Josh Robinson often looked lost when called upon to cover the slot in 2013, and it turns out he felt lost too. Robinson spoke about his dismal season, which came to a premature end thanks to multiple injuries including a sternum situation he’s still dealing with, and pulled no punches when recounting the experience of being miscast as Antoine Winfield‘s replacement.
Robinson recalled Vikings coaches telling him that eventually he would begin to get a feel for the unfamiliar (to him) slot corner position. But, said Robinson via ESPN1500’s Andrew Krammer:
I remember that’s something coach Joe Woods told me, you’ll start feeling things. I never felt nothing. See people in the end zone and I’m like, “Man, this is stupid.”
Robinson was continually torched as the slot corner, surrendering big plays and touchdowns at a frightening rate. It may have been a relief to him to finally hit the shelf due to injury.
But it’s a new year now and the Vikings’ old coaching staff, the one that thought Josh Robinson could become a slot corner, is gone. The new regime has Robinson lined up outside, where he has a chance to win significant playing time as the third corner in nickel situations, with Captain Munnerlyn holding down the dreaded slot.
Robinson says he feels much more comfortable lined up outside, but the fact is a switch in position won’t magically make all the question marks disappear. Robinson must still show that he can improve in both his coverage and his tackling, and handle the physical demands that come with playing press-man.
Call me skeptical, but I’m not certain Robinson can handle it. The best thing he has going for him right now is a severe lack of experienced depth in the Vikings secondary. Derek Cox is his biggest competition and Cox is at best a marginal player.
Robinson has a great chance to win a job, but only because the Vikings don’t have a lot of better options. I’m a long way from believing that Robinson will ever be a functional player. But at least he’s done playing the slot.