Inside the Numbers: Robinson Continues to Excel in Slot
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) — Patrick Robinson was considered to be a Band-Aid when the Eagles signed him to a one-year deal in the offseason but the former first-round pick is healthy and excelling as Jim Schwartz's slot cornerback.
With Ronald Darby remaining on the sidelines with a dislocated ankle, second-year player Jalen Mills and rookie Rasul Douglas have been handling the outside work and that perceived soft spot, along with sold play inside from Robinson. have quarterbacks looking to stay away from the veteran.
Against the New York Giants in Week 3 Mills, who shadowed Odell Beckham Jr. all over the field, was targeted more than any other CB in the ProFootballFocus.com era. On Sunday in the shadow of Los Angeles, Philip Rivers decided to go after Douglas to much success, completing six of eight throws against the West Virginia product for 203 yards, the most yardage allowed in a game by any defender in the NFL this season.
Robinson, meanwhile, was in coverage 25 times, according to PFF and Rivers didn't try him once. To date, Robinson is ranked as the fourth-best CB in football behind only Ken Crawley of New Orleans, Jacksonville's Jalen Ramsey and the Chargers' Casey Heyward, who did a brilliant job on Alshon Jeffery Sunday.
The next-man-up mentality is a big one for NFL coaches but it rarely works out all that well. In the short term at least Beau Allen has held up in a big way while Fletcher Cox deals with his calf injury. Allen recorded his first NFL sack of Philip Rivers and added four hurries as well against L.A.
On offense LeGarrette Blount was as dominant as he looked, garnering 127 of his 136 rushing yards after contact and forcing nine missed tackles by the Chargers.
Wendell Smallwood got more reps, however, in the Darren Sproles role (35 to 26) and was targeted six times in the passing game, the most traffic he's seen in that aspect since his junior year at West Virginia.
The 35-year-old Jason Peters continues to dominate, especially over the past two weeks where he has been as clean as a left tackle can be, allowing no QB pressures of any kind (sacks, hits or hurries) in 76 pass-block snaps. He also collapsed the Chargers' defensive line on a number of run plays and is currently rated as the third-best tackle in football by PFF, trailing only Trent Brown and Joe Thomas. Lane Johnston, by the way, is no. 4.
Despite the impressive play of the tackles, however, Carson Wentz saw quite a bit of pressure overall, getting hurried on 15 of 34 dropbacks (44.2 percent).
John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen