MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – Bijan Robinson fully understands that high expectations exist. He was a superstar at Texas. He was drafted No. 8 overall, higher than any running back in years. He does, after all, have a phone and family members who own them, too.
He obviously sees high odds of him being offensive rookie of the year capable of putting up huge numbers. He has found a why to tine all that out. How? He has developed a unique defense against social media sorcery. It's ultimately rooted in faith.
Faith in his religious beliefs. Faith in himself, that he'll do the work required to unlock, as Robinson puts it, his "God-given ability" at this level.
That first part is personal. The second is the grind.
Those are two important parts of Robinson and how he operates. They keep him rooted, focused on what's truly important.
"People tell me all time that there are so many expectations, so many things on my shoulders," Robinson said after Wednesday's joint practice against the Miami Dolphins. "Like I always say, I know that God has a plan for me. If it's something he wants for me, it's going to happen. If it's not, it won't.
"I always put my trust in my faith. I'm going to work as hard as I can, like I always say. If you get into that stuff, your work will suffer. There's always someone trying to tell you what you want to hear. When it comes to how I play, I try to let it loose and not talk about it."
We're starting to see Robinson let loose more and more, as he enhances his grasp on his expansive Falcons role.
The Falcons have thrown tons of information at Bijan Robinson since the spring, a tidal wave at first and then reinforcement of concepts, play designs and job requirements ever since.
The goal, of course, is to get the versatile rookie running back to absorb and apply, absorb and apply.
That's not just routes and run tracks. It's so much more.
"As a guy who is coming in and doing so many different things, you want to be as comfortable as you can at everything," Robinson said. "That's not just with the things you're good at. I want to work on the things I'm need to work on. All that comes with reps they're putting me in and the situations they're putting me through.
"That's when my confidence starts building so much more and I'm understanding the game so much more because I'm learning a lot of different things that I didn't learn before. That includes reading coverages and second-level defenders and doing all that pre-snap. Those are things I've gotten comfortable with as I've been learning the way they want me to play."
Robinson doesn't seem to be lacking confidence. He has faith that he can succeed at this level. It comes, Robinson said, as a reaffirmation that the work he's putting in is being done right.
The evidence comes in sessions like Tuesday and Wednesday against the Dolphins, a fast team with a scheme he's not used to and players who don't want to get beat by a rookie. Robinson found ways to make splash plays you'll certainly see on social media. He also found subtle signs of success in identifying coverages pre-snap and pressing his runs and hitting open holes at just the right time.
"I think it's all coming along smoothly," Robinson said. "Every week, when we get the game plan, I already have my routine and regimen on how to study it, how to learn it so I can be as comfortable as I can heading into Week 1."
Doe Robinson need live, tackle-to-the ground reps in the preseason to properly get ready for Week 1? Arthur Smith said Wednesday that his top players will see some time in the preseason, but the exact game hasn't been determined. There's a balance between preserving health and getting some jitters out and feeling a live tackle, but Robinson says he'll take whatever preseason snaps Smith chooses to give him but is getting plenty of work in practice.
"I think, in practice, I get so many live reps against so many great guys," Robinson said. "Whether I'm in the game or not, I think I'll be ready to go."
Take a look as the Atlanta Falcons put in the work with the Miami Dolphins during the 2023 AT&T Training Camp.