Seven defensive snaps.
That’s all that rookie seventh-round linebacker Mark Robinson saw on Sunday in Week 15 against the Carolina Panthers in just his third game he’s been active for all season.
While the seven snaps aren’t much, they marked the first true defensive snaps the former running back turned linebacker at Ole Miss saw in the NFL.
Of the seven snaps, Robinson saw four on run plays and three in coverage against the Panthers as a reserve linebacker behind the likes of Devin Bush and Robert Spillane with Myles Bush was inactive due to an ankle injury.
Though Robinson played fast and physical downhill, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin wasn’t ready to make any definitive statements on the rookie linebacker after Sunday’s showing, telling reporters Tuesday during his weekly press conference that it was not enough of a sample size overall.
“Not enough of a sample size to make any bold statements. Great for him to get an opportunity to get some play,” Tomlin stated to reporters Tuesday, according to video via the Steelers’ official YouTube page. “Hopefully he gets an opportunity to get some more play. I know he’s been doing the things day to day from a detail and professionalism standpoint that make us comfortable to be open to that, which is a good thing for him.”
Robinson didn’t record a tackle in the 24-16 win over the Panthers, but he was certainly involved in the game as soon as he hit the field.
On his first career snap, Robinson fired downhill against the run and was in on the tackle for loss from defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi and should have been credited with an assist. He had an issue in coverage being a bit overaggressive and not communicating well on one rep, but he was as expected against the Panthers, which was playing downhill with force and determination.
All gas, no brakes.
That’s who Robinson was in college at the linebacker position, and that carried over into his debut defensively for the Steelers in Week 16.
Based on his performance in limited snaps, as well as his preparation day-to-day — which is a huge public vote of approval from Tomlin — there’s a good chance Robinson gets to see more playing time down the stretch as the Steelers try to figure out what they have in the rookie linebacker looking ahead to 2023.
Not enough of a sample size overall to have a definitive take from Sunday’s showing, but overall Robinson looked the part.