Drafted by the Redskins in the 6th round of the 2011 NFL Draft, Aldrick Robinson was expected to contribute as a deep threat. He ran a 4.43 40 yard dash coming out of SMU, making him the fastest receiver on the Redskins’ roster. So why did he seemingly disappear in 2011 and only play sparingly in 2012?
The answer is a combination of horrific quarterback play in 2011 (Rex Grossman and John Beck) and missed opportunities, as well as injury, in 2012. In his first career start, he dropped a critical long pass from Robert Griffin III in week 2 against St. Louis that could have helped Washington win the game. Two weeks later, he was injured during pre-game warm-ups in a collision and was not active.
However, when Robinson was healthy and capitalized on his opportunities in 2012, he shined. The most eye-catching aspect of Robinson’s game is his ability to stretch the field. Last season, he caught two touchdown passes longer than 45 yards in back-to-back games. It certainly helps when he has a quarterback who has the ability to make any throw.
In week 11 against Philadelphia, cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha (red circle below) has outside coverage on Robinson (yellow circle), expecting inside help from safety Nate Allen (not in picture).
The double play-action fake (blue circle above) makes Nate Allen think the play is a run.
Allen (number 29, red circle below) is fooled by the play-action fake and stops in his tracks, coming up to stop what he thought would be a run:
Robinson (yellow circle above), uses his speed and is left wide open on his deep post route.
The result? A 49-yard touchdown, with Asomugha at least 10 yards behind Robinson.
This combination of excellent play design and speed puts Robinson in a position to succeed with Robert Griffin III.
Four days later on Thanksgiving against Dallas, Robinson delivered again. On a first-and-15, Kyle Shanahan called a deep pass to Robinson. Brandon Carr (red circle closest to the right side of the picture) was supposed to cover Robinson underneath, with safety help over the top from Danny McCray (other red circle):
An excellent play action fake from Griffin (blue circle above) and an excellent block from fullback Darrell Young (pink circle) allows time for Griffin to throw and for Robinson to get behind the secondary on this play.
The fate of the play is now solely on Robinson to outrun the two defenders. As shown in the photo below, Robinson (yellow circle) splits the two defenders (red circles) and gets behind them:
The white line above is the path of the ball. Griffin delivers the pass on a dime and hits Robinson in stride.
This was the result:
Robinson catches the ball with the two Cowboy defenders chasing him – it was a 68-yard touchdown, giving the Redskins the lead.
Robinson’s speed and route-running ability give the Redskins a legitimate threat down the field. His ability along with RGIII’s rocket arm gives Robinson the opportunity to blossom as a player and burn defenses.
Robinson’s future is bright – he could become a breakout player in 2013. He just needs to stay healthy and make the most of his opportunities. As he did in week 11 last season, he could be torching Philadelphia’s defense come week 1 of 2013 on Monday Night Football.
Photo credits to Fox Sports, NFL Network, and NFL.com.