Craig Robertson will get his first start of the season at weakside linebacker this Sunday when the New Orleans Saints take on the Detroit Lions.
Rookie linebacker Alex Anzalone has been placed on injured reserve. His shoulder injury will force him to miss significant time. Now, he hands the torch and his starting position over to Craig Robertson.
The Saints picked up Craig Robertson in free agency last year from the Cleveland Browns. In his first year with the Saints, the six-year pro, had the best season of his career.
In 15 games in 2016, Robertson notched a team leading 115 tackles along with 1 sack and 1 interception. Those are impressive numbers considering he was originally brought in primarily to make an impact on special teams. The team faced declining performances and injuries to former Saints Stephone Anthony, Dannell Ellerbe and James Laurinaitis. It was due to those issues that Robertson found his new role as a solid starter.
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The Saints should reap identical benefits or better from Robertson this season. So far, in 4 games he’s nabbed a mere 7 tackles. But not to worry, those numbers will increase substantially. Robertson has a nose for the football and the ability to not let players get away on the touch. That’s a plus for the Saints defense who were once atrocious in their tackling techniques.
Robertson’s ability to play both inside and outside linebacker could be problematic for a Lions offense that’s already given up 11 sacks this season. It remains to be seen how well Robertson will gel with Manti Te’o and A.J. Klien. But, if history repeats itself, each time Robertson’s name has been called to assume a starting role, he’s taken on the responsibility with success.
Earlier this week, Lions quarterback, Matthew Stafford’s health was a bit of concern as he was dealing with an ankle injury. However, he’s expected to play Sunday. I’m sure Robertson and his group are carrying a relaxed, yet observant approach to get a win.
Robertson, being the veteran of the linebacker corps, should impact his group to make plays and continue to carry on the dominance they’ve achieved over the last two games.