It’s safe to say Patrick Robinson and the rest of the New Orleans Saints cornerbacks did not have the best of times last season as the position was a major weakness on an overall unit that turned out to have the worst statistical performance in NFL history.
Both veteran corner Jabari Greer and the youngster Robinson were some of those at fault. However, the former (Greer) believes the unit can turn things around next season, and even says Robinson has a chance to be a Pro Bowler (via Larry Holder of NOLA.com):
“That’s the profession that we play and the world we live in,” Greer said. “It’s results driven. As a collective unit as a group, we didn’t have the very best season. P-Rob, Pat is going to be a guy that we’re going to rely on tremendously. He’s one of the most athletic corners and athletic players on our team. He has the potential to be a Pro Bowl-caliber player.
Of course, this is Greer sticking up for his teammate who was equally bad or worse in 2012. As Holder points out in his report, Robinson surrendered the most yards of any cornerback in the league with 1,071.
It’s not a pretty statistic by any means, but Robinson does have what it takes to turn things around. Robinson was the reason the Saints were comfortable letting Tracy Porter walk last offseason after he outplayed Greer down the stretch. There’s nothing to say Robinson can’t get back to that level.
There’s also the Rob Ryan factor. A new defensive coordinator could work wonders for Robinson. Part of his issue last season was not only the defense itself, but the players in front of him struggling to do much of anything. With Ryan’s new 3-4 scheme in place, New Orleans should presumably have a better pass-rush, meaning Robinson won’t have to cover as long as he did last year. The longer a corner has to cover, the more likely they are going to get exposed because no corner can cover forever.
Robinson will also benefit from the addition of former Pittsburgh Steelers corner Keenan Lewis, who projects as the No. 1 corner for the Saints going into next season. This will take some of the pressure off of Robinson and potentially give him easier matchups and assignments.
At the end of the day, Robinson may have what it takes to reach the Pro Bowl. We’re a long way off from that, though. We first have to see how he even fits in the new scheme.