Allen Robinson's says instincts helps him win jump balls

Allen Robinson should expect to see more 50-50 balls thrown his way as part of the Jaguars' regular offense. Stephen B. Morton/AP

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- There have been times when Jacksonville Jaguars receiver Allen Robinson has watched tape of a practice and been mystified.

Not over a defensive formation or play call, but about how in the heck he managed to make a leaping, body-contorting catch when he was being covered pretty well.

"Sometimes [he does wonder how he caught the ball]," Robinson admitted. "That's really just on instincts. Just go up there and find a way to make a play and you end up making it."

Robinson did that twice for 88 yards against Miami last Sunday. He out-jumped cornerback Brent Grimes for a 36-yard reception and out-jumped cornerback Brice McCain for a 52-yard catch. In each case, Robinson was covered pretty well but still came down with the football.

Expect to see more of that. After seeing Robinson making those types of catches in organized team activities, minicamp, training camp and now the regular season, offensive coordinator Greg Olson and quarterback Blake Bortles said throwing 50-50 balls to Robinson is going to be a regular part of the offense.

"I think there's a fine line of how much you do it, but I think a guy like that you've got to give him his opportunities," Bortles said. "He has to have balls thrown his direction in order to make plays. I think you've definitely got to give him opportunities."

Not every receiver can make those kinds of plays, but Robinson can because of his size (6-foot-3), athleticism, and ability to jump out of the gym (39-inch vertical leap). However, he said none of those things are his biggest asset in those situations.

"Just instincts," Robinson said. "That's my main thing, just going up there trying to get it at its highest point. A big thing is just instincts for me."

Coach Gus Bradley said last season he wanted Bortles to throw more 50-50 balls to Robinson. He's matched up with a smaller cornerback down the sideline? Throw it up. First and second reads are covered but Robinson has a small amount of separation? Throw it up. The key is throwing the ball in way that allows Robinson to have a chance to make a play.

It took a bit of time for Robinson and Bortles to develop trust in each other but they're in sync now.

"The physical talent that he has and obviously the jumping ability, he is obviously kind of a physical specimen," Bortles said. "I think anytime as a quarterback you throw a ball up there you hope your guy is better than theirs and goes and makes a play. He's a guy that has the ability to do that every time.

"So it's always cool and as a quarterback [it's] good to have a guy like that."

Bortles has to be careful that he's not doing it too much, and he's not doing it in the wrong situations, either. Robinson isn't always going to make the catch and sometimes the ball will be intercepted.

"I think there is a fine line, but I don't think we've reached it yet," Olson said. "It's a big man's game. We've always said that. It really is in the National Football League. If you have size and speed, which he possesses, and a jumping ability, it certainly plays to his advantage.

"He'll continue to develop and can get better. He'll be the first one to tell you that he'll continue to get better. That's what we're excited about."

Which means Robinson could be spending a lot more time watching film and wondering how he did what he did.