By Brett Martel
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
METAIRIE, La. _ Saints defensive co-ordinator Rob Ryan issued an endorsement Friday for third-year cornerback Corey White, who took over at right cornerback for Patrick Robinson during last Sunday’s loss at Cleveland.
“He’s an ascending guy,” Ryan said of White, a 2012 fifth-round draft choice. “He’s doing great. He works hard. He knows what he’s doing. He’s a physical player and we’re really excited about his progress.”
White took over what was essentially a starting role for a little more than three quarters in Cleveland after Robinson struggled early.
Robinson was moved to nickel back for the remainder of the game, removing him from the base defence.
He said the in-game demotion was hard to deal with, but that he expected to learn from it.
“You know, you mess up, you’ve got to own up to it and try to get better from there,” Robinson said.
Ryan did not say whether intended to put Robinson back in the base defence this Sunday against Minnesota.
When asked if nickel back is a better fit for Robinson, Ryan said only that Robinson plays a tough position because most observers can easily tell when a cornerback is beaten.
“He’s been matched up in a lot of different situations and things,” Ryan said. “When you’re out there on a corner and things aren’t going your way, everyone’s going to notice. … It’s a tough world out there, so I know Patrick’s going to work hard and get better just like all of us are.”
Robinson, a first-round pick in 2010, committed a 19-yard pass interference penalty during the Brown’s first scoring drive, which ended when receiver Miles Austin left Robinson flat-footed with an inside move, setting up his easy 3-yard touchdown catch.
Ryan said Robinson “obviously” gave Austin too much room to release off of the line of scrimmage, but also stressed that covering Austin in that situation was no easy task because the receiver had room to break outside, too.
“It’s tough when a guy’s got a nasty split like that in straight man coverage,” Ryan said. “You know, it’s hard. He can go either side.”
Robinson was New Orleans’ starting cornerback in 2012. His three interceptions that season tied for the team lead with Jabari Greer. But he spent nearly all of 2013 on injured reserve after tearing ligaments in his knee in Week 2.
Fully fit in his return this season, he initially won back his starting job over White and Champ Bailey. White started the season as the nickel back while Bailey was cut.
Against Cleveland, Robinson was plagued by communication and alignment problems, and didn’t help himself by jumping offside on a missed field goal attempt. The penalty gave the Browns a second chance, which they converted.
For the game, Cleveland gained about 60 yards by throwing Robinson’s way _ including the pass interference penalty _ though Robinson did succeed in breaking up a deep pass by making a difficult play on a ball thrown over his head.
Robinson was also penalized for defensive holding on Cleveland’s game-winning drive, thought that penalty was declined because of a 28-yard reception across the field that set up a field goal in the final seconds.
Robinson said the defence as a whole recognized how several seemingly slight errors had significant consequences in the loss. He said fine-tuning some details of his technique should vastly improve his own performance, adding that he had “a lot of motivation” to get that done.
Notes: The Saints ruled out LB David Hawthorne for Sunday’s game because of an ankle injury. Others ruled out included FB Erik Lorig and S Marcus Ball, who haven’t yet played this season. Coach Sean Payton had ruled out RB Mark Ingram (broken hand) earlier in the week.
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