Linebacker Keenan Robinson
June 1, 2016
Q: I don’t believe we’ve spoken to you yet so, welcome to New York.
A: Thank you guys. I appreciate it.
Q: How’s everything going so far for you?
A: It’s going pretty good, man. I’m adapting pretty well. I like it out here— I think it’s better than Virginia to me, and I like where things are going— especially on the defensive side of the ball. The investments they’ve made to help build this defense up— I like where it’s going.
Q: What was it like for you to be a part of that big spending spree?
A: I mean, I guess it was just business as usual for me. Every team at the end of every offseason has goals that they have in mind, and obviously this team’s was to build up that defense to the caliber of football that they’ve been used to from winning those past two Super Bowls a few years back.
Q: What was your sense of this team and this franchise from the other side? You know, you’ve played against them for a bunch of years.
A: I thought they were always good. The Giants— when I played with the Redskins— they gave us problems every year. I think twice on Thursday Night Football when I was on the Redskins we lost bad to the Giants, so… they’ve always had a good offense. The defense has been good at times, and I think they’ve always had fits matchup wise— they’ve always had good running backs, good receivers, and obviously a good quarterback.
Q: So many of the guys are new— you’re new, and it’s like sometimes you come into an established situation. It’s not like that here, is it? There’s 3 or 4 or 5 guys who were all new. Is that helpful in a way?
A: Yes and no, just because since it’s the same defensive coordinator and same defensive coaches, it’s kind of like they’re picking up from where they left off last year. So, I kind of need to keep rolling fast and just try to pick up the defense as I go. Everyday I learn something new. But as far as there being new guys in the group, I think we’re all professionals here— nobody is really that young— we’ve all had four or five years under our belts, so that helps us as far as getting acclimated faster to a new team because we know what it takes to get to the level that we want to get to.
Q: Is middle linebacker with this team any different than it was with Washington?
A: Yes and no. They’ve got me playing multiple positions right now— I’ve been playing Will, weak side linebacker, and middle, so I’m learning two new positions. But for me, it’s natural because for Washington the last four years I played Mike in the 3-4 and I played the Will in the Nickel defense, so I’ve done both and I’m very flexible in that way. It’s different a little bit, just because the 3-4 is different— different fundamentals, different technique— and a 4-3 is what you see is what you get. The key behind a 3-4 is never knowing where you’re going to send the extra guy from, so it’s a little different there, but as far as football, it’s all football, so it’s all make a play and show up on Sunday.
Q: One of the problems this team had was covering people out of the backfield. Can you do that?
A: I believe I can. I pride myself on being a well-rounded athlete and a football player. I’ve always tried to make sure every area of the game I can contribute and help the team, so I make sure in the offseason that I focus on every individual area as far as coverage, as far as run stopping, as far as being able to run and be athletic, so I think I can help the team in that aspect.
Q: Are you as healthy as you’ve ever been now?
A: Yeah, I feel pretty good, man. Coming off of last season, I wasn’t as healthy as I wanted to be. I was a little bit banged up. But transitioning these few months I’ve had, I feel pretty good, and we’ll get to test it out come training camp when we put the pads on.
Q: Have you ever been in a situation like this? There’s 10 linebackers that have all been in the NFL— you know, like you said, there’s not a lot of kids— there’s a lot of veteran linebackers who’ve played in the league before…
A: I think my last two years in Washington we brought a lot of vets in. We had guys that played six or seven years before I got into the league, so I think I’ve been in that situation before. And it’s good— competition brings out the best in everybody and just really builds depth at the linebacker position, so if someone goes down there’s no drop off.
Q: You look at the front four that you guys have— how good is that for a linebacker?
A: I like it personally, looking at guys in front of you and knowing that they’re going to do their job and they’re going to do it very well. For us, it’s like, every run play is like “let’s get the scraps,” because there might not be nothing for us. JPP, OV, Hank— they might get to the ball carrier for a TFL in the backfield before we can get there, so for us it’s just trying to clean up the scraps and hopefully fit where needed and try to make big plays in the backfield. That’s why they brought those guys in, just to be able to make plays on that side of the ball.
Q: You’ve been about 50/50, Mike and Will?
A: Yes and no— when I first got here, sometimes I played Mike, and then when we started putting the helmets on and doing OTAs they had me doing a little Will work. And as far as the Nickel package goes, I’ve always played the weak side, so that’s the same for me. But now they’re trying to transition me to more of a Mike that knows all positions, so that way I can help the team as much as I can.
Q: Are you familiar enough to start making the calls on the defense?
A: Yeah, I did a little bit today. Basically from my background and my being in the league four years as a Mike, I kind of expect to be able to do that and do it well and take control or take command of the huddle. And so, even though I haven’t done that up until today, it comes very natural for me.
Q: What’s this adjustment period been like for you coming to a new team?
A: It hasn’t been that bad, actually. It’s been pretty good. I’m going on year five, so I kind of know the game. I kind of know how to be a professional and how to come into an organization and just do my part and how to learn/pick up the playbook. So for me, it hasn’t been that bad at all. NFC East— the competition is still very high— I still know a lot of these guys that I’m now teammates with, so it’s very familiar for me and I’m very familiar with the program just because I played them eight times in four years, so…
Q: Why do you like here better than Virginia?
A: I don’t know, man— I really didn’t know too much about New Jersey or New York until I got out here, because I played here but that was only four times that we played here, so I didn’t really have a feel for it. All I heard about was what people say in the media or people say traveling wise and tourist wise, so I didn’t know what to expect, but when I got here I kind of loved it. It’s very fast-paced. Everybody is always in a rush, always in a hurry; but as far as things to do, places to eat, bringing my family out here, I love it. It’s very family friendly, and there’s a lot of stuff to do, so you don’t get bored. In Virginia, you have to drive 30 minutes to the closest thing to do something with your family— go to Maryland or go to D.C., so out here there is something everywhere.
Q: So you weren’t ripping the organization— you were just saying that it’s better here…
A: No I’m talking about the… I guess the area. Not the organization— I’m talking about the area. Ashburn, Virginia and New Jersey out here is night and day.