NFC South: William Robinson

Looking at Saints' offensive snaps

February, 12, 2013
Aside from right tackle, where a series of injuries forced many changes, the New Orleans Saints' offensive line was exceptionally durable in the 2012 season.

Guard Ben Grubbs and center Brian De La Puente each took part in all 1,107 of New Orleans’ offensive plays. Guard Jahri Evans missed two plays and left tackle Jermon Bushrod missed four.

Here’s the percentage breakdown of playing time for the rest of the New Orleans offense:

Looking at New Orleans' free agents

February, 11, 2013
Time to continue our look at the NFC South’s potential free agents with the New Orleans Saints.

Their list includes left tackle Jermon Bushrod, linebacker Jonathan Casillas, backup quarterback Chase Daniel, defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis, receiver Devery Henderson, linebacker Ramon Humber, cornerback Elbert Mack, defensive end Turk McBride, tackle Will Robinson, receiver Courtney Roby and linebacker Scott Shanle. Center Brian De La Puente, center Justin Drescher, defensive end Junior Galette and running back Chris Ivory can be restricted free agents. Safety Rafael Bush, guard Eric Olsen and tight end Michael Higgins can be exclusive-rights free agents.

The big names are Bushrod, who has made himself into a Pro Bowler, and Ellis, a former first-round pick. Although the Saints have major salary-cap issues, they are likely to at least make an attempt to keep Bushrod. But it’s important to remember the Saints aren’t like most other teams when it comes to their philosophy on paying offensive linemen. They have a history of paying more to guards (see Jahri Evans and Ben Grubbs) than they do to tackles and Bushrod could get big money on the open market.

Ellis never has lived up to his draft status and, with the Saints switching to a 3-4 defense, I’m not sure he’s a good fit for the scheme.

Henderson and Shanle used to be key players. But age started to catch up to them last season and I don’t see the Saints making a big push to keep them.

NFC South afternoon update

December, 19, 2012
Let's take an afternoon run through some odds and ends from all around the division:


In this Insider post, Insider KC Joyner makes a strong case for Matt Ryan to win the Most Valuable Player award. Ryan has had a great season, but Peyton Manning, Tom Brady or Adrian Peterson probably will win the award.

Coach Mike Smith said Thomas DeCoud and William Moore have played as well as any safety tandem in the league. He’s right. Both of those guys took some time to develop, but they’ve turned into very solid players this season.

Pro Football Focus has its own choices for the NFC Pro Bowl roster and you’ll see multiple NFC South representatives. But the one choice that kind of surprised me was Atlanta right tackle Tyson Clabo. You don’t hear much about him, but Pro Football Focus says he’s the NFL’s most consistent right tackle.


Quarterback Cam Newton had a pretty profound quote when he said he’s found out as the season has gone on that the Panthers aren’t a one-man team. Makes you wonder if Newton perhaps was trying too hard when he struggled early in the season. Whatever, he certainly has looked much more comfortable recently.


Dallas coach Jason Garrett danced around questions over speculation Sean Payton could end up taking his job. There really isn’t anything Garrett can say. He just has to hope the Cowboys end the season well and Payton and the Saints can agree to a contract.

Right tackle Zach Strief (ankle) sat out Wednesday’s practice. His backup, Charles Brown, already is on injured reserve, so it looks as if William Robinson could get another start.


Check out this Insider post Insider in which Matt Williamson said that rookie linebacker Lavonte David reminds him of Derrick Brooks. David still needs some work to get to Brooks’ level, but he’s had an excellent rookie season.

Receivers coach P.J. Fleck, who has been hired as the head coach at Western Michigan will finish the season with the Buccaneers.

Coach Greg Schiano said he doesn’t plan to reduce running back Doug Martin’s carries with the Bucs out of the playoff race. That makes sense. The Bucs need to get back on a good track and carry some positive momentum into the offseason. Martin is one of their best offensive players, so there’s no reason to stop giving him the ball.

St. Louis coach Jeff Fisher had some praise for quarterback Josh Freeman, who hasn’t been getting much praise from Tampa Bay fans in recent weeks.

Wrap-up: Saints 41, Buccaneers 0

December, 16, 2012

Thoughts on the New Orleans Saints' 41-0 victory against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome:

What it means: The Saints were playing for nothing but pride and the way they went out and dominated says a lot about their character. They improved to 6-8 and they have a chance to finish the season with some positive momentum. The momentum is going in the other direction for the Bucs, who fell to 6-8. It wasn’t that long ago that the Bucs were 6-4 and very much in the playoff race. But they’ve lost four straight and if they keep going like they are, all the progress they seemed to be making early in the season will be wiped out.

