RICHMOND — Four days into training camp, Redskins linebacker Keenan Robinson is still practicing full out. And that represents a major step forward for the 6-foot-3, 238-pound former Texas standout who’s expected to inherit the signal-calling duties handled so ably these last seven years by London Fletcher, who retired last season.
It was on opening day of camp last season that Robinson, a speedy inside linebacker whom Washington drafted with a fourth-round pick in 2012, injured his left pectoral muscle. The injury sidelined him for the season and was particularly painful because he’d only recently recovered from an injured right pectoral that landed him on injured reserve in Week 12 of his rookie season.
As he launches into his third season with the team, Robinson said he’s eager to establish his durability in the eyes of Coach Jay Gruden, who’s ordering up more contact in the preseason that players were accustomed to under Mike Shanahan.
“They know I can run,” Robinson said of Gruden and his defensive staff. “They know I can cover. The question is, will I be able to tackle? Will I be able to take on blocks? Do the things that I was able to do before injury?”
To make his case, Robinson said he’s totally on board with the idea of putting on pads and tackling full speed often during the preseason.
“You only get better at what you practice,” Robinson said. “And it’s going to help me prove to coaches I’m back to normal, and I won’t have those issues in season.”
Robinson has been lining up in practice at the middle linebacker — or “mike” — position, alongside Perry Riley. As such, he’ll figure in all running plays and make the defensive calls that Fletcher did for so many years.
“I always think, not so much ‘What would London do?’ but what should we do in this situation on the field? How would he react? How would he fill the run? Cover a pass? He showed me lot of things — veteran moves that were very helpful. I can take some of those things and apply it to the game.”
Though he didn’t take a snap last season, Robinson said he did worked on becoming a better player by watching as intently as he could.
“I learned just how to be a professional player, how to learn, mentally how to prepare. I couldn’t get the reps, but I know the plays. As soon as we came back for [off-season workouts], I knew all the plays.”
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