Don’t let the calm and laid back demeanor of New York Giants tight end Adrien Robinson fool you.
The heat is on—and he knows it.
“It’s my third year,” he said during Tuesday’s open media session. “So it’s now or never.”
For the first two years of his career, it seemed more like “never’ for the Giants’ 2012 fourth-round pick. As a rookie, Robinson joined the team when it was deep into its OTAs, this because his college classes at Cincinnati ran late. That delay put his severely behind the rest of his teammates and he was never really able to catch up.
Last year, Robinson was looking forward to contributing to the Giants offense, taking some snaps in the slot and in the team’s res zone package. However, he suffered a sprained foot early in the team’s final preseason game, an injury that ended up shelving Robinson for a good part of the season.
When he finally was healthy enough, disaster struck again. Robinson suffered a sprained knee on the opening kickoff last in the season, his second year in essence being wiped out.
“Yeah, I was pretty frustrated actually because everyone wants to play as soon as they get here,” he said. “There’s nothing you can do about injuries and that pretty much was my whole second year, so you just have to move forward.”
In listening to Robinson, he sounds like a player who has finally matured enough to understand that you don’t’ simply step on to the field on Day 1 and hit the ground running, certainly not for a Tom Coughlin-coached team.
That’s exactly what the man dubbed as “the JPP of tight ends” by general manager Jerry Reese plans to do. Robinson is in the process of slimming down from last year’s playing weight of 285 to a more svelte 265, a move that he believes will help him improve his quickness in getting in and out of his breaks and allow him to be lighter on his feet.
He also has a new position coach and a new offensive coordinator, both of whom have wiped the slate clean not just with him, but with all the players. For Robinson, though, the clean slate is significant, especially his relationship with Kevin M. Gilbride, the team’s new tight ends coach.
“He’s great; he’s younger so I relate to him on a different level, not that I didn’t relate to Coach (Mike) Pope,” Robinson said. “It’s different when you have a guy who’s closer to your age. He’s always willing to meet whenever so that helps out some.”
As for McAdoo, Robinson was the latest in a growing line of offensive skill players who seem energized every time they’re asked about the new offense that’s currently being installed.
“Yeah, it’s completely different,” he said, when asked about the tight end’s role in McAdoo’s system. “You more around a lot more, run different routes, work out of the backfield. I feel like for me, it will be a better fit for the things I’m good at doing.”
To make sure he grows in this new offense, Robinson said he’s begun doing the little things, such as staying extra time after a workout, studying more film and hitting his playbook to make sure that when the offense goes up against the defense starting next week in Phase 3 of the offseason program, he’s ready to hit the ground running.
“I feel like I’m more mature and more of a professional now,” Robinson said.
He’s also ready to finally live up to his moniker.
“I do feel like I can be (the JPP of tight ends) this year because my athletic ability and fitting in with this offense,” he said. “That’s why I mentioned doing extra stuff put extra pressure on myself to watch film and stuff like that because I can feel that pressure build.”
Regardless of who the Giants have in camp or who they might be planning to bring to camp in the future, Robinson is focused on what he can control, which is his own performance.
“It’s just huge opportunity. They’ve laid this opportunity in front of me and I have to make the most of it.”