By now, I hope I don’t even have to type the words, “Don’t overreact to the preseason.” We all know by now that teams that go undefeated in the preseason can go winless in the regular season (twice). The macro outcome of the game is utterly meaningless, no matter what an NFL head coach will tell you.
However, not everything that happens in the preseason can just be thrown away completely. Individual performances are still important, because if your players aren’t winning individual battles during the preseason, it’s probably a good sign they won’t win those same kind of battles during the regular season. I’m talking about a wide receiver not getting open against a corner in man coverage, or an offensive lineman getting beat by a swim move, or a horribly inaccurate pass.
Those kind of things are not heavily impacted by a vanilla preseason scheme, and therefore could be signs of things to come.
So when looking at individual matchups from Friday’s game between the Detroit Lions and Oakland Raiders, there were some players that didn’t exactly meet their expectations. So today’s Question of the Day is:
Who was the Lions’ biggest disappointment in Week 1 of the preseason?
My answer: A’Shawn Robinson.
The Lions defensive tackle situation is hurting, but the presumption going into the preseason was that Robinson may be the one player we don’t have to worry about much. The third-year star from Alabama was expected to take another step this year, especially after being reunited with his college defensive line coach Bo Davis. With only Sylvester Williams and now Ricky Jean Francois aside him, Robinson was expected to anchor the defensive line from the middle and lead the way.
But on Friday night, the Lions got a long look at Robinson’s weaknesses. Robinson was on the field more than any other defensive tackle—which is pretty strange for a projected starter—and he failed to make an impact all night. Raiders quarterbacks enjoyed a clean pocket for the majority of the game, running backs were able to get to the second level with ease, and Robinson would end up finishing the game with just one solo tackle (4 total).
For a second-round pick, Robinson has had a pretty quiet career thus far. That’s to be expected for a player that is supposed to clog more space and isn’t a great pass rusher. But when Robinson isn’t even filling gaps properly, then his entire value is gone. Here’s hoping he was just shaking a little rust off this week and will come back a lot better against the Giants this week.