FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- There are a few different things players liken their rookie year training camps to. It's like drinking water out of a fire hydrant, or running a marathon, not a sprint. Bijan Robinson said understanding this fact is something he had to get through his mind pretty early on.
With the way the Falcons are looking to use the young running back as an offensive weapon (not just as a running back), he's got a lot of information to gather in a relatively short amount of time. He'll play a big role in this offense in his first year, and the coaches are pushing him like he is.
"They're helping me out a lot," Robinson said of the coaches around him, from head coach Arthur Smith to offensive coordinator Dave Ragone to running backs coach Michael Pitre. "We have a lot of meetings... We are always doing some sort of studying. I understand that learning a lot of different things for the offense it can be taxing for your mindset, but for me, I take it every day, one day at a time, and understand God put me here to do this kind of thing."
His coaches advice to him? Don't settle for anything. Stay working, even when it's a lot of work.
"There's always a guy who's trying to come up to either get you or there's a guy you're playing against that you gotta just work harder than them," Robinson said. "I've been trying to work as hard as I can out here."
But a hard lesson rookies have to learn is they can't do everything right away. There's a learning curve when coming into the league, ask any player young or old and they'll agree. It goes back to the earlier metaphors, as well as Robinson's own point about taking things one day at a time. It's a cliche, yes, but for Robinson, it's a cliche he's living by right now, especially considering the high level the Falcons will need him to operate at come the season's start.
That's a responsibility Robinson welcomes, that's why he's wanting to learn everything, but in due time and in the right way.
"For me, I'm a player that loves to give an opportunity to my offense, whether it's me lining up out wide, lining up in the slot, or trying to give the offense another opportunity to maximize ourselves," Robinson said. "I think me just learning so many things, especially now, I think it can help you as a running back, but it can help you as an all-around player, not being one-dimensional but being able to do so many things and create more opportunities for yourself."
If there's one thing he's learned since being drafted to the Falcons with the No. 8 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, though, it's that practicing patience is an every day occurrence.
"It's understanding that you have to let things come to you and you can't expect everything to be super good right away," Robinson said. "Taking things at a slow pace and not trying to rush into things in order for me to really understand it."
Someone who has been a big help to Robinson early in camp is quarterback Desmond Ridder, who just so happens to be Robinson's roommate at the current moment. Coincidence? Definitely not.
It's football all the time with Robinson and Ridder, which is probably what it should be at this point in the preseason, but Robinson said being able to have that extra time with Ridder is important for the both of them.
"We're always studying and always trying to get the edge on something," Robinson said of his relationship with Ridder. "He's always telling me how I can make something better on the field or a new way to do something. He's been such a big help for me, and I can't thank him enough."
For Robinson, he may be drinking water out of a fire hydrant right about now, but he understands this is a marathon not a sprint. Metaphoric, yes, but accurate, nonetheless. Just ask Robinson.
"I'm a guy who doesn't look ahead," he concluded. "Knowing where my feet are and knowing what I have to do today, and if I don't make it happen today, I'll have an opportunity tomorrow."
Take a look as the Atlanta Falcons put in the work in Flowery Branch during the 2023 Back Together Saturday of AT&T Training Camp.