The trick is to see a change in training camp, once the pads are on and the practices more intense. When the Redskins reach that point, maybe Aldrick Robinson will feel the same way he does now: confident. And fast.
Robinson could be one of the more intriguing players to watch this summer if only because the speedy receiver never looked all that fast last summer. Will a year in the offense and a legitimate offseason make a difference? He’d better hope so. And, for now, he says it has made one.
“It’s a big difference,” Robinson said. “I came out here last year and I didn’t know the plays and I didn’t know where to line up. I couldn’t let my talent show. Now that I know the offense I can compete now. I can show my speed. I can run routes faster. I can be a better-paced guy.”
Robinson admitted he didn’t play as fast as he wanted to last summer. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.43 seconds at the combine in 2011, but too often he failed to get past defensive backs on routes in practice.
“I wasn’t able to show my speed," he said. "That’s my main attribute. That’s the one thing that puts me above others, now that I know the offense and I’m comfortable with it I can show my speed, get in and out of breaks and catch the ball.”
The Redskins kept him around because of that speed – that speed is why they didn’t want him to sign with Jacksonville off the practice squad and instead promoted him. They also worked with him on catching punts, something he struggled to do last training camp.
It’ll still be tough for Robinson, especially if the Redskins keep Santana Moss. Anthony Armstrong, who plays a different role on offense, nonetheless takes a roster spot. If the Redskins keep six receivers, including Moss, then Robinson has to beat out Terrence Austin and Brandon Banks. All three can play in the slot if need be and on special teams.
His coach at Southern Methodist University, June Jones, called this a big year for Robinson.
“When Mike [Shanahan] and I talked what I told him is that Aldrick has world class speed and it will start to show up with the more confidence he gets and the more he knows what he’s doing,” Jones said. “This is the year that he has to really step up and do it… I thought he would be better at the pro level, moving him around and putting him in the slot. We only played him outside. But I think he’s a really smart kid and he has the speed you can’t coach. I would think this is the year he either takes it to the next level or they look for someone else.”
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