Imagine being in your twenties and renting a house with five buddies on Hermosa Beach, California for about a month. The wide, flat beach in the Los Angeles area is known for sunbathing, surfing, and beach volleyball.
Sounds like fun right?
But for Bengals quarterback Zac Robinson and five friends from other NFL teams that share the same agent, the purpose of the house was not fun in the sun.
“We put our money together and got that house and a trainer for six weeks,” Robinson told me. “We figured that you only get this chance once in a lifetime, so we all had the same mindset to go out there and work. So that’s basically what we did. We played a little golf, but for the most part, it was a lot of hard work.”
Robinson hopes that renting that house helps him secure a long-term NFL home. In two professional seasons, Zac has been employed by four teams – the Patriots, Seahawks, Lions, and Bengals. Robinson has played in seven preseason games with New England and Detroit, but has not appeared in a regular season game.
“This is my third year and I’ve had maybe 20-something throws in the preseason,” said Robinson. “In my situation, that’s kind of where you make your mark – in the third and fourth quarter of the preseason games. Hopefully, I’ll get an opportunity to play in the games and play well.”
The former Oklahoma State star is 15-for-30 for 162 yards with 1 TD and 0 INT in his NFL preseason games. Perhaps it should be no surprise that the Bengals signed Robinson last September after he was waived by Detroit, since Zac was 2-for-2 with a 28-yard touchdown pass against Cincinnati in last season’s exhibition opener (you can see the TD pass here).
“He’s shown some signs of being pretty good,” said Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden. “He has the arm to make all the throws, now he has to translate it mentally and make quicker decisions.”
“I thought he was really good in college,” said Bengals radio analyst Dave Lapham who saw Robinson play at Oklahoma State. “He’s a smart guy and has a good football IQ. I think he’s worth working with – let’s put it that way.”
Robinson spent all of last season on the Bengals practice squad as the third string quarterback behind Andy Dalton and Bruce Gradkowski.
“I think it helped me out a lot,” said Robinson. “(Quarterbacks coach Ken) Zampese and I stayed after practice every single day for 45 minutes, so we got to work on a lot of footwork stuff. I tried to observe a lot because the top two guys got most of the reps against the defense, so I tried to absorb everything.”
“Today he got stuck with the ball in his hands way too many times,” said Gruden after one of the Bengals minicamp practices in June. “He would have been carted off. He has to pick up the tempo and his decision making has to be quicker.”
When the Bengals open training camp next week, it appears that Robinson will be battling rookie Tyler Hansen to be this season’s third string QB. How they fare in preseason games could determine who sticks.
“That’s what we’re living for right now,” said Robinson. “That’s your opportunity to put it on tape.”
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