We are jumping out of alphabetical order in our series of player-by-player profiles, and giving you a bonus second profile today. That's because Keenan Robinson, signed by the New York Giants during the offseason, spoke to the media on Wednesday. That makes this a good time to look at the former Washington Redskins linebacker, so let's do that.
2015 Season in Review
Robinson played in 12 games for the Washington Redskins, starting eight, before a shoulder injury ended his season. Perhaps the shoulder injury had something to do with it, but 2015 was the second consecutive season in which Robinson accumulated poor Pro Football Focus grades against the run.
Keenan Robinson—signed by NYG—finished 2015 as PFF's lowest-graded LB against the run. https://t.co/TlxOs794E3 pic.twitter.com/cWJaXCndMX— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) March 10, 2016
Here is part of what I wrote about the 2012 fourth-round pick when the Giants signed him away from the Washington Redskins as a free agent:
Robinson, who will be 27 next season, is a four-year veteran who has had a Beason-esque run of injuries in his four years. Perhaps that is what attracted the Giants to him. He missed the entire 2013 season with a torn pectoral muscle and has never played more than 13 games in a season. In 2015, a shoulder injury limited him to 12 games and affected him in others.
2016 Season Outlook
Robinson is part of a three-way competition with veterans Jasper Brinkley and Kelvin Sheppard for the starting middle linebacker job. Let's not put fourth-round pick B.J. Goodson in that mix just yet. Robinson revealed on Wednesday that he has also been working at the WILL.
"They've got me playing multiple positions right now— I've been playing Will, weak side linebacker, and middle, so I'm learning two new positions. But for me, it's natural because for Washington the last four years I played MIKE in the 3-4 and I played the WILL in the Nickel defense, so I've done both and I'm very flexible in that way," Robinson said. "It's different a little bit, just because the 3-4 is different— different fundamentals, different technique— and a 4-3 is what you see is what you get. The key behind a 3-4 is never knowing where you're going to send the extra guy from, so it's a little different there, but as far as football, it's all football, so it's all make a play and show up on Sunday."
At the WILL, Robinson would appear to primarily be competing for snaps with 2015 holdovers Jonathan Casillas and J.T. Thomas.
Whether it's MIKE or WILL, Robinson said he believes he can help the Giants in pass coverage, an area where the team's linebackers were constantly exposed a year ago.
"I pride myself on being a well-rounded athlete and a football player," Robinson said. "I've always tried to make sure every area of the game I can contribute and help the team, so I make sure in the offseason that I focus on every individual area as far as coverage, as far as run stopping, as far as being able to run and be athletic, so I think I can help the team in that aspect."
Robinson said he is healthy now after dealing with the shoulder issues a season ago.
"I feel pretty good, man. Coming off of last season, I wasn't as healthy as I wanted to be. I was a little bit banged up," he said. "But transitioning these few months I've had, I feel pretty good, and we'll get to test it out come training camp when we put the pads on."
Robinson said he is beginning to understand enough of the defense to take some of the signal-calling responsibility as the MIKE. He did that Wednesday for the first time.
"Basically from my background and my being in the league four years as a MIKE, I kind of expect to be able to do that and do it well and take control or take command of the huddle. And so, even though I haven't done that up until today, it comes very natural for me," Robinson said.
After four years in Washington, Robinson said "I like where things are going" with the Giants revamped defense and that he hopes the linebackers will be able to "get the scraps" behind what will hopefully be a dominant defensive line.
Can Robinson get on the field to pick up those scraps? Health will have a lot to do with that as he has a long injury history. So will showing the Giants he can contribute from more than one spot. Robinson is part of what seems to be an effort by the Giants to throw lots of veteran players at the linebacker position, stir the pot and see what boils. Only time will tell where he fits.