Left tackle Cam Robinson is expected to miss three to six weeks after suffering a knee injury in the 24-21 win over the Houston Texans. While the Jacksonville Jaguars will miss his leadership and the intensity he brings to the football field, Walker Little is ready to fill the void.
Robinson has become a leader of the Jacksonville offensive trenches, so not having him in the lineup, regardless of the amount of time, stings. Doug Pederson acknowledged as much when he spoke to the local media earlier this week. However, Pederson also noted Friday that Walker Little will be right at home when he steps in at left tackle in Week 13.
"It's a credit to Walker, he's bounced around the offensive line this year," Pederson said. "It's not easy to play offensive line in this league. But I think for him his natural position is the tackle spot, so there's a lot of familiarity out there. It's just a matter of a different stance here, a little bit more on an island, there's spaces greater than playing at the guard spot, so getting used to that, in practice will help us."
Little was the starting left tackle in the opener but got bumped inside when Cam Robinson returned from a four-game suspension to start the season. He suffered an MCL injury in Week 5 and missed the next three games. The former Stanford Cardinal moved back to left tackle when Robinson got hurt against the Texans.
A second-round pick in the 2021 draft, Little has experience playing on both edges, having competed with Jawaan Taylor for the right tackle job last year. His natural position, as Doug Pederson said, is left tackle but having Robinson in the mix hasn't allowed him to play there full-time. Still, the coaching staff didn't want to keep Little on the sidelines so they had him line up at guard to provide stability at the position.
The Jaguars need to give Walker Little a chance to remain at left tackle beyond 2023
So far this season, Walker Little has given up just one sack and 11 total pressures. Cam Robinson is expected to return for the playoffs, and there's a chance that he'll get his job back. That said, the team's brass will probably make an assessment of the position during his absence.
Robinson's suspension voided the guarantees on his contract. He's set to make $21.6 million in 2024 but the Jaguars could create $17.75 million with ·3.8 million in dead money if they release him or trade him next offseason. Meanwhile, Little's rookie deal runs through 2025, so the Jags would have an affordable alternative to Robinson for at least one more year.
Replacing Cam Robinson's leadership may be hard to pull off, but the Jacksonville Jaguars at least have a more than capable replacement in Walker Little. It's never pleasant to see a player miss time with injuries but the Jags are in a position to overcome Robinson's absence what's left of the season.