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Bleacher Report – Vikings

‘Technician’ Brian Robison also showing his worth as a leader

By Derek Wetmore

MANKATO – Brian Robison had seen all he could stomach.

A veteran offensive lineman jumped offside during a team drill in the first period of Sunday afternoon’s practice, the third day of practice in Mankato but the first day players wore full pads. It was not the first such penalty of the session.

With head coach Mike Zimmer looking on and quietly giving instruction to another player off to the side, Robison, a 10-year veteran defensive lineman, verbally undressed the offensive lineman and anyone else who was within earshot.

His message included some curse words probably not safe for publication on this family-friendly website, but the gist of his message was this:

“If we can’t stay onsides on offense, we can’t hard-count [opponents],” Robison yelled to his teammates on the offensive line. The penalty helped during this drill, of course, but in the long run on his quest for another winning Vikings team, it hurt. “We can’t get them to jump offisdes and get an easy five yards!”

The message was for the offensive line, the guys who will be tasked with protecting Teddy Bridgewater and widening lanes for Adrian Peterson to run through. But Robison also recognizes the importance of not falling for fake snap counts as a defense.

If the opponent is in a passing situation, Robison said, and the Vikings advertise the fact that they can’t stay disciplined against those hard counts, then the other team will exploit that weakness. That would hinder their ability to pass rush.

“Look, we’ve got to get down to business,” Robison later explained. “Offsides penalties, stuff like that, that just comes from dumdfounding mistakes, is really what it is. It shouldn’t happen.”

“Any time you have pre-snap penalties like that, those are penalties that you can eliminate,” he said. “So the message I had for them was that we had three or four penalties in that period alone. And that was the first period of the day. A lot of times that comes from fatigue and not being focused. That shouldn’t happen the first period of the day.”

Robison didn’t let it.

Zimmer had his back turned to the crowd during that particular display, so if a smile flashed across the defensive-minded head coach’s face, it went unseen by sideline observers. More likely, Zimmer’s facial expression didn’t change at all, because it’s probably exactly what he’s come to expect from a veteran leader like Robison.

“When you’ve been in the league for ten years and you’ve been with different regimes and you’ve been with Coach Zimmer for going on three years now, you kind of get a feel of when things need to be said – when they need to come out of coaches mouths and when the players need to do it,” Robison said.

Later, in one-one-one drills designed that pit a defensive lineman against a member of the O-line protecting an orange cone standing in for the quarterback, Robison saw something he didn’t like with one of the younger players.

Scott Crichton had tried to execute a move that Robison recognized. One small problem: his hip alignment was wrong.

“I pride myself on trying to be a technician,” Robison said. “And a lot of that comes from [defensive line coach] Andre Patterson making sure that our guys are the most technically sound guys on the field.”

“It’s just little things that I see that can help [Crichton] get by. Or he may have the right move but he didn’t really have his hips in the right place or something like that.”

Robison talked to Crichton about keeping his hips closed, rather than flying open and getting caught too far outside for the specific move he was trying.

It may sound trivial, but it wasn’t. After getting stonewalled by his competition in the first go-round, Crichton got a short and probably sweet lecture from Robison. Next time up? Crichton blew right past the offensive lineman and would have either sacked the orange-cone quarterback or at least forced him into an undesirable throw.

Simple fix. Quick results. That’s experience.

“For me it’s just about going out here and being about business every day,” Robison said. “When a young guy needs some help, you step up and you help him. When you need to be vocal and make sure the guys [that] need a little fire under their tail you’ve got to be there for that. So it’s just kind of a timing deal. Sometimes you’ve got to know when to step up, and you’ve got to lead by example.”

The post ‘Technician’ Brian Robison also showing his worth as a leader appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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