San Francisco 49ers cornerback Rashard Robinson has been much maligned this season, and at times it has been for good reason. He is tied for the league lead among cornerbacks in pass interference calls and seems to get burned on some high profile plays. He doesn’t generally get burned toooo much, but given the trash talk we have heard from him, it makes it a little easier to jump on him when he screws up.
On Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys, Robinson had a very Robinson like day. He was flagged for two penalties, but only gave up one catch on the day. Of course, that catch was a two-yard touchdown reception to Dez Bryant on 3rd and goal at the 2-yard line.
Robinson was called for the two penalties in the span of four plays in the first quarter. He was called for defensive pass interference on a 3rd and 7 play in which he had coverage of Brice Butler. He was then called for illegal contact a few plays later. It was 1st and 10, but the 49ers had forced an intentional grounding play by Dak Prescott. The illegal contact penalty offset the grounding, and a play later, Ezekiel Elliott scored on a 25-yard touchdown run.
The illegal contact penalty was an obvious one. This pictures shows him with a fist full of jersey about ten yards downfield. And he held on after this.
On the other hand, the DPI call did not seem like a good one. In looking at this video, I would argue this should have been either offensive pass interference or no penalty for hand-fighting.
Robinson can’t make contact because THE WIDE RECEIVER IS LITERALLY HOLDING HIM AWAY WITH AN EXTENDED ARM. But this was PI? pic.twitter.com/kIR3EOlbE9— Oscar Aparicio (@BetterRivals) October 22, 2017
The third problem play was the touchdown he gave up. Here is a gif to see the play develop. Robinson has coverage, with Adrian Colbert on the inside. Bryant cuts up and splits Robinson and Colbert. Robinson lunged a bit on the play to fall behind Bryant.
Robinson and Colbert run into each other. Part of the problem is Colbert appears to have bit on a play action fake to Ezekiel Elliott. He had no real chance on a run play, and would have been better suited dropping into coverage. If he does that, he and Robinson don’t run into each other, and Robinson is covered in the back of the end zone. Both Robinson and Colbert seemed to make mistakes, although we don’t know exactly assignments to say with certainty.
Robinson is a talented cornerback, but someone made a good point. It is possible he is overly handsy in part because he is a bit undersized (in terms of weight), and needs to get more physical with bigger receivers.
I don’t want to get too defensive on behalf of Robinson. He makes too much any unforced errors, and it has repeatedly cost the 49ers. But I do actually think things could be worse. He has not proven he can be a No. 1 cornerback, but I do think he could make a solid No. 2 if the 49ers invest in a true No. 1 cornerback next offseason in the draft or free agency.