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Sorely Missing Speed, Redskins Aim To Increase Aldrick Robinson’s Role

By ZAC BOYER

zboyer@freelancestar.com | @ZacBoyer

(Originally posted 11/1/12, 2:01 p.m.; Updated 11/1/12, 5:12 p.m.)

ASHBURN – As Pierre Garçon continues to miss time because of an injured toe and Fred Davis is out for the rest of the season with a torn left Achilles’ tendon, Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan said the team will increase Aldrick Robinson’s role as soon as Sunday against Carolina to provide the offense with another fast receiver.

Robinson

“He’s going to get some more playing time,” Shanahan said, “and as you have guys who get hurt, these guys have to step up.”

Garçon was signed by the Redskins in the offseason to serve as their top receiver, but he’s only played in parts of three games. The coaching staff valued the receiver for his speed, but also his ability to pick up yards after the catch.

Davis’ size, at 6-foot-4 and 247 pounds, instantly made him a threat on intermediate routes, but the quickness in which he could get to the middle of the field and defenders’ difficulty in bringing him down had provided the Redskins with significant mismatches.

Robinson, in his second season out of SMU, stepped in for Garçon for much of the first two games after the Redskins’ top receiver was injured in the first quarter of the opener at New Orleans. He finished that game with four catches for 52 yards and a touchdown, then had two catches for 40 yards before being slowly phased out of the rotation.

“I dropped a pass and missed a couple blocks, so I looked a little average,” Robinson said, referring to a drop on a fly route in the fourth quarter of a 31-28 loss at St. Louis. “It wasn’t a very good game for me.”

Robinson played 66 snaps against the Saints, 30 against the Rams and 15 the following week against Cincinnati before he sustained a concussion Sept. 30 at Tampa Bay in a pregame collision with strong safety Brandon Meriweather.

When he returned, he played no more than 10 snaps over the next three games, finally breaking that spell by taking the field for 14 plays in a 27-12 loss at Pittsburgh on Sunday.

The only pass thrown to him by quarterback Robert Griffin III fell incomplete in the end zone early in the fourth quarter, though replays showed Pittsburgh cornerback Keenan Lewis was holding Robinson’s left arm as Robinson tried to slide to make the catch.

“I was pleased against Pittsburgh,” Shanahan said. “They knew he had some great speed and we ran that stutter-and-go, and he had that ball. If he wasn’t interfered with, the guy didn’t have an arm bar and just bring that hand down, he still almost caught it. That showed me a lot right there. There were another couple of routes that he ran that I was really impressed with, so he will get some more playing time.”

Washington kept Robinson on its practice squad for most of last season after drafting him in the sixth round. He was signed to the active roster for the final game, but was inactive.

Leonard Hankerson has replaced Garçon at split end and played the most snaps of any receiver this season, while Joshua Morgan has been the top flanker and Santana Moss has been in the slot.

“I’ve just got to take a better approach at it,” said Robinson, who has eight catches for 114 yards through the first eight games. “I’ve got to be well-prepared and I’ve got to be ready when a play presents itself this Sunday.”

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