Khiry Robinson Turning Heads In The Big Easy
Each year, players come along that are unknown to the football world. And each year, some of those players excel instantly and become budding stars. This season, the New Orleans Saints are hoping they have something brewing with undrafted RB Khiry Robinson. Little is known about him, which is not a surprise to many. Robinson attended West Texas A&M, a small Division II university located just outside of Amarillo, TX.
Robinson put up impressive numbers in his two years there, rushing for 2,290 yards and 26 touchdowns. In addition, he had 60 receptions totaling 612 yards with six scoring grabs. Last year, Robinson's 1,621 rushing yards set a school and conference record, a nice superlative to have on one’s bio when attempting to open the eyes of an NFL squad.
Robinson made the Saints team out of training camp after putting up a productive preseason, rushing for 229 yards and catching 11 passes. He has been given the opportunity to get some touches in recent weeks and has taken full advantage of his playing time, even though it has been mostly meaningless minutes. Robinson was able to move up the depth chart when RB Mark Ingram went down after Week 2 with a toe injury.
Thus far, Robinson has 26 carries for 137 yards along with a touchdown in four games. He is averaging over five yards per carry, which is pretty impressive for any back in the NFL. Another impressive attribute he has shown is his ability to be agile and elude tackles. Should Ingram’s injury linger throughout the season, Robinson may see increased action and could slide into a more important role in the coming weeks. Playing time will not come easy though because standing in his way on the depth chart are established rushers Darren Sproles and Pierre Thomas.
Given all that, there is reason for the Saints to be excited about this back. Robinson saw very meaningful playing time last week against the New England Patriots. His 3-yard touchdown run tied the game in the third quarter. Earlier in that drive, Robinson had an impressive 16-yard carry. On a crucial drive in the fourth quarter with the Saints trailing by six, he scampered for 20 yards to put the team in Patriots territory, which eventually led to a Kenny Stills touchdown catch that gave New Orleans the lead late in the fourth quarter.
It only takes one impressive week to grab the attention of a head coach. Some great examples of this occurred in Week 6. QB Thad Lewis almost led the Buffalo Bills to an upset victory over the Cincinnati Bengals and followed that up with a come-from-behind victory on the road against the Miami Dolphins last week. Prior to those two games, Lewis had only one career start.
TE Joseph Fauria finished with three touchdowns and 34 yards in a game where his Detroit Lions emerged victorious in Week 6 over the Cleveland Browns. In total, Fauria has seven receptions for 66 yards and five touchdowns in his rookie season.
The point is, every successful team needs contributions from surprising sources over the course of a season. Teams that get those added bonuses from unexpected players are often the teams that make the playoffs.
The Saints coaching staff seems to be gaining confidence in this rookie back and as long as he continues to impress, Robinson will be a piece of this very dynamic offense. In addition, if he can protect the ball, Robinson will continue to see increased action at crucial times.