Redskins linebacker Keenan Robinson enjoyed a couple of key milestones after Thursday’s preseason victory over the Patriots.
He made his career first start. But more importantly, he walked off the field healthy and confident that the injuries that plagued him in 2012 and 2013 were no longer an issue.
“For me, it continues to help me build confidence in my body and my abilities,” said Robinson, whom the Redskins hope can be London Fletcher’s long term replacement at inside linebacker.
For more than a year, though, Robinson’s confidence in his body was lacking. And for good reason.
By now you know his hard luck story: the 2012 fourth round selection finished his rookie season on injured reserve after tearing a pectoral muscle in a game, then he tore the opposite pectoral muscle on the first day of training camp the following season. As defensive coordinator Jim Haslett said matter-of-factly last week, the last two times Robinson had tackled anyone he suffered a season-ending injury.
Which is what made Thursday’s game so significant for the 25-year-old. He made three tackles on 16 snaps and, afterward, was able to breathe a sigh of relief.
“It gives me more [confidence] to do things that put my body in weird positions,” Robinson said. “If I know that I’ll be okay doing them. I know I’ll be able to play more carefree football and more reckless football, which is what you want at linebacker.”
He added: “You want to be somebody who’s reckless and doesn’t care and goes out there and hits, make plays, flies around and just goes out there and has fun. My body has been able to get back to where it was before the injuries.”
Robinson acknowledges he still has a long ways to go—and much lost time to make up for—but on Thursday he took a significant step in the right direction.
“I did some good things,” Robinson said of his performance, which included calling the defensive plays. “But obviously there are always things that I can improve. I think the coaches will see some good things on film. Hopefully, it will help build their confidence in what I can do …and my ability to step in for London Fletcher this year.”