Falcons’ Dunta Robinson says he needs to be better

Dunta Robinson arrived at Falcons' training, knowing he has to be better this season. (Phil Skinner/AJC).

Dunta Robinson arrived at Falcons' training camp, knowing he has to be better. (Phil Skinner/AJC).

Dunta Robinson is smart enough to know that there’s a sliding scale for professional athletes. When salary shoots up, expectations rise with it. Win, and bask in the spotlight. Lose, and burn in it.

Give Robinson credit for this. He’s not running from criticism, or the burn. The Athens native came back home last season and signed a $57 million free agent contract with the Falcons with the hope and expectation of giving them some help at cornerback. Help, he did – just not as much as fans would’ve like, media would’ve liked and most importantly he would’ve liked.

The Falcons’ pass defense was better in 2010, but well short of brilliant (22nd overall). In the playoff loss to Green Bay, defensive backs seemed like milk bottles being knocked over by Aaron Rodgers in a carnival game. It obviously wasn’t all Robinson’s fault: There were another 10 Falcons on the field (most of them looking like scattering fire ants). But he could’ve been better in the game and in the season. It’s what impact players are supposed to do. The contract creates that expectation level.

When asked Friday to grade himself on a scale of 1 to 10 last season, Robinson didn’t hesitate to flog himself.

“About a 5,” he said.

Dunta Robinson arrived too late to stop Jordy Nelson for a 6-yard touchdown catch early in last year's playoff loss to Green Bay. (AP photo)

Dunta Robinson arrived too late to stop Jordy Nelson for a 6-yard touchdown early in last year's playoff loss to Green Bay. (AP photo)

He remembers getting burned for a touchdown early against the Packers, saying, “My eyes got distracted for a second, and the ball got outside of me. You tell yourself later, ‘If I make a play there, maybe the game’s not the same.’

“When a quarterback has a game like that, it’s tough on everybody. But as a cornerback, the only way you can make an impact in a game is to make a huge play. I didn’t make that play.”

We should add some perspective here. Robinson really wasn’t that bad. Opposing quarterbacks targeted him on 90 pass plays last season, which ranked 24th among NFL cornerbacks. So there’s a respect factor there. By comparison, Brent Grimes was targeted 124 times, which ranked first in the league. Robinson was burned for 53 catches (58.9 percent) and three touchdowns. He had seven pass breakups and one interception.

Again, the numbers are not dreadful. They just don’t scream “game-changer.” Defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder said early in the week that the Falcons’ “pass defense has got to get better. It’s still a concern for us.”

But when asked specifically about Robinson’s play last season, VanGorder said, “He had a good year. He didn’t get as much action as [Grimes] but he settled down that position.”

He expects to be better. For starters, the addition of Ray Edwards should improve the Falcons’ pass rush, which obviously takes pressure off the secondary. (The Falcons ranked only 20th in sacks last season.) Secondly, his head won’t be spinning as much in year two. There was an adjustment period last season, switching from the predominantly man-to-man schemes in Houston to the Falcons’ mostly zone alignments.

Robinson admits there also was pressure that came with returning to play for his home team — and, yes, the contract.

“I feel a lot better this year,” he said. “I got very comfortable in Houston. I was there for six years. I came here. New faces, new city. I had to prove myself all over again. It felt a lot different. Last year I was learning to trust these guys and they were learning to trust me. Now I’m like, ‘Let’s play football.’ I just feel more relaxed.”

He doesn’t have a problem with taking blame for the team’s defensive problems — even when he may not deserve it.

That’s refreshing. It’s not a common occurrence in team athletics.

“If you’re going to be in this position, you have to take the good with the bad,” Robinson said. “When things don’t go well, I want them to call my name. I want people to say, ‘What’s he doing to change it?’ because that’s the kind of player I consider myself – an impact player.”

He also knows that if he answers “5″ on the scale again after this season, something will have gone wrong.

By Jeff Schultz

Follow me on Twitter @JeffSchultzAJC; friend me at Facebook.com/JeffSchultzAJC

86 comments Add your comment

Jamaaliver

August 5th, 2011
4:19 pm

JS, you guys are killing us with the lack of blog activity.

Looking forward to seeing Dunta in the system for another year, prepared to be the shut down corner in big games we expect him to be.

ICE Melt

August 5th, 2011
4:19 pm

VIC on 97.5FM Today! He’s ready ta go!! He said Ryan crossed the line talking smack!
Eagles 52, Jets 24!!
Do EAGLES eat Falcons for Lunch? We’ll see Week 2 on NBC..

