RICHMOND—On Friday, Aldrick Robinson had exactly the type of practice he needs to secure a spot on the Redskins’ 53-man roster.
The fourth-year wide receiver hauled in two long touchdowns passes, one in 7-on-7 drills and the other in 11 on 11s. But now comes the challenging part for Robinson: repeating that kind of effort each day for the remainder of training camp.
“It was good to have a chance to go chase the ball down; that’s what I do best,” he said. “It does wonders for your confidence.”
Then Robinson cut to the core of the conversation.
“Everybody knows I can catch,” he said. “But I don’t always catch the ball. I have to be [more] consistent with that. It’s being consistent in my routes, my hands and getting separation.”
When Robinson got an opportunity late last season because of the injury to Leonard Hankerson, he showed flashes of his potential. In the final four games of a difficult season for the Redskins, Robinson hauled in 12 passes for 213 yards—easily the most productive stretch of his career.
But that was as a Mike Shanahan draft pick on Mike Shanahan-coached team. Now he’s got to prove himself to Jay Gruden.
He’s in the process of doing that, and performances like Friday’s are exactly what he needs. But, like Robinson himself, Gruden also wants to see that level of execution on a more regular basis.
“He’s done well,” Gruden said. “There’s no substitute for speed and he definitely has it. His hands have got to become more consistent. He’s dropped a few here and there, but overall I think Aldrick has had an excellent camp.”
But there’s a difference between having an excellent camp and making the team. To ensure the latter, Robinson will have beat out a crowded corps of receivers that have become increasingly jumbled in recent days.
Pierre Garçon, DeSean Jackson and Andre Roberts are assured of spots. Thirty-five year old Santana Moss has distinguished himself, too. Rookie Ryan Grant has also looked good. After that, you’ve got Robinson, a rehabbing Hankerson, Nick Williams and four others battling for one or two jobs, depending on how Gruden allocates the roster spots.
When Robinson looks around at the competition, he knows he can’t afford a bad day.
“We’ve got a lot of competition out here,” he said. “Everybody’s competing for a job. I’m in that boat. But I can’t worry about the competition. I just have to worry about myself.”
Robinson added: “I’ve been solid,” he said, assessing his camp performance to this point. “I wouldn’t say I’ve been outstanding like I’ve been in previous training camps. But I’m going to try and take the momentum from [Friday’s] practice to the rest of camp.”