Growing up in Detroit, Allen Robinson watched a parade of Lions quarterbacks come and go.
In 2009, when Robinson was a junior at St. Mary’s Prep High, Lions picked Matthew Stafford with Pick No. 1 in the NFL draft.
“While watching Detroit Lions football, no one threw the ball even close to how it did in Detroit,” Robinson said.
Thirteen years later, Robinson will be receiving passes from Stafford for the Rams team who are preparing to run for the second consecutive Super Bowl title.
But he will have to wait a while. The Rams, who have been doing off – season volunteer exercises since April, kicked off organized team activities on Monday in Thousand Oaks.
Stafford took snaps but did not throw passes, and probably will not until the training camp opens in July.
Stafford, 34, confirmed he received an injection at his right elbow after the season due to an issue he dealt with during the season.
He was asked on Monday whether he would pass passports during OTAs or minicamps, or stay until training camp in July.
“I don’t know yet,” he said, “still working on it.”
Coach Sean McVay indicated that Stafford is unlikely to submit team drills before training camp.
“The goal, and the process of reflection, was to start to increase that as we get closer to the training camp,” McVay said.
Robinson is the high profile with the receiving corps that has changed since the Rams won the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium. In March, the Rams signed Robinson and veteran Robert Woods traded to the Tennessee Titans. The Rams have offered Odell Beckham Jr. a new contract, but he remains a free agent.
Cooper Kupp, the offensive NFL player of the year, returns to lead a group including Robinson, the third year by Van Jefferson, second year Tutu Atwell, Ben Skowronek and Jacob Harris, and a kick back by Brandon Powell.
Kupp aims to build one of the most historic performances in NFL history. In his fifth NFL season, Kupp won the so – called three – receiving crown by leading the league with 145 catches for 1,947 yards and 16 touchdowns.
Kupp is set to have a $ 18.7 million salary limit this season, according to overthecap.com. With receivers’ salaries rising sharply over the past few months, Kupp is coming up with a contract extension that could make him one of the highest paid players in his job.
Robinson joins the Rams after four seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars and four with the Chicago Bears. He has eclipsed 1,000 yards by getting three times, earning Pro Bowl recognition in 2015.
“Working with A-Rob was incredible,” Kupp said Monday. “It was a lot of fun to have the mental capacity that he is already able to understand, and to be able to interact with him and how he sees the game.”
The versatile Robinson 6-foot-2 is viewed as an elite jump-ball receiver, a controversial catch. Robinson is expected to bring an army across the field to coach Sean McVay, offensive coordinator Liam Coen and Stafford, and especially inside the 20-yard line.
“He has a chance to take our offense to the next level,” Tight leader Tyler Higbee said of adding Robinson.
Robinson used the offseason exercises to get used to the Rams system. He’s building chemistry with Stafford – in the meeting room and in the pulse, if he’s not on the pass – taking side.
“He is a very humble man, even with all that he has achieved in the league,” Robinson told Stafford. “He’s a stand – up man, man, and whenever you play with guys like that, it makes your job a little easier.”
Stafford said: “His professionalism, attention to detail, all of that stuff, fits in perfectly with that group we have and he looks forward to seeing him do his thing.”
Being “cite down” while learning a new system, Robinson said he has not yet experienced the LA moment. He is well versed in the sporting and entertainment landscape of the region.
“My main focus is to make sure I am locked into my task at the moment,” he said. “Some of those experiences will come down the line.”
Jefferson, a third – year pro, knew Robinson: They attended the same high school for two years, even though they were not teammates.
He welcomes Robinson ‘s arrival.
“He has crisp ways, the way he catches the ball, the way he runs after the catch – I think it fits right in,” Jefferson said. “Things are a game I will try to put in my head.”
Jefferson became a rookie in 2020, and increased his production last season, taking 50 passes for 802 yards and six hits.
After taking four passes in the Super Bowl, a Rams executive informed Jefferson on the field that Jefferson’s wife, Samaria, had gone into labor during the game.
“My other two children were with me there, and they were so small they wanted to celebrate more of the confetti,” Jefferson said. “But hey, we had to go.”
Jefferson said he communicated with his wife over FaceTime because she gave birth to their son, Champ.
“It was a crazy experience, but it worked out perfectly,” he said. “My wife was saying all the time, ‘I know the baby will come to the Super Bowl,’ and I was like, ‘Ah, I do not think so.’
“She was right.”
With Kupp, Robinson and Jefferson rooted as the top three receivers, there will be competition for other roles.
Atwell, a second-round draft pick in 2021, seemed to be starting to get comfortable near the middle of the season. He then suffered a shoulder injury at the end of the season against the Houston Texans.
Skowronek, selected in the seventh round in 2021, impressed on special teams and also excelled as a receiver, taking 11 passes for 133 yards.
The Harris 6-5 was drafted as a tight end, but was transitioning to a receiver role when he suffered a knee injury ending the season during a defeat by the Tennessee Titans.
Returnee Brandon Powell is also a receiver.
But the question to come is whether Beckham will sign again with the Rams.
The Pro Bowl player entered the Rams three times in the middle of the 2021 season and was a star during his Super Bowl run. He took two passes for 52 yards and touchdowns in the Super Bowl before suffering a knee injury that required surgery. Beckham is not expected to be ready to play until the middle of the season.
The Rams have offered Beckham a contract, but he is expected to survey the NFL landscape before deciding on his next move.
Regardless, Rams receivers and their teammates are preparing for another potential Super Bowl run. No team came back as a Super Bowl champion from the New England Patriots in the 2004 season.
“You want to experience that feeling again – as often as you can,” Jefferson said. “So I think everyone has that drive to go back to that moment and experience that moment again.”
A look at the main Rams receivers as they embark on organized team action training.
Name, Age, Ht., Wt., Salary Cap Number *
Cooper Kupp, 28, 6-2, 208, $ 18.7 million
He could be the first to receive a triple crown two years in a row.
Allen Robinson, 28, 6-2, 210, $ 4.3 million
Miscellaneous route runner and elite catcher of 50-50 balls.
Van Jefferson, 25, 6-1, 200, $ 1.5 million
Average pro team for the third year – 16 yards per catch in 2021.
Tutu Atwell, 22, 5-9, 165, $ 1.3 million
Opportunity to show he overcame rookie struggles and injuries.
Ben Skowronek, 24, 6-3, 224, $ 846,000
Proved as a rookie that he can be more than a special staple team.
Brandon Powell, 26, 5-8, 181, $ 895,000
Provided special teams were needed, they were pushing in as a pound and a kick back.
Jacob Harris, 25, 6-5, 211, $ 950,000
The second year of pro, drafted as a tight end, is coming from knee surgery.
* Le overthecap.com