Maybe the NFL officials who threw penalty flags at Giants cornerback Aaron Robinson just wanted to join in the party thrown by Patriots quarterback Brian Hoyer.
Sometimes pre-season games are all about creating the wrong direction. Other times, what happens in August is a precursor to what lies ahead once the games count.
And there was an ominous feeling Thursday that Hoyer tossing with repeat success to Robinson on five of the nine snaps he dropped in coverage was a taste of how opposing offenses see the Giants secondary: Not need to target Adoree’ Jackson until Robinson proves himself.
“There’s some good things he’s had and some things we can improve on,” head coach Brian Daboll said a day after the Giants opened with a 23-21 win over the Patriots. . “Aaron had a good camp and it’s a good competitive situation. Corners are going to be beaten from time to time, and that’s how you respond the next game, the next game. I have great confidence in A-Rob.
It was a small sample, but Robinson looked like a sophomore pro whose rookie season was a wash because he missed eight games and played a different position (location) in a different pattern when he was on the ground.
With the head coach (Joe Judge) drafting him from the opposing sideline working with the quarterbacks, Robinson allowed three catches for 44 yards and a touchdown. Robinson was flagged for a taunting penalty after an incompletion and a holding penalty (disallowed for the touchdown), which was a problem throughout his practical training camp.
“I expect that,” Robinson told reporters in the locker room. “You have to kiss her. It’s part of the game. With it comes ongoing games.
The hard truth is that the Giants are in a position where they have to ask too many young players too soon and live with the results. Defensive coordinator Wink Martindale uses a heavy blitz plan that leaves cornerbacks in man-to-man press coverage.
“You expect [Robinson] jump in and take the opportunity to be a starter,” defensive backs coach Jerome Henderson said last week. “He has a great demeanor. Even though he doesn’t say much vocally, his piece speaks volumes – and the way he cares about it speaks volumes to me.
For anyone new around the Giants, Robinson’s debut seemed eerily familiar to the crowd who recognize the No. 2 cornerback as an old black hole. He was beaten with the first steps and the catch-up.
In 2019, preseason starter Antonio Hamilton was benched after a regular season game. In 2020, Corey Ballentine lasted two starts in labor and was then cut in Week 10. After going all-in to fix the issue by signing Jackson to partner James Bradberry in 2021, the Giants could once again being in a place where offenses can attack one side of the field because they were unable to replace Bradberry when he became a salary cap victim.
“Each team has its own philosophy offensively. I don’t want to speak for the other teams,” Daboll said when asked if this was the strategy he expected. “I think we have to be ready to defend all areas of the pitch.”
Robinson might have a longer leash than some of his predecessors. Martindale hinted last week that there was a thick line between starters and substitutes.
“I love our first set of secondary players,” he said, “and now we have to keep leveraging the depth of this secondary.”
Second-team rookie Cor’dale Flott was injured in Game 1, and the Giants haven’t acted in free agency this offseason like a duct tape team looking to remove youth player reps.
“We played a lot of man-to-man coverage, so that was a good assessment,” Daboll said. “Made some good plays and then we have to do a good job of finding the ball and locating it in the deep part of the pitch. I thought those guys competed, tackled pretty well, got tight coverage. We have to keep working to make plays on the ball.
Work begins with the new starter.
New York Post