Why Bears' Dominique Robinson may play more than expected Week 1

·3 min read

Why Dominique Robinson may play more than expected Week 1 originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

During Thursday’s media availability at Halas Hall, defensive coordinator Alan Williams was asked about his confidence in rookies Kyler Gordon and Jaquan Brisker starting in Week 1. Williams answered the question, but added that he’s got confidence in fifth-round pick Dominique Robinson, as well. Robinson is expected to be the team’s fourth defensive end this season, working behind Robert Quinn, Al-Quadin Muhammad and Trevis Gipson. Further, he was limited in practice on Wednesday and Thursday with a knee injury. So the obvious follow up question became, how much of an opportunity will Robinson have when the Bears take on the 49ers?

“We work our D-line as a NASCAR group and so if you’re a NASCAR fan, which my wife is—in our family she’s the NASCAR fan—you know that it’s constantly in and out. It’s in and out. Or a hockey line where guys go in and then they come out and the next group goes in. So we’ll have a lot of D-linemen up and we’ll be ready to go. Everyone should be participating, everyone should be contributing to the ballgame.”

Williams expects his players to go all out on every single snap. He doesn’t want anyone on the defensive line holding anything back, knowing that there’s a second wave of players who are ready to sub into the game.

Robinson understands what’s in front of him, and considers it a big opportunity.

“I know that they expect a lot of things from me, especially with the high level that I’ve played at and how I’m able to run a lot,” Robinson said. “That’s what our defense is based on. A lot of going after the ball, chasing the ball, effort plays and being on assignment. I’ve shown that I can do that throughout camp and throughout OTAs, and it’s a good fit for me.”

Robinson believes his background playing quarterback and wide receiver have helped him find his footing in this defense. Speed is a big focus for the coaches and it’s one of Robinsons’ strengths. Robinson’s natural talent could allow him to move inside at defensive tackle, too. Both Williams and Robinson each hinted that could be an opportunity for him at some point, as it would give the defense three pure pass rushers on the field at once.

“Back in college I used to rep some inside reps,” Robinson said. “Even at the Senior Bowl I got some inside reps during 1-on-1s. My thing is you’ve still got to win your 1-on-1 no matter where you’re at, so moving inside is nothing to me.”

The full gravity of playing in his first NFL game still hasn’t fully hit Robinson yet. He’s simply trying to focus on his keys and his H.I.T.S. principles to prepare himself for the big moment.

“If I do that, then I’ll be cool going into gametime.”

Robinson’s keeping his goals for his NFL debut equally simple.

“At the end of everything, I’m going to ask, ‘Did I work hard?’ and, ‘Did I do my assignments?’ If I can walk out of that game with minimal errors, and I can say I worked my butt, then I’m good.”

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