Rethinking the future? For most of the season, I’ve been saying the Bucs would be wise to sign quarterback Josh Freeman to a contract extension as soon as possible. Now, I’m starting to think they might be smarter to wait. Freeman threw four interceptions against the Saints and completed less than 50 percent of his passes in the two previous games. I still think Freeman, who is under contract through the end of the 2013 season, can be a franchise quarterback, but the Bucs might want to wait until he shows he can play well consistently.

Next man up: The Saints put safety Malcolm Jenkins on injured reserve Saturday. Isa Abdul-Quddus used the increased playing time to make a positive impression. He picked off a Freeman pass and made five tackles.

Bouncing back: I thought Jabari Greer was the best cornerback in the NFC South the past couple of seasons. But, for a variety of reasons, he didn’t seem to be the same player in the first 13 games. Against the Bucs, Greer stepped up and intercepted two Freeman passes.

What pass rush? The Saints were without injured starting right tackle Zach Strief. They put his backup, Charles Brown, on injured reserve Saturday and had to start former practice-squad player William Robinson. So you would expect that the Bucs should have been able to put some pressure on Drew Brees, right? Wrong. The Bucs recorded one sack and Brees threw for four touchdowns.

What’s next: The Saints play at Dallas next Sunday. If coach Sean Payton doesn’t sign a contract extension with the Saints soon, we’re going to hear a week’s worth of speculation about him possibly landing with the Cowboys. The Bucs host the St. Louis Rams next Sunday.

The injuries that matter most

December, 14, 2012
The Friday injury reports are out and there are some significant injuries all around the division. Let's take a look:

NFC South afternoon update

December, 13, 2012
Lots of odds and ends have been popping up around the division this afternoon. Let’s take a quick run through them:


It’s starting to sound as if receiver Roddy White's knee injury might be a little more serious than initially thought. White missed his second straight day of practice Thursday and coach Mike Smith said the receiver’s playing status for Sunday could be a game-time decision. Go grab Harry Douglas for your fantasy team.

On the bright side, cornerback Asante Samuel, who has been bothered by a shoulder injury, said he’s ready to return.


The Panthers remain pretty banged up. Running back Jonathan Stewart, receiver Brandon LaFell, defensive tackle Dwan Edwards and center/guard Geoff Hangartner each missed their second practice of the week. Defensive end Charles Johnson (back) also was added to the injury report and missed Thursday’s practice.


Reported testimony from the appeals hearings said that former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams wanted to stop the bounty program, but assistant head coach Joe Vitt told him not to. On Thursday, Vitt strongly disagreed with that claim. Vitt said when he was questioned about that matter during the hearings, he offered to take a lie-detector test.

The Saints continue to have issues at right tackle as Zach Strief and Charles Brown both missed another day of practice due to injuries. If they can’t play Sunday, William Robinson likely would get the start.


The Bucs are relatively healthy as they get ready to play the Saints. Cornerback LeQuan Lewis was the only player that didn’t practice fully. But Lewis did participate on a limited basis in Thursday’s practice for the first time since suffering a knee injury.

The Bucs just announced they have signed guard/tackle Derek Hardman and released guard Hayworth Hicks.

NFC South evening update

November, 28, 2012
ATLANTA -- Let’s take a look at the latest headlines from around the division:


Tight end Tony Gonzalez continues to say he’s 95-percent certain he’ll retire after the season. That could end up being the case, but I don’t think anyone is going to force him to retire. He still is playing at a high level. If he wants to continue, I think the Falcons would encourage that.


With defensive tackle Ron Edwards out for the season with an injury, second-year pro Sione Fua is expected to move into the starting lineup. Might as well throw him out there and let whoever is coaching this team next season determine if Fua has a future.


Offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael said he has heard nothing from Boston College about its opening for a head coach. Carmichael is a Boston College graduate with a nice history. I think it’s only a matter of time before he at least is contacted by Boston College.

William Robinson said he is sore after his first NFL start. That beats the alternative because Robinson was working as a bouncer at a Los Angeles bar before the Saints turned to him after injuries to their first three right tackles. If Zach Strief and Charles Brown can’t play Sunday, Robinson could get his second career start.


Although first-year coach Greg Schiano has cleaned a lot of problems out of his locker room, former Bucs’ tight end Jerramy Stevens reportedly was arrested for violating probation.

