With his 45-yard touchdown catch in Sunday’s win over the Chicago Bears, second-year wide receiver Aldrick Robinson took a step toward redemption after several weeks of relative inactivity.
Coming off of a 2012 season in which he recorded 11 catches for 237 yards and three touchdowns, Robinson entered the season as Pierre Garcon’s primary backup at the ‘X’ receiver position. Robinson played 22 snaps in the season opener but didn’t record a catch on two targets. His snap counts dropped to 10 and 11 in the next two games, respectively, and during that span, Robinson recorded only one catch for 13 yards.
The 5-foot-10, 181-pound speedster had the prime opportunity to play the hero role in the Week 3 game against Detroit. But he couldn’t secure a 57-yard bomb from Griffin that would’ve put Washington up late in the fourth quarter.
Robinson played only five snaps in the following game, and seven against Dallas. He saw his action increase to 12 snaps against Chicago, and his best play wound up being the touchdown — a play that wasn’t even designed for him. Robinson was supposed to be a deep-threat decoy to clear out the middle for Josh Morgan on a crossing route underneath. But Griffin saw Robinson get past cornerback Charles Tillman and took advantage.
Generally, Robinson’s main role has been to either serve as the big-play deep threat, or to serve as the decoy. After the game, Griffin said that the Redskins need to find more ways to get Robinson on the field so they can capitalize on his abilities, and so it’s less obvious what the team’s plans are.
Coach Mike Shanahan agreed, but added that for now, getting Robinson more playing time is easier said than done.
“We’ve got a lot of belief in Aldrick, and he does have some big-play capabilities. We need to get him in the ball game a little bit more,” Shanahan said. “Pierre has been playing well, so you don’t want to take Pierre out of the game too often, but you do want to give him opportunities to make some plays like he did [against Chicago].”
Garcon has 40 catches (fourth in the NFC) for 466 yards, so Robinson isn’t likely to overtake him for snaps.
However, Robinson said after the game that he is ready for whatever opportunities come his way.
But for now, he’ll have to display better effectiveness and versatility in his route-running skills. Because of his lack of size, he struggles to shield defenders from the ball on slant routes. He also is still getting a feel for defenses and how to effectively run a variety of routes.
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● An Outsider post from Mark Bullock.
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