Several Detroit Lions rookies made an impact in their first NFL game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Dwayne Washington turned heads with his 96-yard kickoff return. Jake Rudock commanded the third-string offense pretty well. Even Antwione Williams had a good day, leading the team in tackles.
But not much has been said of the game A’Shawn Robinson had. In fact, not much has been said about Robinson at all. For a draft pick who many labeled as a first-round talent, it’s shocking — and a bit concerning — how little we’ve heard about Robinson so far. However, after looking at the tape of Friday’s game, I don’t think there’s anything to worry about.
Robinson entered the game on Friday midway through the second quarter. While in there against mostly second-team Steelers, Robinson didn’t stand out too much, positively or negatively. Detroit played him in both the three-tech position, between guard and tackle, and the one-tech, between guard and center.
But when the Steelers’ third and fourth team were on the field, Robinson was a man amongst boys. Here’s Robinson overpowering second/third string Steelers guard B.J. Finney. Robinson is second lineman from the bottom:
Robinson has Finney on skates and forces a quick throw from the Steelers quarterback. If he holds it for a half of a second longer, Robinson is taking him down.
When the second half began, Robinson controlled the line. This time as part of the Lions decent run defense for the night:
Just before the snap, Robinson shifts from three-tech to the one. When the ball is snapped, he sends the center on a five-yard trip backwards, right into the running back. As a quick aside, great job by Anthony Zettel escaping the edge and nearly making a play on the back for a loss. Robinson’s penetration forces the back to reverse field, where he’s eventually stopped for no gain.
Then, on the very next play, Robinson again forced his way into the backfield and juuuuuuuust missed batting down the pass:
Robinson barely showed up on the stat sheet on Friday, tallying just one tackle for the night. But his teammates owe some of their stats to his performance, because he made their lives incredibly easier. Take this sack from Zettel late in the game:
Once again, Robinson uses his overwhelming strength to ride No. 64 Cole Manhart — listed as a fourth-stringer — well into the backfield. Robinson, along with Stefan Charles’ brilliant stunt at the bottom of the screen, forces the quarterback up in the pocket and right into the waiting arms of Zettel.
So while progress has been slow with A’Shawn, and he won’t likely get starting reps right away in 2016, there’s no reason for concern. Just wait on it; he’s coming, y’all.