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Robinson keeps role in perspective

In this Oct. 2, 2011, photo, Atlanta Falcons' Dunta Robinson blocks in the second half of an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks in Seattle. The $22 million cornerback earns more notoriety for a physical style of play than his coverage skills. Though he likes having a tough image, Robinson wouldn't mind a few more interceptions. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

In this Oct. 2, 2011, photo, Atlanta Falcons' Dunta Robinson blocks in the second half of an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks in Seattle. The $22 million cornerback earns more notoriety for a physical style of play than his coverage skills. Though he likes having a tough image, Robinson wouldn't mind a few more interceptions. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

FLOWERY BRANCH -- Dunta Robinson's second year with Atlanta is much like his first.

The $22 million cornerback has earned more notoriety for his physical style of play than his coverage skills. Though he doesn't mind having a tough image, Robinson would appreciate a few more interceptions. He has no picks this season and just one in 23 games with the Falcons, including last season's playoff loss to Green Bay.

"Of course, you'd like to be all over the field making a ton of plays," Robinson said Thursday, "but it's just not presented right now."

When Robinson signed a six-year free-agent contract with Atlanta in March 2010, the Falcons introduced him as the shut-down cornerback they desperately lacked in the secondary.

Many fans might have expected more interceptions from such a high-priced player, but coach Mike Smith says Robinson has filled his role with aplomb.

For Smith, it's simple: In the Falcons' 4-3 defense, the eighth-year veteran is doing exactly what he's asked to do.

Brent Grimes, who starts at left cornerback, has more chances at interceptions because opponents continue to challenge him in hopes he will jump routes. Grimes was targeted as often as any cornerback in the NFL last year, but the former practice squad player turned those chances into a Pro Bowl season.

Meanwhile, Robinson goes about his business in blanketing the right side and providing strong run support.

"This year, I'm not even sure what the (targeted) numbers say, but Dunta has been an integral part of what we're trying to do," Smith said.

"He fits very well into our scheme."

Smith has strongly defended Robinson's hard style during their season and a half together.

Games against Philadelphia the last two years included a pair of penalized hits in which Robinson was flagged for leading with his helmet. In a Week 6 loss last season, Robinson was fined $25,000 for a hit on DeSean Jackson that caused concussions for both players.

In a Week 2 victory this year, Robinson's hit on Jeremy Maclin resulted in another $25,000 fine.

Robinson doesn't seem to mind that his reputation might have changed in some people's minds.

He's only following the same approach that led Houston to draft him No. 10 overall in 2004 out of South Carolina. Robinson will not apologize for playing his position hard.

"I've always, always been a physical presence," he said. "I've always been a physical corner and that's what got me drafted at the No. 10 spot, you know? So that part of my game hasn't changed. I made the same physical plays in college and for years in Houston."