Word on the street, Randy Moss was seen eating in Philly Last night at the Capitol Grill Restaurant!

Oh no the Falcons secondary is going to get lit up!

B

August 5th, 2011
4:23 pm

Is Bradley fired? What’s going on with the lack of content at the AJC? I understood during the summer, but now there is a lot going on and still a bare minimum of coverage.

A Hit..

August 5th, 2011
4:25 pm

Hey Dunta, I feel for ya. Lined up against Moss and Deshawn? You wont be locking anything but your front door Sunday night week two on NBC…lol Ouch!

Fan

August 5th, 2011
4:32 pm

Well if the Eagles can stay heathy and a dog killer for a QB then okay.. Your beat us good in the past but not this year. The falcons will be dailing up pressure on pressure and we will see what will happen with those girls on offense in Philly… I am taking it back too Philly woooow we are scare in GA

REAL TALKER

August 5th, 2011
4:41 pm

Where did all these Philly Bandwag…uh diehard fans just come from out of nowhere, I don’t comment much but I do read the AJC daily and ya’ll didn’t exist no more than two weeks ago. Moss hasn’t even sign anywhere but ya’ll got him plug in the roster already lol what a joke oh btw didn’t the Jets pull the same “we got two star studded corner” thing last year and still get scored on. Be realistic with yourself and your blog post.

Robert08

August 5th, 2011
4:45 pm

Was I living in an alternate universe when Vick was quarterbacking the Falcons? Honestly, I don’t remember any Super Bowl wins during his time here.

MatthewH

August 5th, 2011
4:48 pm

Uh-oh Jeff. You mentioned Brent Grimes in this blog. Look out for his wife!!
Glad to see Robinson stepping up. He CAN be an impact player.

juvenal

August 5th, 2011
4:48 pm

i need to be better too….humilty is a good start…wish they took Bowers….have a good vacation, Mark…..

juvenal

August 5th, 2011
4:50 pm

funnist thing i heard today (on 92 )was the phillie guy who said there will be more people next wed. wearing green than at an eagles game………

cheshire

August 5th, 2011
4:55 pm

If you had to live in a cess pool like Philadelphia, you’d be miserable too

And yeah, I dunno… something about going against a dog killing felon who can’t do anything consistently (he didn’t look scary at all by the end of the year) doesn’t bother me that much.

Falconfan76

August 5th, 2011
4:59 pm

Dunta will b just fine,just wait.

As for the Philly,Aints fans bumping there gums….. u guys are scared obviously. I’m not into the “if this & if that” crap. To bad ur mothers didnt think like u,cause “IF” she had used hre mouth instead,none of us would b stuck listening to you bandwagon idiots today!

cheshire

August 5th, 2011
5:01 pm

I think what Philly fans don’t understand is that you have to actually put together a complete team. Putting 3 awesome corners together doesn’t matter if you don’t have any linebackers or defensive tackles. Having Mike Vick is great unless you don’t have an O-line to protect him (especially since the guy is becoming more injury prone every year).

So yeah, good luck with that. If media hype translated to Super Bowls, you’d be in great shape. Unfortunately….

Falcons4Eva

August 5th, 2011
5:04 pm

Oh damn…here this blog go. Back down that VICK road again. Get a life all you “Ex-Falcon-fans-because-Vick-is-no-longer-here”

Listen all true ATL Falcon fans. Don’t get into a back and forth debate with those idiotic Philly / Vick fans this year or on this or any other blog. Just ignore them. They have less and less to say if you did. Just ignore them. Your response to those FOOLS and IDIOTS only adds fuels to their demented minds. You’re making their day because they have NO LIFE at all.

Damn…I’m kickin’ myself for just commenting about them. Just let my post be the last word on Philly and Vick. As much as I dislike D. Orlando Ledbetter, I do admire the fact that his blogs band ANY mentioned of the word VICK (at least last year it did).

Go Falcons and Geaux to Hell-Saints.

Dr. Warren

August 5th, 2011
5:11 pm

Words mean nothing. Let the games begin.

Nathan D

August 5th, 2011
5:21 pm

its a great thing this guy knows he needs to get better maybe if he plays like he did in houston this defense will be a lot better.

Jeff Schultz

August 5th, 2011
5:28 pm

Jamaaliver — On slower blog pace: Sorry, a lot of slow news days in summer. Also vacation days. No worries, things will heat up again.

