Are the Chicago Bears phasing wide receiver Allen Robinson out?
Robinson’s agent Brandon Parker “liked” a tweet following Chicago’s 33-22 Week 8 loss to the San Francisco 49ers that suggested exactly that. The tweet, sent out by Chicago Sun-Times beat reporter Russ Dorsey, said this: “It really feels like there has been a concerted effort to not get Allen Robinson the ball. I know he’s been banged up and it could just be not getting as open, but they’re not even looking his way.”
Robinson rolled his ankle in the Bears’ Week 5 win over the Las Vegas Raiders, and he has been playing through it. He has had just nine catches for 90 yards in the three games since, so it’s possible the injury, coupled with A-Rob still forming on-field chemistry with rookie quarterback Justin Fields, could be contributing to his slow start.
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Robinson Has Recently Commented on His Chemistry With Fields
“That’s something that we’re continuing to build on, continuing to get reps in practice,” Robinson said last month about his chemistry with Fields. “There weren’t any snaps that we kind of took in training camp. A lot of these things, we’re trying to build on.”
The reason there weren’t many reps for A-Rob and Fields is long-covered territory: Bears head coach Matt Nagy was set on Andy Dalton starting over Fields, so Dalton got months of work with the first team leading up to the start of the season, while Fields worked with the second team. Unsurprisingly, the rookie QB has generally had more chemistry with the team’s reserves as a result.
Robinson also had some interesting comments on October 19 about what it has been like getting used to Fields’ playing style, preferences and tendencies:
I mean, when you have a person like him, it definitely plays a part in having to fine-tune more … Definitely, definitely I would say that’s a little bit different. That’s something that we’re still … because it’s tough to get those looks in practice sometimes maybe because a play might be blown dead, or throughout training camp, guys are laying off the quarterback, so as he’s making guys miss and stuff like that, when you go through training camp and go through practice, some of those plays may be blown dead. So now being able to get in the game, like, OK, we have these plays that are going on for 5, 6, 7 seconds, as far as understanding as far as what we want to get accomplished once that starts to happen.
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So, is Robinson Being Phased Out?
It’s certainly possible based on what has gone down the first half of the season so far. Robinson has 26 catches for 271 yards and a TD on the season. Second-year wideout Darnell Mooney seems to have a far better rapport with Fields, currently leading the team in receptions (33) and yards (409).
Part of Fields’ chemistry with Mooney likely has something to do with the fact that the two have been working out and spending extra time together after practice getting throws in. There have been no reports — during the regular season, anyway — of Robinson and Fields putting in extra work or spending additional time together to try to get their timing down. That could be a factor here.
The Bears had an opportunity to trade Robinson, but now that the trade deadline has come and gone, that’s not happening. All signs point to his exit in 2022 — unless he suddenly develops some chemistry with Fields over the next nine games. If the Bears wanted to keep A-Rob around long-term, they’ve had plenty of opportunities to do so. They haven’t. Thus, after everything that has happened, it’s looking like his days are surely numbered in Chi-Town.
For his part, A-Rob is just trying to make the best of his opportunities, however limited they may be.
“Just trying to control each of my opportunities,” Robinson said on October 19. “Just trying to be able to get open when I can, make plays that we maybe are not necessarily supposed to make or make some of the unscripted plays and things like that. Again, just try to be the player I can be just to make his job easy and for myself, to go out there and also continue to get better each and every week, and just like I said before, just trying to maximize and capitalize on my opportunities.”
We’ll see if his opportunities increase during the second half of the season.