Brian Robinson Jr. was affected person at Alabama. Subsequent up: Commanders’ backfield.


Randy Jordan, the Washington Commanders’ operating backs coach, distinctly remembers the primary time he noticed Brian Robinson Jr. on tape.

The Alabama operating again picked up a blitz so aggressively that Jordan nonetheless smiles and shakes his head when fascinated with it. By the display, it was evident there was a starvation to the Tuscaloosa native who waited 4 years to be the starter for his hometown Crimson Tide — and who now tries to make a press release with each play.

“Poor child,” Jordan stated of the defender. “I imply, he de-cleated him. And I stated: ‘That’s my form of man. That’s my form of occasion.’ ”

Jordan wished to deliver that occasion to Washington. When it got here time to share his listing of draft suggestions with Coach Ron Rivera, Robinson’s identify was on it. Even with Antonio Gibson and J.D. McKissic already providing backfield stability, Washington grabbed Robinson within the third spherical of the 2022 draft, including a bodily, 6-foot-1, 228-pounder to the group.

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Three received’t essentially really feel like a crowd within the Commanders’ operating backs room. In a mirrored image of the running-back-by-committee method that’s rising in recognition throughout the NFL, Robinson has been repeatedly talked about this offseason in tandem with Gibson and McKissic.

Robinson shares Gibson’s explosive model. However whereas Gibson nonetheless embodies the play of a transformed wideout, Robinson is a real operating again.

Offensive coordinator Scott Turner expressed no intention of utilizing Robinson to switch Gibson. However “there’ll be instances the place we’ll play to the new hand,” he stated.

If Robinson has his means, that sizzling hand shall be his. However he is aware of he must be affected person and benefit from his alternatives — classes instilled at Alabama.

In school, he shared the roster with eventual first-round picks Najee Harris and Josh Jacobs, each of whom turned productive rookie starters within the NFL. Robinson’s workload steadily elevated every season, culminating in a fifth yr during which he logged 1,343 speeding yards with a median of per carry.

That starvation to show himself shined via on the large stage when Robinson tallied 204 yards on the bottom in a College Football Playoff beatdown of Cincinnati. That was sufficient for a spot within the Alabama report guide as essentially the most speeding yards in a bowl sport in program historical past.

“If it was taking a small step yearly to get the place I wanted to go by Yr four or 5, I used to be good with that. I used to be coachable,” Robinson stated. “I listened to my coaches. I belief that that plan for me will work out.”

He has an identical view on his scenario with Washington. Robinson’s work at organized group actions and minicamp earned excessive reward from the teaching employees.

“He’s a perfectionist,” Jordan stated. “So he could break off 20 yards, and I’m again there clapping, and I’m like, ‘Nice job.’ He’s pissed as a result of he didn’t go for 40.”

Rivera has complimented Robinson’s footwork and lateral velocity, and the teaching employees appreciates the caliber of opponents Robinson confronted in school. Rivera stated he watched tape of Robinson taking part in Georgia and Auburn to gauge his efficiency in opposition to prime expertise.

Jordan lauded Robinson’s school coaches for getting ready him nicely for the subsequent degree. In his final yr with the Crimson Tide, Robinson labored with operating backs coach Robert Gillespie. His earlier place coach, Charles Huff, is now the pinnacle coach at Marshall.

Ron Rivera is hopeful a Terry McLaurin contract is coming. When? ‘Don’t know.’

With the Commanders, who open coaching camp subsequent week, Robinson joins one other place coach with a stellar status. Jordan has coached Adrian Peterson and Alfred Morris, and he usually reveals Peterson’s tape to Robinson.

“He loves AP, by the way in which,” Jordan stated. “Anytime I put some AP tape on, he lights up like a Christmas tree.”

Throughout minicamp, mentions of Robinson’s identify elicited comparable reactions from a number of teammates, together with guard Trai Turner and huge receiver Dyami Brown. Robinson’s locker is a number of spots away from Brown’s, which the wideout stated allowed them to get acquainted rapidly. In the meantime, becoming a member of the Commanders meant the rookie operating again was reunited with defensive sort out Daron Payne, one among 5 Alabama merchandise on the roster.

“He’s like a bit brother to me,” Payne stated. “He all the time involves me asking me about issues, and I attempt to give him one of the best data that I can. I’m excited to see him run the ball this yr.”

The Alabama connections lengthen additional: One other member of Robinson’s draft class is school teammate Phidarian Mathis, a defensive sort out. When requested for his scouting report on Robinson on the Senior Bowl, Mathis instructed reporters, “It’s like hitting an old-school Cadillac.”

Regardless of leaving Alabama, Robinson nonetheless wears a No. four chain round his neck, a nod to the digit he wore throughout his ultimate two seasons in Tuscaloosa. On the Commanders, that quantity belongs to quarterback Taylor Heinicke. So Robinson doubled it — he now wears No. eight.

It’s a small change for a participant whose profession has been constructed on adjusting to his scenario and taking the teachings as they arrive.

“It’s going to be robust generally,” Robinson stated. “That’s simply why I received to understand the place I got here from. My journey to get right here form of helped put together me for that.”

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