Jeff Schultz

August 5th, 2011
5:29 pm

MatthewH — Hah. I think I’m safe, thanks.

Whopper Dawg

August 5th, 2011
5:39 pm

Glad to hear he is disappointed in last year, I know I was.

BIG-D

August 5th, 2011
5:56 pm

Either your good our your not,quit with the exuses!Prime was good from day one,no matter what team he went to.Cut the dreds so you can see,
GO FALCONS!

rm

August 5th, 2011
6:03 pm

I’m encouraged by his attitude. Hopefully he will be the impact player that they are paying him to be, right?

GO FALCONS ............. sAints stink

August 5th, 2011
6:05 pm

Dunta gets a 57 million dollar contract to play at 50%.

Sid

August 5th, 2011
6:08 pm

Yep Dunta, you are right. You can be better.

Najeh Davenpoop

August 5th, 2011
6:17 pm

“Was I living in an alternate universe when Vick was quarterbacking the Falcons? Honestly, I don’t remember any Super Bowl wins during his time here.”

I remember something, though, something that hasn’t happened since he left… you know, playoff wins.

Delbert D.

August 5th, 2011
6:21 pm

Philadelphia is a cesspool? Not when compared to Oakland. We used to listen to Murder on 8th Avenue every weekend, and that wasn’t a radio show.

JSS

August 5th, 2011
6:34 pm

Cry, cry, and cry some more about the fans of other teams taking you to the woodshed… Trash talking is a two-way street! Humble confidence would go a long way to ending the onslaught of savage tongue lashing that Falcons favored bloggers take…

On Robinson, I said it the 2nd weekend of the last preseason, that need to play zone is going to get them killed… Lo and behold, teams with quality TE’s and multiple wideout sets went to town on the back 7. DeCoud, Moore, and the nickel are the ones who need to step in coverage so the corners can play press coverage. Yeah, getting better pressure from the 5 in the box would be great; but if I can drag route those safeties or have my 2nd or 3rd wideouts running around free in zones for YAC, then this might be ugly…

You can call me a troll or gloom and doom, but those, were, and are the facts… You are welcome to hide on Ledbetter’s “Snarky Central” blog where you “never” look at the Falcons team objectively; but instead feel the need to be cheerleaders instead of fans… There’s a big difference in that point…

1eyedJack

August 5th, 2011
6:46 pm

Jeff, you’re saving the good stuff for later…right? I’m thinking Ray Edwards changes the whole dynamic of the secondary. For the better.

Reid Adair

August 5th, 2011
7:07 pm

I respect Dunta Robinson’s comments, but the pass coverage would benefit tremendously from an improved pass rush as Brian VanGorder mentioned. Hopefully Ray Edwards will help with that.

TIM

August 5th, 2011
7:35 pm

Hey D U N T A Are you giving some money back cuz u stink.

real falcons fan

August 5th, 2011
8:11 pm

It’s nice to have a player like D.ROB. it takes a man to stand up and be counted,especially when other things are part of the problem. thank you d.robinson for being a true falcon!

steven A.

August 5th, 2011
8:38 pm

Not Duante’s fault entirely…
Brian Billick would be a great hire. Assistant head coach. Plus, he’s part of the Mike Smith family.
This guy won a Super Bowl with great defense and TRENT DILFER. Need i say more. Mr. Mularky
and Vangroder are philosophically holding the team hostage. Vanilla offense and predictable defense.

steven A.

August 5th, 2011
8:42 pm

ABSOLUTELY UNACCEPTABLE!!!

After that playoff loss to Green Bay, i would have let Vangroder go immediately.. You can not allow a
team to come into your backyard and blow you out 48-21. Embarrassing.

Bob Rathbun

August 5th, 2011
9:02 pm

Philly fans are the defenition of hypocrits…they used to talk so much smack about Vick when he was a Falcon….now love him…can’t wait til he comes back and I hop we tap a little hot sauce on that piece of crap.

Joe Tess Fish House

August 5th, 2011
9:12 pm

Donta Roberson is nothing but a cheep shot artist. The Flacons o

Joe Tess Fish House

August 5th, 2011
9:13 pm

The Falcons over paid 4 him

Red Lobster

August 5th, 2011
9:19 pm

Farm Raised Rubber for $17.99 a plate.

Matt "CHOKE" Ryan

August 5th, 2011
9:50 pm

Falcants fans are bigger losers than the loser they have called CHOKE.

