Nov 30, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant (10) is tackled by New Orleans Saints cornerback Patrick Robinson (21) during the first quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports
Since being drafted out of Florida State in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft, it’s safe to say that New Orleans Saints CB Patrick Robinson has seen his fair share of early struggles as a professional football player.
Between injuries and just overall poor play, it’s been a bumpy ride for P-Rob in a Black and Gold uniform. 2014 hasn’t really transformed into anything better for the former Seminole, but the entire defensive unit can be blamed for lack of production this year.
However, when the Saints traveled on the road to Heinz Field this past Sunday to face the Pittsburgh Steelers, we witnessed a solid performance by Robinson, and I must say, it was quite refreshing.
He totaled five combined tackles and a career-tying three passed defended in the Steel City. Two of those deflections should have gone for interceptions, but apparently Patrick likes to soak his gloves in greased lightning as a pregame ritual.
It’s not his athletic ability that holds him back, it’s his lack of confidence, which has been an issue for P-Rob in the NFL. It seems like the early-season demotion that Coach Sean Payton threw at his struggling conrnerback was a wake-up call.
Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan spoke with the media Friday afternoon — he had some rather positive things to share about his defensive back. “He’s (Robinson) been better and better each week. I think his confidence is growing. This is an exceptional athlete, and he’s an exceptional person, so he wants to do great,” Ryan explained.
“You can see the growth as a football player this season. He’s really made it. He battled those injuries, went through those, and now he’s really starting to get on the rise at the right time. We’ve got to have him playing great at this time of the year, and he is.”
Just hearing something that like that come out of your coach’s mouth can be a confidence booster. Robinson’s athletic abilities are undeniable, so if he can invest in and maintain that self-assurance, maybe he can help his team work towards a playoff push.
9-7 is not out of the question for New Orleans — it’s all about finishing strong. The Saints (5-7) host the Carolina Panthers (3-8-1) on Sunday in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in a critical NFC South matchup.