Once used mainly as a situational position for obvious passing formations, nickel backs have increased in importance in recent years, with more NFL teams employing four-receiver sets.
“Any way I can help the team,” Robinson said, “I want to do that. I worked really hard (this offseason), and I’m going to try to key-in on mistakes I made last year, and make sure I don’t make them again this season.”
“I think he’s really growing into the position,” Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said earlier in training camp. “We were talking about that; we’re much more confident with him today than we were, say, three or four days ago when we opened camp. So we just have to keep on putting him in situations, because this is all new for him, and let him gain experience.”
Robinson’s first test arrives tonight, when the Vikings begin their preseason schedule at home against the Houston Texans.
“The practices, along with the preseason games, are going to be big for him,” Frazier said. “We need that position to play well for us, because you’re on the field as much as our starters are, and he’s making progress.”
Repetition in game-speed time, especially for a relative newcomer like Robinson, is crucial to success at the position, Williams says.
“He just needs the reps,” he said. “I don’t think people realize how tough that position is. That is a position that you have to fit like a safety or a linebacker in the box, and you have to cover like a corner when you’re on a wide receiver. That’s a position unlike other ones, when you can just maybe get by being talented...From what I have seen, we are very, very encouraged at him playing in that spot.”