Who's to blame for Allen Robinson's disappointing start with the Rams?




Allen Robinson dives but can
Allen Robinson dives but can't make the catch in the end zone in front of Falcons cornerback Darren Hall in Week 2. The new Rams receiver has had a disappointing start to the season. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)  

He's been the forgotten man in the Rams offense.

Coach Sean McVay and general manager Les Snead signed receiver Allen Robinson ostensibly to be a complement to star receiver Cooper Kupp.

That's not how it's played out for Robinson or the Rams through roughly a quarter of the season.

While Kupp has 54 targets and 42 catches - both league highs - Robinson has only 18 targets and nine catches for an offense that only has demonstrated consistency in not establishing a rushing attack and struggling to score touchdowns inside the 20-yard line.

The Rams play the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday after not scoring any touchdowns in a 24-9 defeat to the San Francisco 49ers.

Robinson, a ninth-year pro, has remained consistent in response to questions about his role.

"Just trying to do what's asked of me so, again, when my time comes, I'm going to try to make the most of those opportunities," he said Thursday. "That's the only thing I can control."

During the offseason, the Rams gave Robinson a three-year contract that includes more than $30 million in guarantees, according to overthecap.com. Then they traded receiver Robert Woods to the Tennessee Titans.

Based on the 6-foot-2, 210-pound Robinson's versatility and production history, the Rams believed he was an upgrade.

Rams receiver Allen Robinson II fights off 49ers cornerback Charvarius Ward while running a pass route.
Rams receiver Allen Robinson II fights off 49ers cornerback Charvarius Ward while running a pass route.  

Robinson eclipsed 1,000 yards receiving once during his four seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars and twice during four seasons with the Chicago Bears. He had 151 or more targets twice with the Jaguars and twice with the Bears.

But so far, McVay has not found an effective way to meld Robinson into an offense that has featured Stafford, Kupp, tight end Tyler Higbee and not much else.

After Robinson got only two targets in the season-opening loss to the Buffalo Bills, Stafford connected with Robinson on four of five targets, including a short touchdown pass, in a victory over the Atlanta Falcons.

In a victory over the Arizona Cardinals, Robinson had two catches but let an almost certain touchdown pass go between his hands. He had two catches on five targets against the 49ers.

When asked why it has been such a struggle to spread the targets and get Robinson involved, McVay said this week that "it's just kind of been a struggle overall."

"A lot of what ends up determining where the ball goes is based on what the defense plays," McVay said, adding, "a lot of it's out of his control."

Stafford said this week that he could do "a better job" finding Robinson and getting the ball to him earlier in games.

Robinson is "doing a great job of just play in, play out doing his job and understanding that those opportunities will come," Stafford said.

Last season, Kupp won the so-called triple crown by leading the NFL in receptions, yards receiving and touchdown catches.

He said it was natural for Robinson to want the ball more.

"Because he's a competitor, he wants to have the ball just like everyone does," Kupp said. "That's what makes him great. ... He's doing everything coaches have asked him to do, and in this offense, I think opportunities are going to come around.

"It's just the way things have gone sometimes, and I know he's going to keep working and we're going to find ways to get him the ball."

It is the coaching staff's job to "make creative decisions" to get Robinson and others the ball in an offense that also features Kupp, offensive coordinator Liam Coen said.

"You're going to actively take your triple crown winner and say he's not going to be the primary [option] on some things, and you have to be OK with that," said Coen, who described getting Robinson more involved as "a work in progress."

Whether he is the primary option or not, Robinson said he would be ready when called upon.

"For me, it's just about going out there and doing whatever is being asked," he said. "Again, I mean that's all I can do."

Etc.

Offensive lineman David Edwards (concussion) was a full participant in practice, according to the Rams injury report. Cornerback David Long (groin) and safety Taylor Rapp (ribs) were limited.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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