Robinson makes early splash in Falcons' deep WR competition

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) A big preseason debut with the Falcons allowed Aldrick Robinson to stand out in a deep competition at wide receiver, if only for the day.

Then it was back to the training camp grind in one of Atlanta's most competitive positions.

Robinson showed his big-play potential with receptions of 47 and 68 yards in Atlanta's 23-17 preseason win over Washington last week. He had three catches for 118 yards.

''We've been working so hard. To have the success I had, it feels good,'' Robinson said Monday.

The team's depth chart for Thursday night's preseason game at Cleveland includes Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu as the starting receivers. Robinson and Justin Hardy are the top backups.

Eric Weems, whose chances are greatly helped by his experience as a return specialist, rookie Devin Fuller, Nick Williams, J.D. McKissic, Jordan Leslie, Corey Washington and David Glidden also are competing for spots.

''I'd say it's a deep group. That's what we've learned, number one,'' coach Dan Quinn said after practice Monday.

Jones said Robinson's big debut was no fluke.

''He had a great game for us,'' Jones said. ''But there is more to come from Al.''

The ability to earn a spot on special teams could be crucial.

McKissic, a rookie free agent from Arkansas State, showed excellent speed when he returned a kickoff 101 yards for a touchdown to open the second half against Washington. He added a 14-yard punt return.

Robinson knows he also must make his mark on special teams.

''I'm not a starter so I've got to find a way to get on the field on game day to try to help this team,'' he said. ''If that's special teams, I'm willing to do that.''

Hardy is pushing Sanu for the No. 2 job, but Jones' status as the leader of the group is unchallenged. Jones is coming off his first All-Pro season.

''I like the competitiveness of the group,'' Quinn said. ''It certainly helps when the leader of that group has a standard of how well he works. When you see him busting it like that, it's pretty hard not to follow suit.''

Robinson signed with Atlanta on March 15, two weeks after the team released veteran Roddy White, who holds most of the Falcons' career receiving records.

The Falcons also released receiver and return specialist Devin Hester before training camp. Veteran Lance Moore announced his retirement on Aug. 8, only three days after signing with the team.

Robinson is one of the most experienced receivers in camp. He had three starts while playing in 36 games in four seasons with Washington.

NOTES: The Falcons broke camp on Monday afternoon, meaning players were allowed to move out of the dormitory at the team's practice facility. ... DT Chris Mayes, an undrafted rookie from Georgia, had X-rays after leaving practice with a foot injury. There was no immediate report on the results. ... RB Tevin Coleman returned but had a limited number of reps after being held out Sunday because of the heat. ... CB C.J. Goodwin, a converted WR, was held out with an undisclosed strain. Quinn said he is hopeful Goodwin will return Tuesday and play Thursday night.

---

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide—from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Andy Staples, Grant Wahl, and more—delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.