Why new Rams receiver Allen Robinson needs work in joint practices with Bengals

During the last five months, Allen Robinson and other new or young Rams receivers worked to build rapport with quarterback Matthew Stafford.

There were several hurdles.

Because of tendinitis in his right elbow, Stafford did not throw passes during offseason workouts or minicamp. In training camp at UC Irvine, coaches and trainers limited Stafford’s workload. Plus, coach Sean McVay holds Stafford and other key players out of preseason games.

Joint practices with the Cincinnati Bengals on Wednesday and Thursday in Cincinnati will be the first time Robinson will work with Stafford against an opponent other than Rams’ defensive backs.

“To actually be out there and have the opportunity to run through some of that stuff will be fun,” Robinson said Monday after practice.

Robinson, a ninth-year pro, was signed by the Rams to start alongside star Cooper Kupp and third-year pro Van Jefferson.

Jefferson had knee surgery this month and is not expected to be available for the Sept. 8 opener against the Buffalo Bills at SoFi Stadium. That means Ben Skowronek, Tutu Atwell, Jacob Harris, Brandon Powell and, possibly, undrafted free agent Lance McCutcheon must help fill the void.

Robinson, who has eclipsed 1,000 yards receiving in a season three times, went through joint practices when he played for the Jacksonville Jaguars and Chicago Bears.

Practices with the Bengals will afford Robinson opportunities to expand his understanding of the Rams’ offense — and react to a different defense.

“Just continuing to try and learn and figure out and fine-tune some of the nuances … and some of the intricacies within certain things that we’re doing,” he said.

The goal is for Stafford and Robinson to establish “good rapport,” McVay said.

“Being able to establish their communication, their connection,” McVay said, adding, “sometimes, the best things that can occur are, ‘all right, stay within the structure of what we’re trying to get done, but where they put their own ownership on it.’ ”

McVay pointed to the communication and success that Stafford and Kupp have achieved. Last season, Kupp led the NFL in catches, yards receiving and touchdown catches. He was voted the league’s offensive player of the year.

Stafford’s ability to connect with receivers and “see it through their lens” will help Robinson in the practices against the Bengals, McVay said.

“That communication between those two guys and that experience will help hone it in so we that we can be as sharp as possible,” for the season opener against the Bills, McVay said.

The status of other starters for the joint practices will be determined in the next two days.

Cornerback Jalen Ramsey and inside linebacker Ernest Jones did not practice Monday because of what McVay described as “a stomach bug.” Offensive lineman Coleman Shelton did not participate because of a “lower extremity” issue, according to McVay.

Running backs Cam Akers and Darrell Henderson remained out because of what McVay has described as soft-tissue injuries.

“Those guys want to be out here,” McVay said. “We want them out there and they need to be able to get out there and get the work, but not at the expense of setting themselves back even further.

“It truly is kind of a day-to-day thing with them.”

Rookie Kyren Williams has been taking first-team reps in place of Akers and Henderson.

Rams running back Kyren Williams will see plenty of action in practices and in a preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

(Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)

“When you’re around guys like Cooper Kupp, Matthew Stafford and Allen Robinson, you don’t want to mess up,” said Williams, a fifth-round draft pick from Notre Dame. “They rarely mess up, so when you do, it’s evident. … So, it keeps me on my toes to make sure I’m doing everything right.”

Williams began training camp on the physically unable to perform list while recovering from foot surgery. He was activated near the end of training camp but has not played in a preseason game.

Williams will participate in practices against the Bengals and will play in the final preseason game between the teams Saturday, McVay said.

“Every single day of practice to me is like a game,” Williams said. “I’m staying locked in in all phases. … So when my number’s called, I’m ready to go on there with no drop off.

“Come Saturday I hope to get in there and just be me.”

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