How’s the return been on the investment in wide receiver Allen Robinson? I’d say so far, so good, with a little hope and some room for improvement.
Robinson followed a solid debut against the Packers in Week 1, by catching 10 passes for 83 yards in the team’s Monday night win against the Seattle Seahawks. He was targeted 14 times on a night where no other Bears pass-catcher was thrown to more than seven times. As it stands, Robinson is entrenched as Mitch Trubisky’s favorite target and the team’s No. 1 wide receiver. That much is clear. How good he’ll be going forward, of course, remains to be seen.
Entering Week 3, Robinson leads the team in targets (21), catches (14), and receiving yards (144) and is on a 16-game pace to snag 112 passes and 1,152 receiving yards overall, which is great good. Unfortunately, he hasn’t found the end zone through two games, and that’s been a bit of a bummer. But even without a score, Robinson has been fine in his role as WR1 and I have reason to believe he’ll continue to elevate the entire offense.
In the most literal sense, Robinson is doing everything out there. Just check out his route chart from Week 2:
Allen Robinson's Week 2 receiving chart via NFL Next Gen Stats: pic.twitter.com/C827tmcpUk
— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) September 18, 2018
This route chart isn’t quite what we expected from Robinson before he arrived (in fact, we contrasted his potential downfield threat with the more middle/short plan of attack for someone like Jarvis Landry), but that’s a good thing. This is not only a surprise, it’s a pleasant one that can only bode well for his and the Bears’ future.
Head Coach Matt Nagy and Offensive Coordinator Mark Helfrich have clearly devised a scheme that gets Robinson lined up in a variety of positions and running any number of routes this year, which has him catching the ball at many different spots on the field.
That sort of diversity early in his Bears career only creates more possibilities for play designs down the line and makes him a tougher match-up for defenders who must account for a growing number of potential routes. In short, this is far from the predictable offense Bears fans had come to know in recent years, and that’s something we can all rally behind.
Robinson was originally signed to be a reliable target on whom Mitch Trubisky could lean in tough times. And based on what he did while he was in Jacksonville, it was easy to envision Robinson mostly running vertical routes and hauling in his share of 50-50 balls. And while he’s obviously done some of that, his work has been more diverse than expected. Obviously, the deep ball hasn’t really been there yet for Trubisky and Robinson, but every other box has been checked after two weeks (well, except for finding the end zone), and that will come soon enough.