Washington Redskins linebacker Keenan Robinson returned to the field recently after missing all of the 2013 season and the last five games of the 2012 season with injury.
While the former University of Texas star wished he had been on the field battling opposing offenses with his teammates, he used the time away from the field to strengthen his appreciation for the game and improve his understanding of offensive tendencies.
On Thursday, Robinson was a guest on ESPN 980’s “Inside the Locker Room” with Doc Walker and Brian Mitchell.
Early in his chat with Robinson, Walker asked the linebacker how he benefitted from the time away from the field.
“When you’re not playing the game you get to see the game from a different angle, not so much as a fan perspective, but just to see the things you missed on the field, be able to learn certain aspects of the game and where I kind of honed in more on being away from the game, because my appreciation for the game increased, my knowledge of the game increased being able to see the X’s and O’s like a coach (and) a sideline perspective,” Robinson responded.
“Not just things to do with the front seven or things that had to do with the back, but seeing how it works together and the whole aspect of the game and how the offense will try to attack the defense and hit weak spots and different stuff like that.”
While the depth at insider linebacker has created open competition for the starting role that was formerly held by London Fletcher, Robinson said he has no problem stepping into Fletcher’s leadership role by being the one to call out plays.
“I did it my rookie year.” Robinson said. “Obviously I was behind Fletcher so I was the second Mike (linebacker), so whenever he was out, I would come in and do the same thing. Now it’s more a full-time job.”
When on the field, Robinson will be tasked with a variety of physical duties as well. One of the most important will be in coverage as the league progresses more and more pass-heavy.
Using his time at Texas and his currently practice experience lining up against tight end Jordan Reed and defending crossing routes, Robinson said pass-coverage “comes natural” for him.
“When I came to college at UT, that’s a pass-happy league now,” Robinson said, referring to the Big 12’s shift towards more wide-open offensive play. “In Nickel coverage I’d play in the same coverage I’m playing now but it’d be more four-wide stuff. So I was out covering guys like Jeremy Maclin, Dez Bryant—those guys that came out of the Big 12.”
“I was covering them and a lot of time I was covering them on my own. I had a safety over the top, but underneath in the intermediate routes it was just me and him.
“I feel real comfortable doing that; it comes natural for me being long and rangy like I am, and I’m able to run so that kind of helps.”
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