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Allen Robinson Focuses on Taking the Next Big Step

Without the new contract he has worked toward all offseason, Allen Robinson seeks out ways to improve himself as well as the Bears offense

Allen Robinson has been through seven NFL seasons and it's long enough so he knows how to avoid frustration over business matters.

Certainly he'd like a contract extension with his deal expiring after 2020 but it's not the time to talk about, Robinson said.

"I mean it's different things that go into it between the team and my agent and stuff like that," Robinson said Friday via Zoom. "You know, but for me I'm not really too focused on that right now. My main focus is on camp.

"You know, we have a game in about a month. So not having OTAs, kind of starting a little bit slower in training camp and stuff like that, my main focus is getting right for Week 1 and whatever happens with that happens."

Robinson seemed a bit less patient when he talked on ESPN AM-1000 in Chicago.

"We haven't heard nothing," Robinson said at the time. "I think just as far as me and my agent, from the conversations that we've had, we're not necessarily anticipating hearing anything at this point. For us, we're going into camp preparing ourselves to have a good year."

Considering Robinson was targeted 154 times last year, so it's a pretty good bet the Bears haven't forgotten about Robinson. It is now the time of year when they usually conduct contract talks, but the delayed training camp resulting from COVID-19 could push this back a bit. It's easier to talk cash when you know you've finished training camp without major injury and the need to use remaining cap cash for help had ended.

COVID-19 also affects salary caps for next year, although GM Ryan Pace at the outset of camp said it shouldn't prevent the Bears from getting done anything they want to get done. Presumably this means Robinson's deal. 

After 98 receptions, Robinson is thinking bigger and better rather than cash and carry.

"For me, it's just my main focus is keeping my body right," Robinson said.

To ensure durability for a full season, he began working with Chicago sports performance doctor Michael Tal Risher. Running back David Montgomery also works with Risher.

"I know for myself if I play 16 games, I'll be able to give my teammates and my team everything that I'm here to give," Robinson said. "So for me, that's always the main focus, just different core work, foot placement and ankle stability and stuff like that."

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For Robinson, it goes beyond getting better physically. His game is more vertical than speed. It's how he was able to convert 26 third-down catches for first downs, second most in the league. He also knows he can definitely get more yardage after the catch, and as a result is working on better route running.

Last year Robinson finished with 272 yards after his 98 catches. It was only 60 yards more than the previous season, when he was coming off knee surgery. Even with the seventh most catches, he was 73rd in the NFL in YAC and his average yards per catch barely cracked the top 150. So he worked at route running to find needed separation.

"Big thing was just getting better at the top of the route, being able to be more explosive in and out of my breaks," Robinson said. "That was a big thing that I focused on, especially certain intermediate routes. You know, being able to train myself to want to create the proper separation that I want to create.

"Also, being able to create some more separations in my route will give me some more run-after-the-catch opportunities which is something that I want as well this season."

There are two other ways Robinson's YAC numbers can go up, and he has little to do with either.

A more efficient Bears offensive scheme is one, and that goes back to new offensive coordinator Bill Lazor.

"For me personally, with the scheme that we have and what we're doing, I could tell where we were going and the direction we were going in," Robinson said. "So I'm definitely excited to get out there and go full speed against the defense and see what we have."

The other way is quarterback. This is a receiver with ridiculous numbers considering he has had Blake Bortles and Mitchell Trubisky as his quarterbacks. 

Nick Foles could present a great opportunity, and then there is always a possibility Trubisky has improved in Year 4.

"A big portion of this game is mental, and the more mental acumen that you can have on that field and between those lines and the more information that you can retain and keep, that helps you play a lot faster," Robinson said. "I think as far as Mitch, you can just tell when he steps onto the field the things that he sees that happens a lot faster—his recognition and stuff like that, which is fun to see."

For Robinson, it would be fun to see a new contract as well. In lieu of cash, better passes to chase might be even more fun.

After all, it could lead to an even larger contract.

Twitter: BearDigest@BearsOnMaven