation and see how they do, and then when A’Shawn Robinson is fully ready to participate and has the medical clearance to do so, place one of the two young defensive linemen on the practice squad.

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The Rams need a healthy A’Shawn Robinson to help deliver the production of players who have gone on to play elsewhere. Since that does not appear to be the case out of the gates, then the team must do what is necessary to ensure that someone fills that role who can until Robinson is ready to take the task on himself.