NFC South afternoon update

November, 27, 2012
Time for a quick cruise through the top headlines from around the division:


Starting cornerbacks Asante Samuel (shoulder) and Dunta Robinson (illness) did not participate in Tuesday’s practice. That creates some reason to worry with the New Orleans Saints coming to town Thursday night. Robert McClain has done pretty well as the nickelback. But, if he’s moved into the starting lineup, the Falcons would have to rely on Christopher Owens and Dominique Franks.


Defensive tackle Ron Edwards was placed on injured reserve with a dislocated elbow. This probably signals the end of Edwards’ time with the Panthers. He was a big free-agent signing last year but got hurt in the preseason and missed all of last season. The Panthers will need to trim salary-cap room after the season and Edwards is a prime candidate to be released. Coach Ron Rivera also said running back Jonathan Stewart could miss some time with an ankle injury. That would mean more carries for DeAngelo Williams.

If you’re a Carolina fan, you probably already are looking ahead to next year’s draft. In this Insider post, Steve Muench takes a look at Carolina’s needs. The item above provides a big hint about one area that’s been a problem spot for a long time. But Muench also addresses wide receiver and safety.


Rookie right tackle Bryce Harris was placed on injured reserve after breaking a bone in his leg in his first career star. Harris was playing because of injuries to Zach Strief and Charles Brown. Interim coach Joe Vitt expressed optimism that Strief, who practiced on a limited basis Tuesday, will be able to return for Thursday night’s game with Atlanta. If Strief isn’t ready, the Saints would have to turn to the recently-signed William Robinson.


With cornerback Eric Wright serving a four-game suspension for using Adderall, Mark Cook has a relevant story with an agent’s perspective on why so many players are using the prescription drug.

The Bucs also just announced they have placed safety Cody Grimm and offensive tackle Jeremy Trueblood on injured reserve.

Saints hope to have Zach Strief back

November, 26, 2012
The New Orleans Saints could have their fourth starting right tackle Thursday night when they play the Atlanta Falcons.

Interim coach Joe Vitt just told the New Orleans media that rookie Bryce Harris, who started in Sunday’s loss to San Francisco and left with an injury in the first quarter, will not be available for the Atlanta game.

Zach Strief, the original starter, has been sidelined with a groin injury. He practiced some last week, but was not activated Sunday. Vitt said Strief was not close to being ready for the San Francisco game. Vitt said he has some hope Strief, who first was replaced by Charles Brown before he suffered an injury that cleared the way for Harris, might be ready for the Atlanta game.

If not, the Saints likely will have to start recently signed William Robinson at right tackle.

Wrap-up: 49ers 31, Saints 21

November, 25, 2012

Thoughts on the New Orleans Saints' 31-21 loss to the San Francisco 49ers at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Sunday.

What it means: The Saints fall to 5-6. You can’t erase them from the playoff picture just yet, but it’s getting dangerously close to that point. With a schedule that looks challenging the next few weeks, the Saints have almost no margin for error. They almost have to run the table if they’re going to have any shot at the playoffs. A 10-6 record probably would put them into the postseason. A 9-7 record would give them an outside chance. Anything less than that won’t be good enough.

Not all on the defense: It would be easy to look at San Francisco’s point total and put all the blame on the New Orleans defense. That’s been the case much of this season. But not this time. Two of San Francisco’s touchdowns came on interceptions off Drew Brees that were turned into touchdowns.

Injuries pile up: Due to injuries to Zach Strief and Charles Brown, the Saints were forced to start rookie Bryce Harris at right tackle. That didn’t last long as Harris was injured and carted off the field in the first quarter. The Saints had to turn to recently-signed William Robinson. That’s not a situation you want to be in against a strong San Francisco pass rush and Brees had to deal with pressure all game and was sacked five times.

Milestone time: Marques Colston became the franchise leader in touchdowns scored when he caught a second-quarter touchdown pass. Colston now has 56 career touchdowns. Deuce McAllister held the previous team record with 55 touchdowns.

What’s next: The Saints face a very quick turnaround. They have to play the Falcons on Thursday night in Atlanta.

NFC South injuries that matter most

November, 21, 2012
Let’s get an update on the most significant injuries from around the NFC South.


Coach Greg Schiano said it’s too early to tell if cornerback Eric Wright, who did not practice Wednesday, will be able to play Sunday. Wright has been dealing with an Achilles tendon issue for several weeks. The Bucs have been giving cornerbacks E.J. Biggers and Leonard Johnson extended playing time recently, and Anthony Gaitor began practicing Wednesday, after opening the season on injured reserve with the designation as eligible to return.


