Bengals Trevor Robinson And His Argument As Starting Center After The Indianapolis Colts

We took a glance at backup starting center Trevor Robinson's first half against the Colts' first-team unit and most of the second-team. Our judgment was supremely more positive, with an outstanding showing in the first quarter but a few struggles in the second. Though it never appeared he struggled with assignments and his effort was without question, when he locked onto a player, he drove. His pass blocking was exceptional, without any real threats coming from players he blocked. There were times during the run that he struggled but he clearly won more battles than lost.

TIME: 1st Q, 13:00
RESULT: Brian Leonard six-yard run

After a quick strike to A.J. Green near the right sidelines for a 14-yard gain, the Bengals setup shop on their own 26-yard line. Robinson snapped the football and helped Kevin Zeitler double defensive tackle Antonio Johnson. The surge by both men pushed an unblocked Fili Moala off the line scrimmage. Eventually Moala made the tackle, but not before Leonard picked up six.

TIME: 1st, 11:03
RESULT: Brian Leonard 15-yard run

Cincinnati's formation is a basic single-back formation with two tight ends -- Dennis Roland playing the role of tight end on the right. Robinson snapped the football, firing out of his stance and cutting off Antonio Johnson from the point of attack (which is designed for the left edge). Now the block could viewed as illegal, because as Robinson is engaged with Johnson, Zeitler crashes into the defensive tackle's legs. However, per the rule regarding an illegal chop block:

"On a running play, A1, an offensive lineman, chops a defensive player after the defensive player has been engaged by A2 (high or low), and the initial alignment of A2 is more than one position away from A1. The rule applies only when the block occurs at a time when the flow of the play is clearly away from A1."

TIME: 1st Q, 10:16
RESULT: Brian Leonard six-yard run

Cincinnati lines up with a three-wide formation, Andrew Hawkins in the slot motioning to his left behind Andre Smith. It appeared that the play called was designed behind Andrew Whitworth and Clint Boling. A Mario Addison inside slant gave Donald Lee fits. Fortunately for the Bengals it also broke contain for Leonard to bounce outside. Oh. And Robinson? He pancaked Fili Moala.

Robert Mathis is in the way, but you can see Moala on his gluteus maximus with Robinson giving him the three-count.

TIME: 1st Q, 1:00
RESULT: Cedric Peerman three-yard run

Being an offensive lineman is the least glamorous position in football, perhaps in all of professional sports. So when offensive linemen do something less glamorous, it's shrugged off as normal. Bengals with standard I formation, Peerman aiming the point of attack to the left edges. Robinson stepped left, blocking defensive tackle Chigbo Anunoby's path. However Anunoby was no push-over. He kept shifting right while Robinson drove his feet, making minimal headway on the drive. It appeared at one point that Anunoby stopped resisting, causing Robinson to lose his balance. This benefited Robinson because when he fell over, he essentially sealed Anunoby inside.

On the following play, Robinson snapped the football, giving ground as an uncovered blocker. Defensive end Mario Addison wheeled around on a stunt but Robinson was more than ready.

It might seem like a small thing, but if Robinson departs from his region of space to help someone else, Addison has a free shot on Bruce Gradkowski without a back staying for added protection. It displays good awareness and discipline to stay home.

TIME: 2nd Q, 15:00
RESULT: Cedric Peerman one-yard loss

Remember. This isn't about Cincinnati's rushing offense. Just Trevor Robinson. And damn. Defensive tackle Chigbo Anunoby lined up over Robinson and it was the last time that Anunoby would taste the line of scrimmage on the play. Let's just present a few screen prints to show you what happens:

From the right hashmark all the way to the left. Predictably Dennis Roland gave up the block that dropped Peerman for a one-yard loss.

On the following play the Bengals ran a draw from shotgun, with Peerman picking up 13 yards up the middle. Robinson neutralized linebacker Moise Fokou in open space, who didn't touch Peerman.

TIME: 2nd Q, 13:45
RESULT: Cedric Peerman nine-yard run

Even the greatest NFL players in history never won ever matchup. Great quarterback have thrown picks. Great running backs have lost the fumble, or failed to convert third-and-goal from the one. Even Anthony Munoz has lost his share of matchups. But they're all great because they've won far more than they've lost. This is a play that Robinson lost.

Robinson snapped the football and shifted to his left, directly into a nasty shove by Drake Nevis.

That being said did Nevis make the tackle? Nope. Was Peerman's point of attack clogged? Nope. Could someone say that Nevis was too occupied by Robinson to worry about Peerman's nine-yard gain? Yep. Could that be defined as a block? Depends on your point of view. Either way. Damn.

Robinson didn't have a perfect evening, as mentioned above. With 12 minutes remaining in the second quarter, Anunoby eventually shed off a Robinson block making the stop on Dan Herron after the two-yard gain.

TIME: 2nd Q, 8:26
RESULT: Dan Herron two-yard run

Bengals with standard I-formation, strong-side to the left. Robinson snaps the football and man-handles Jason Shirley (that Jason Shirley) down the line of scrimmage until Herron broke the line of scrimmage. Easy enough. On the following third-and-one, Robinson shifts Shirley but the defensive tackle recovered just enough to clog the lane, forcing the Bengals to punt.

TIME: 2nd Q, 4:03
RESULT: Dan Herron four-yard loss

Mario Harvey lined up in the A-gap, between Robinson and left guard Dennis Roland. After snapping the football, Robinson's assignment was the gap that Harvey was threatening. Unfortunately he wasn't as quick with Harvey exploding through the gap, dropping Herron for a four-yard loss.

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