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Healthy Patrick Robinson displaying the traits New Orleans Saints envisioned

'I have been really pleased with what I've seen out of him'

AUG 29th PRACTICE 2020. Dome Practice Saturday Night All Images Copyright Michael C. Hebert

This Patrick Robinson – the version that has been on display during the 2020 training camp – is the one the New Orleans Saints are expecting.

The coverage.

The challenges.

The passes broken up.

The interceptions.

Compile a list of impressive training camp performances by New Orleans Saints players this year, and if the 11th-year defensive back isn't atop it, roll call doesn't last long before his name is called.

"I would say pretty consistent, for the most part," was how Robinson described his camp. "Just being a veteran, that's all you can ask of a veteran – be consistent, just do your job."

Robinson is understating, and possibly by a bunch.

"I certainly think he has been having a good camp," defensive coordinator Dennis Allen said. "I have been really pleased with what I have seen out of him. He has been playing really well. He is another guy that has played a couple of different positions for us. He plays a little bit of outside corner, plays some inside slot corner. So I've been really pleased with what he's been able to do in this camp."

"He's had good production on the ball," Coach Sean Payton said. "He is healthy. It is good to see him moving around out there and I think he's having a good camp."

The most significant part of that – health – isn't to be underestimated.

In 2018, when Robinson rejoined the Saints after a standout '17 season with Philadelphia (four interceptions, 18 passes defensed, a fumble recovery and three tackles for loss), he came back to the team that drafted him (in 2010) and expected to make an immediate impact as a nickel corner. Instead, he broke his ankle three games into the season.

In '19, Robinson never quite regained his footing: Hamstring and thigh injuries limited him to 11 games. He couldn't recapture the starting nickel spot, and appeared to be a step off from his 2017 form.

That step no longer seems to be missing.

"I'm healthy," Robinson said. "That's the main part, to be honest. Just being healthy, and then I'm just trying to show what I can still do.

"It was very frustrating, trying to come back and show what I can do and then started getting hurt and all these injuries, it was extremely frustrating, to be honest. But now that I'm healthy, the past is the past and I'm trying to look forward."

For Robinson, that means displaying the versatility in the secondary – the ability to play inside or outside – that he has shown before.

"I can play it all, and I'm still trying to show them," he said.

CAMP 2020 ENDS: Friday's full-pads practice at the indoor facility of the Ochsner Sports Performance Center marked the Saints' final training camp practice. "One of the things as a coach that you never know heading into the start of the season is where you stack up versus everyone else," Payton said. "Now, when you play preseason games, you do have a chance to get a look at your starters a little bit in week one, a little bit more in week two and three and so on. So it's one of those races I alluded to the other day, that you're unaware really of how the other 31 teams are doing. I felt like we've gotten a lot accomplished. I felt like the last week-and-a-half has been really good. Injury-wise, knock on wood, I think we've handled that pretty well and we've avoided some of the soft-tissue injuries that can come up in training camp. But it's not that far away here before we'll really get an assessment of where our team's at and then we go from there. But overall, I've been pleased. There's still a number of things that we're going to have to work on next week in our game prep, and then get ready to go."

CUT DAY: By 3 p.m. Saturday, all NFL teams must be down to the 53-man active roster. Teams this year also will have 16-man practice squads, an increase from the usual 10. The wrinkle this year is not having preseason games to evaluate players. "It's, to some degree, less exposure in game situations," Payton said. "We tried to create those situations in practice. I think the one thing I just finished talking with the team about, the cuts take you to 53 – that hasn't changed – but the practice squad had. So the flexibility that each club has throughout the league with 16 now on the practice squad is pretty substantial."

LATE ADDS: While not specifically naming free agent defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, Payton said that every year, the Saints possibly could add a player right near the beginning of the regular season. "Every year during the course of training camp, you're always looking – not just internally, but externally," Payton said. "If you feel like there's a player that fits a vision and fits a role for your team, we've done that throughout our time here. We'll look closely at what options we have, and it would be only with the right fit. Specifically, I won't comment relative to just one player. But that's something I think every club is paying attention to throughout the preseason."

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