Rams' Robinson grabs an opportunity

Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Rams wide receiver Laurent Robinson is tackled during Friday's exhibition game against the Falcons. Robinson had five catches for 65 yards in the game.

Seth Perlman
Associated Press

ST. LOUIS -- Laurent Robinson was thrilled to hear he'd been traded to the St. Louis Rams. It appears to be the perfect opportunity for a wide receiver hungry to prove himself yet again.

Rams pass catchers are no-names for the most part following the departures of Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce the last two offseasons. The recognition factor -- or lack of it -- has been even more pronounced in the preseason with Donnie Avery out with a stress fracture.

Into that void steps Robinson, cast aside by the Falcons after totaling five receptions while battling injuries last year. Robinson was the go-to receiver in the second preseason game, catching five passes for 65 yards, and had a 50-yard grab in the preseason opener.

"I've got some drive, a little chip on my shoulder," Robinson said Monday. "I got traded into a good situation and hopefully I can just come out here and keep making plays and show the coaches I can do it."

The Rams exchanged fifth- and sixth-round picks with the Falcons in early April to get Robinson, a third-round pick in 2007. General manager Billy Devaney was in Atlanta when Robinson caught 37 passes as a rookie.

In anticipation he'd be traded, Robinson jotted down several teams. That list included the Rams.

"Billy knew him very well from being in Atlanta, so we were trusting Billy's opinion and it seems to be right," Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo said. "He's done a nice job for us."

Robinson has come a long way since high school in Rockledge, Fla., when the only scholarship offer came from Division I-AA Illinois State. And then only because his stepfather telephoned the coaching staff who had recruited Robinson's brother the previous year and persuaded them to take a look at some game tape.

When the offer came, Robinson said, "Yeah, right away."

Robinson had a school-record 192 career receptions, including 86 with 12 touchdowns as a junior while averaging 133 yards per game. He put up huge numbers against Indiana State with 14 receptions for 292 yards and three scores, and vs. Northern Iowa with 10 catches for 243 yards and three touchdowns.

Injuries limited him to 40 receptions in 2006, but with an 18-yard average and seven touchdowns.

"I started making a lot of plays and the coaches started seeing it and started throwing me the ball a lot more," Robinson said. "I never really thought I was going to make the NFL. I was just playing football and having fun."

Even with Avery, who had 53 catches as a rookie, the Rams have a glaring need at the position. Also in the mix is Keenan Burton, a fourth-rounder last year who had 13 receptions.

Backup quarterback Kyle Boller, who'll get his second straight start on Thursday at Cincinnati in place of injured Marc Bulger, has seen a lot of progress in the no-name corps.

"A lot of guys have stepped up and I think they have a lot of potential," Boller said. "And we still have a long ways to go."

Especially Robinson.

"Laurent's doing a great, great job," Boller said. "He's a guy I feel comfortable with dropping back and knowing he's going to make the play for me."

Noteworthy

* DE Leonard Little sprained his right knee in practice, although Spagnuolo didn't think it was serious.

* Avery and DL Adam Carriker (ankle) participated in individual drills, although neither are expected to play Thursday.

* Spagnuolo said RB Steven Jackson, who has totaled five carries the first two preseason games, might get a "little bit more" work against the Bengals.

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