There was a bit of an encouraging sign as right tackle Zach Strief (groin) returned to practice Wednesday, although it was on a limited basis. Charles Brown, who had been starting in Strief’s place, missed practice with a knee injury. If Strief and Brown aren’t ready to go Sunday against San Francisco, it’s likely the Saints would have to start, recently signed William Robinson.


The Panthers don’t have to provide an injury report until Thursday because they don’t play until Monday night at Philadelphia.


As we previously reported, coach Mike Smith said he’s very optimistic linebacker Sean Weatherspoon (ankle) and receiver Julio Jones (ankle) will be able to practice this week. Updating that, it turns out Weatherspoon did practice Wednesday. Jones did not, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Falcons test out his ankle Thursday or Friday.

NFC South afternoon update

November, 20, 2012
It’s been a pretty quiet day in the NFC South. That’s not uncommon because Tuesday generally is a day with no practices and a day off for players. But we’ve got a few odds and ends worth noting.
  • Tampa Bay safety Ronde Barber has the longest active streak of games started at 209. Washington linebacker London Fletcher (193) is the next guy on the list and his streak may end due to an injury. It’s the same story for Detroit center Jeff Backus, who is third with 186 consecutive starts. Barber is tied with Fletcher for the most consecutive games played in (234) and Barber could have sole possession of that if Fletcher sits out.
  • The Buccaneers announced that cornerback Anthony Gaitor, who was on injured reserve with the eligible-to-return designation will begin practicing Wednesday. Gaitor’s return could give the Bucs some much-needed depth because starter Eric Wright has been dealing with an Achilles tendon injury.
  • With center/guard Joe Hawley suspended for four games after violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances, the Falcons filled his roster spot by signing guard Harland Gunn. An undrafted free agent this year, Gunn first was signed by the Dallas Cowboys and then spent time on the New Orleans practice squad.
  • The Saints are dealing with a similar situation on their offensive line with right tackles Zach Strief and Charles Brown both dealing with injuries. As a result of that, the Saints have signed offensive lineman William Robinson, who was on the New Orleans practice squad last year.

Ingram, Casillas out for Saints

December, 26, 2011
NEW ORLEANS -- The Saints will be without several injured players for the “Monday Night Football’’ game with the Atlanta Falcons.

No big surprises since all three of these were pretty much expected. Running back Mark Ingram, linebacker Jonathan Casillas and defensive end Turk McBride have been declared inactive.

Also inactive for the Saints are cornerback Leigh Torrence, offensive tackle William Robinson, tight end Michael Higgins and receiver Adrian Arrington.

Vilma, Ivory inactive for Saints

November, 28, 2011
NEW ORLEANS -- Linebacker Jonathan Vilma and running back Chris Ivory will not play for the New Orleans Saints on Monday night.

Vilma has been sidelined by a knee injury. Ivory is healthy, but the Saints elected to activate only Darren Sproles, Mark Ingram and Pierre Thomas for this game.

The other inactives for the Saints are offensive tackle William Robinson, tight end Michael Higgins, receiver Adrian Arrington and defensive end Turk McBride.

Catching up on NFC South transactions

September, 5, 2011
We told you earlier Monday the Carolina Panthers signed Geoff Hangartner, who has a chance to start immediately at right guard. There also have been a bunch of minor transactions around the division. Let’s catch up on them now.
  • The Panthers waived offensive lineman C.J. Davis to clear a roster spot for Hangartner.
  • As expected the Buccaneers officially announced the signing of linebacker Zac Diles. The team also announced it had claimed tight end Zack Pianalto off waivers from Buffalo. To create roster spots, the Bucs waived cornerback D.J. Johnson and defensive end George Johnson. Don’t be surprised if they wind up on the practice squad.
  • The Buccaneers also announce they have signed eight players to their practice squad. They are tackle Will Barker, safety Ahmad Black, quarterback Rudy Carpenter, tight end Collin Franklin, receiver Ed Gant, tight end Daniel Hardy, running back Mossis Madu and linebacker Derrell Smith. All eight were with the Bucs in the preseason.
  • The Falcons filled out their practice squad by signing tight end Marquez Branson, who spent 2010 on the team’s practice squad.
  • To make room for tight end John Gilmore, the Saints released linebacker Ramon Humber. The Saints also signed tackle William Robinson, guard Dennis Landolt and receiver Montez Billings. They released long-snapper Kyle Nelson, quarterback Sean Canfield and center Cecil Newton from the practice squad.