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BillyCarpenter1 08-12-2003 02:14 PM

Jets: Robertson yet to prove they made smart move

Jets: Robertson yet to prove they made smart move

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Star-Ledger Staff

When a player makes an impact play in practice or a game, Jets coach Herman Edwards says he has "flashed."

It could be a 30-yard strike from a quarterback, a nifty grab by a wide receiver, a sack or tackle by a defender. It's usually a play that a casual observer can spot if he's paying attention.

Over the first two preseason games, rookie defensive tackle Dewayne Robertson -- the team's celebrated first-round draft pick -- has yet to flash. At least to the naked eye.

He has recorded only an assisted tackle and no sacks in eight series (approximately 40 to 50 plays) and has been outplayed by the Jets' second-round pick, linebacker Victor Hobson.

While Edwards is saying all the right things publicly, and insists Robertson is progressing nicely, privately there is growing concern among teammates that Robertson won't be the immediate impact player the Jets had hoped he would be this season.

Drafted fourth overall, Robertson cost the Jets two first-round picks, including the 13th pick overall obtained from Washington for wide receiver Laveranues Coles, and a club-record $13 million two-tier signing bonus. He has been compared to Tampa Bay's Warren Sapp.

"I don't see it," said one defensive player, who sees Robertson practice regularly.

In Sunday's 28-13 victory over the Bengals, Robertson finished with only an assisted tackle in 5 1/2 series. Though he was double-teamed at times, he spent a good part of the time going against Bengals rookie guard Eric Steinbach, a second-round pick.

"Dewayne played okay," Edwards said after reviewing film of the game. "I think sometimes he's flashing and you don't see it. I mean, you don't see the little things that he has to do, the things that he's doing to really allow some other guys to make some plays. I think that kind of goes unnoticed.

"With (defensive) linemen, you see them flash when they make a sack, or they tackle a guy behind the line of scrimmage. A lot of times if he's not doing that, he's making some plays where he's causing some havoc where some other guys are making some plays. I think that's important, too. If you don't look at it with a fine eye, it's kind of hard to see that sometimes. He's coming along fine."

Problem is, for the investment the Jets have made in Robertson, he shouldn't be taking baby steps against a fellow rookie like Steinbach. He's not just supposed to doing just "little things." He should be dominating a player like that, or at least making some plays.

Robertson did neither.

It should be noted, however, that in the four series played by the Jets' first-team defense -- a unit that included Robertson -- Cincinnati rushed for just 14 yards on seven carries. In those series, the Jets forced a turnover, had two three-and-outs and another stop.

Robertson, who has been forced into the starting lineup because of the drug suspension of Josh Evans, said after the game that he felt he played "all right" and he's trying to learn the tricks of the trade.

"Everybody is big and strong," he said. "It's just some guys might not be as smart as other guys. So I'm trying to be like an A student out there."

This week, Robertson may have a chance to learn from an old pro. Veteran defensive tackle Chester McGlockton will step up his practice reps and is scheduled to play in Saturday's preseason game against the Saints at Giants Stadium.

"That's kind of the plan," Edwards said.

Even with the slow start of Robertson, the Jets defensive line figures to be formidable this season, especially if McGlockton has something left. Defensive end John Abraham and Shaun Ellis are playing well, and veteran nose tackle Jason Ferguson is having a strong camp.

"They've done a good job," Edwards said. "They really picked up their play this week. That's where it all starts for us, on the defensive line. If those guys can get going and cranking up, the energy of the whole football team kind of follows in suit.

"I think when they can penetrated and play on the other side of the line of scrimmage, really put pressure on the quarterback, that really helps us."

coastalkid 08-12-2003 03:35 PM

Jets: Robertson yet to prove they made smart move
I wasn\'t overly impressed with our #1 last night either. He did nothing to show me his value. We also gave up two first round picks for this guy and a ton of money. What did he show you guys????? Did anyone see anything that he did that was note worthy???

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