They hate facts, but embrace The Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus and The Easter Bunny. Hell on a good Falcant day, you will see flying pigs :)

The bottomline is that Vick was the last qb to win a game for this sorry franchise, yet CHOKE is the 2nd coming of Peyton.

If I was Peyton I would kick is NOODLE ARM in groin for damaging his legacy as a playoff winner :)

2004 & counting fools :)

drmaryb .(*_*).

August 5th, 2011
10:32 pm

Walk & Talk!

Hey Dunta! Shut Up and Make A Play – Period.

alpha9

August 5th, 2011
11:30 pm

did the Steelers fire the d cordinator or release Troy P after Aaron Rodgers made them look like an exoansion team Defense…Oh yeah by the way Mike Vick couldn’t stop Green Bay Either..Nobody could they were white hot

alpha9

August 5th, 2011
11:32 pm

expansion missed the p sorry..Not that moral victories mean anything but when the falcons lose to a team in the playoffs.that team plays in the superbowl

alpha9

August 5th, 2011
11:33 pm

awwww CHOKE is back

alpha9

August 5th, 2011
11:36 pm

I also don’t understand why Falcons fans love MV7 so much when he has admitted that he didn’t take his time her serious after Mr.Blank made him the highest paid player..He crapped on the franchise with laziness and mediocrity and is commended for it..No wonder sports fans around the world laugh at us

A Hit..

August 5th, 2011
11:38 pm

Mr Blank, You got a better shot @ buying the Hawks and winning a Championship!

drmaryb.(*_*)

August 5th, 2011
11:18 pm

*tired of renting movies”

drMaryb has fans

Davy Dmx

August 5th, 2011
11:43 pm

I find it interesting that Philly fans are out in force because of all the talent their team has assembled for this season. If i recall YOU STILL HAVE TO PLAY THE GAMES and speculating how well your team will do beforehand will only make the fall more painful if your team fails to live up to the expectations.

A Hit..

August 5th, 2011
11:48 pm

Mr Blank fired Dan Reeves wihch was a huge mistake hired in 2004 that Clown Jim L. Mora as Head Coach and past up on Lovie Smith, he gets what he deserves! Blank was not innocent…Yes Vick was a cocky SOB! What was Mr. Blanks excuse?
Not to be confused with his father Jim E. Mora.
Jim L. Mora Jim L Mora 2006-11-19.jpg
Mora as head coach of the Falcons
Date of birth November 19, 1961 (1961-11-19) (age 49)
Place of birth Los Angeles, California
Position(s) Defensive back / Head Coach
College Washington

Seattle Seahawks
(head coach)

James Lawrence “Jim” Mora (born November 19, 1961) is an American former NCAA defensive back and National Football League head coach. As of 2010, he is currently an analyst for the NFL Network.

On February 5, 2009, the Seahawks signed Mora to a five year contract to become the team’s next head coach when then head coach Mike Holmgren retired following the 2008 season. Mora was fired on January 8, 2010, after going 5-11 in his only season as the Seahawks head coach.

Mora is the son of retired NFL head coach Jim E. Mora. To differentiate between the two, Jim Mora is often referred to as “Jim Mora Jr.”. However some, like Monte Kiffin, refer to him as “J.L. [Mora]”

A Joke!!

A Hit..

August 5th, 2011
11:53 pm

Losing 48-21 @ home after going 13-3 was a heck of a fall……for sure…

Hey Dunta,so called future lockdown cb..Just call in sick.stay home for game 2, cause its going to be ugly..

A Hit..

August 5th, 2011
11:57 pm

Mr Blank hired that clown Jim Mora over Lovie Smith? He is not innocent!..After he fired the best HC the Falcons ever had in Dan Reeves. He gets what he deserves…………

A Hit..

August 6th, 2011
12:03 am

Hey Mr. Blank why dont you bring back your favorite linebacker of all time in Keith overated Brookings?

JSS

August 6th, 2011
12:10 am

And the blog degenerates into one of those Vick love/hate cat calling contest now…

By the way, sure they have to play the games; but the Eagles and Packers have filled their glaring holes. That’s not to be to taken lightly with name calling. When you can’t develop it in-house (see Jamal Anderson and Michael Jenkins), you better get it on the open market in a wise way. That is the way you avoid making choices like Peerless Price.

TheAntiMe

August 6th, 2011
5:43 am

Well, Eagles fans, all I know is that you can lead a dog to water, but your QB Mike Vick CAN make him sink!

It’s been proven in a court of law.