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Open Locker Room: Allen Robinson ready for return


JACKSONVILLE – Allen Robinson's smile Monday was wide and it was real.

That's because while his offseason and training camp was far from what he wanted, his timing for a return may actually turn out pretty good.

Robinson, the Jaguars' rookie wide receiver who missed much of training camp and the entire preseason with a hamstring issue, practiced Monday and is expected to play in the 2014 regular-season opener in Philadelphia Sunday.

Robinson, a second-round selection, likely will be limited Sunday, but as Robinson sees it, limited is a lot better than not at all.

"This is what I've been waiting for, to come back healthy," Robinson said Monday as the Jaguars began preparing to play the Eagles in the 2014 regular-season opener at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Sunday at 1 p.m.

After missing much of the offseason with the hamstring issue, Robinson practiced the first week of training camp before reinjuring the area on July 31. He missed all four preseason games.

"I'm definitely excited," Robinson said. "It's a patience thing. A hamstring is something you have to be patient with, and you have to take care of. That's the hardest thing, watching those guys bust their butt every day and not being able to be out there with your team."

Robinson's return Sunday would give the Jaguars their entire receiving corps for the first time since training camp began. Whatever his status, it's a young, five-receiver group, with Cecil Shorts III entering his fourth season, Mike Brown entering his second and Robinson, Marqise Lee and Allen Hurns all rookies.

"We feel like we have some talented guys," Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley said. "Now, we're definitely in a race to maturity with those guys to get them reps, especially Allen (Robinson). We'll have to bring him back slowly, though. He may get some reps in different situations in the game. …"

Robinson, the No. 61 overall selection in the draft, caught 97 passes for 1,432 yards and six touchdowns last season for Penn State. He is a big, physical receiver who during his brief time on the field in the offseason and training camp showed good hands and the ability to use his body to make plays.

"He missed a lot of time," Shorts said, "but he has a good head on his shoulders. He has to understand it's a process. Success is a process. There will be bumps in the road, but he's a good player. We picked him at sixty-one for a reason.

"He was having a very good training camp before he went down. It's going to come back to him. He's just got to stay focused and continue to get better, continue to fight. It will be difficult. There might be some rhythm stuff off, but I think he'll be good to go."

Robinson said he took as many mental repetitions as possible while injured.

"I felt pretty good out there today," Robinson said, adding, "I've got to be ready when my number is called. Staying ready, that's my whole thing. When my number is called, I'm going try to be ready to make some plays when I can."

Also around the Jaguars Monday:

*Bradley discussed the difficulty of this past weekend, when the Jaguars trimmed the roster from 75 to 53 players to reach the regular-season roster size. "It's never an easy weekend of what we went through," Bradley said. "It's always difficult to talk to guys that have put in so much. You feel like they got better. They were trying to be the best they can be. They were competing. Then to tell them that we don't have a spot for them is tough." Bradley said he met with all released players face-to-face except one player who was out of town. …

*Bradley said the Jaguars began some early work on Philadelphia Monday, including in practice a period in which the coaches introduced some of the Eagles' offense, defense and special teams. "That was good," Bradley said. …

*Bradley said the team's turnover margin was perhaps the biggest positive of the preseason, and something that will continue to be a focus in the regular season. The Jaguars finished the preseason with a plus-4 turnover margin. "We took care of the ball and we got the ball," Bradley said. "The turnover margin was a big plus for us. It's one thing to talk about it, to show it, to show pictures and emphasize it every day, but to see it come to life like it did in the preseason, I think that's very good. If you can be on the plus end of that, it bodes well for you. That was a good sign."

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