LAKE FOREST – Simplicity often is the most effective course of action, no matter the arena.
For the Bears, the “keep it simple” will be applied heavily to fifth-round selection Dominique Robinson. The former dual-threat quarterback turned wide receiver turned defensive end is still refining his pass-rushing skills, and the Bears don’t plan to put too much on his plate early on.
“I would say try to keep it as simple as possible with him,” defensive line coach Travis Smith said Tuesday. “With any young players, it’s not just him, the more they’re thinking and the more they’re trying to look at or watch or see or anticipate or remember, the slower they’re going to play.
"So, if myself and Justin Hinds, can keep it as simple as possible, so he’s looking at one key and playing extremely fast and using his technique and fundamentals, that’ll help him out as well as the rest of the veterans, rookies, included.”
Robinson was inspired to move to the defensive side of the ball by watching Chase Young. He has only been on defense for two years, so he still is incredibly raw. But his potential is tantalizing, and he has been making a positive impression early in his NFL career.
“It’s definitely his want to,” Smith said of what sticks out about Robinson. “For a guy who’s only played really one year at D-end, he’s very eager and hungry and willing. And he’s looking for more information. And the best thing that I’ve seen from him and our young guys right now is the stuff we talk about in meetings, we see it show up the next day in individual, or you see it show up in a team drill. So, it’s not something that you have to talk about 40 times.
“It’s something that you can watch on tape, talk about in the meetings and maybe walkthrough, and then Boom, they’re doing it on the field. So that’s exciting to see with him and the other young guys.”
Given his pedigree as a former wide receiver and elite athleticism, the Bears are understandably excited about Robinson’s ceiling.
Bears defensive coordinator Alan Williams said they plan to give every player a specific role to master before adding more to their plate. With Robinson, the plan is what you’d expect for a rare athlete who still has much to learn at the position: Use your elite traits to make an impact.
“What you do see at the D-end position is you still see the athleticism, and you can still see the speed,” Smith said when discussing the flashes Robinson has shown. “So, our whole goal with our group with the front is to make sure to keep it as simple as possible so they can play as fast as possible. That’s our goal. No matter what. That’s my job, and it’s Justin Hinds, our assistant D-line coach’s job. So, what we see already is that speed within the athleticism.”
The Bears expect Robert Quinn, Al-Quadin Muhammad, and Trevis Gipson to do most of the damage off the edge. But Robinson has the Bears’ staff excited, and their simple approach could be the best way to mold Robinson from raw prospect into draft steal.