JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Jaguars' left tackle position has been in a state of flux since the start of last season.
The spot's stability had never been more unsettled than when veteran Branden Albert decided to abruptly retire prior to the fourth training camp practice on July 31.
Second-round pick Cam Robinson wasn't the favorite to win the job when camp opened, but he is now in the driver's seat. He will be blocking starting quarterback Blake Bortles' blindside for the foreseeable future.
The rookie made the most of his opportunities once Albert left the team. Despite briefly competing with veteran Josh Wells, Robinson took charge of the position from the moment the Jaguars announced Albert's departure.
Robinson started the first three preseason games, offering more positives than negatives. He was a healthy scratch in the preseason finale against the Atlanta Falcons.
His preseason debut featured a strong pass blocking performance. He also protected well during the second preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The lone blemish on the rookie's offseason was an opening drive sack allowed to Carolina Panthers defensive end Mario Addison in the third preseason game. On third-and-13, Addison blew by Robinson to take down backup quarterback Chad Henne.
"Just a technical error on my part," Robinson said this week. "I knew exactly when it happened. [I'll] just correct it and move on."
Robinson has shown maturity during his ascension to the most important position on the offensive line. His three years of starting experience at the University of Alabama have paid off.
While the rest of the offensive line seems to be struggling to find its grasp, Robinson appears to be among the few bright spots. The Jaguars feel like he will be ready for the challenge of facing the Houston Texans on September 10.
Starting a rookie left tackle in Week 1 against the likes of J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus may seem like a fool's errand - and perhaps it is - but Robinson clearly has been the best man for the job since the early days of training camp.
Robinson and his fellow linemen have another week to prepare for their first major assignment. The unit has struggled throughout the preseason as a group, but Robinson believes the continuity and chemistry will come with time.
"Just keep working," Robinson said. "At the end of the day, I think that's the only thing you can do. It's the best thing you can do. Just come in every practice with the same mentality, find out what we need to get better at and just work on it each and every day."
Follow Mike Kaye on Twitter at @Mike_E_Kaye.
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