The Jacksonville Jaguars lost left tackle Cam Robinson to a knee injury in the 24-21 win over the Houston Texans in Week 12. Tests on Monday revealed that the injury isn't as serious as originally thought. Per Ian Rapoport of NFL Media, Robinson's recovery time will be within three to six games, so he could potentially return in time for the playoffs barring a setback.
Head coach Doug Pederson told the media Monday that Robinson would undergo testing. He also talked about the void his absence would lead up front but later added that Walker Little is ready to step up at left tackle.
"He's obviously a big part of that offensive line," Pederson said. "It's been great after his suspension to get back in there and he does bring a lot of energy and level of physicality to the offensive line. He's been a really bright spot there. If he can't go obviously, we're still good. Just like you saw yesterday, Walker Little bounces back out to left tackle. And really, my hat's off to him and Ezra [Cleveland] both."
"Extremely loud environment on the road, Walker got very few tackle reps during the week, has to bounce out there and play tackle, and Ezra has to go in and play left guard. Hats off to both of those guys for what they did. But again, if Cam can't go, it's a loss but at the same time, we feel comfortable with the guys stepping up," Pederson said.
Robinson returned to the team in Week 5 after serving a four-game suspension for violations to the league's performance-enhancing drug policy to start the 2023 season. Since the former Alabama standout returned to the lineup, the offensive line has gotten much better.
The Jaguars have a good replacement for Cam Robinson in Walker Little
Missing a starter is never ideal but the Jacksonville Jaguars are in a position to overcome Robinson's absence, regardless of how long it is. Walker Little, a second-round pick in 2021, filled in for him during his suspension and did a pretty good job.
When Robinson came back from his suspension, Little moved to left guard. Although he struggled to get a hold of the position at first, he played much better the past two weeks.
It will be interesting to see how things played out during Robinson's absence. While Walker Little provided stability at left guard the past three games, he's a natural fit at left tackle and probably has a bigger ceiling than Robinson. He'll enter a contract year in 2024, and if he performs well the rest of the season, the Jaguars will have a hard time justifying not giving him an extension.
While Robinson is a good left tackle, he's set to count $21.63 million against the cap next year. The suspension voided all the guarantees on the contract, so Jacksonville could release him and free up $17.75 million with $3.88 million in dead money. They could then use the savings to either extend Little or give a multi-year extension to someone like outside linebacker Josh Allen.
It's never pleasant to see a player go down with an injury. The silver lining is that Cam Robinson's injury isn't of the season-ending variety, and the Jags have an outstanding replacement in Walker Little.