Allen Robinson has something to prove this upcoming season. The Jacksonville Jaguars know it and so does the fourth-year wide receiver who dropped too many passes and did not flash the numbers that made him a Pro Bowl player in 2015.
With a new season in sight and the talk of the passing offense improving from 2016, Robinson – along with quarterback Blake Bortles and wide receiver Allen Hurns – could return their old form. Robinson has to become the standout he was, the one who gave defensive backs fits and the guy who became a highlight reel making incredible catches like he once did.
As Daniel Lago of blackandteal.com pointed out, “Bortles ascended in 2015 as an emerging star partly because of the strong play by his receivers – Allen Hurns and Allen Robinson. Both players also underperformed in 2016, and Robinson’s struggles in particular were discouraging given the tools he has.”
A season of 80 catches and 1,400 yards to go along with 14 touchdowns put the second-round pick out of Penn State in 2014 on the map. At 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds, he is a thick, strong and deceptively fast player of the line. And if matched up one-on-one with a 50-50 ball and a defender, there is a good chance he will make an ESPN-type of catch for a first down.
Last season, however, things were different. Bortles was struggling. Robinson was dropping easy catches. The chemistry was missing. Hurns was hurt, which meant teams were concentrating on Robinson. Marqise Lee, the other wide receiver in the group, was outperforming him at times. Changes needed to be made. The Jacksonville Jaguars changed head coaches and brought in former player Keenan McCardell to work with the wide receivers. Hopefully, new personnel will mean a better 2017 season.
Lago’s story includes CBS Sports’ Jason LaCanfora’s assessment of Robinson as one of the players he thinks will bounce back in 2017.
While Bortles was nothing short of awful in 2016 — even in garbage time — it’s hard to fathom Robinson mustered 517 fewer receiving yards and eight fewer scores last season. Tom Coughlin knows how to develop receivers, though, and Bortles knows this is his last chance. The Jags will have a run game in the upcoming season and a more balanced offense. There is nowhere for Robinson to go but up, and I expect a return to something closer to his 2015 output.
Like Lago, I will dispute the “garbage time” reference because the team played from behind almost the entire season. Now, it seems the Jacksonville Jaguars want to erase history and start creating a different script in the Tom Coughlin-Doug Marrone era.