Amik Robertson spent his rookie season last year behind the curve without any offseason program. Now he’s looking to make a big jump this season in his second year.
“I was really down on myself because the Raiders drafted me to make an impact immediately,” he said. “When I came here, that’s what I thought. Then when I took a step back, I was kind of down on myself.”
He said it took him until about midway through the season that he figured out what his role was going to be and got comfortable with it. He also had a conversation with coach Jon Gruden that helped him manage expectations.
“He told me, ‘You can’t rush greatness,’” Robertson said. “It’s a process. You’re gonna have some adversity. From that moment, I didn’t look at in a negative way. I looked at it in a positive way and find a way to get better.”
Entering his second year, with a season under his belt and a full offseason as well, Robertson is comfortable enough to not only work on his own game, but to help this year’s rookie defensive back Nate Hobbs as well.
“We’re two of the youngest guys,” Robertson said. “Each and every day, I’m gonna compete and learn from you and you’re gonna learn from me as well.”
Second year improvement expected in all of last seasons rookie class
Robertson, along with his fellow rookie class from last year, all feel they have something to prove in their second year. Robertson was a fourth round pick last season, joining wide receiver Henry Ruggs III, corner Damon Arnette, wide receiver Bryan Edwards, linebacker Tanner Muse and guard John Simpson.
“All the first year guys, when we had that meeting, Gruden told that we have to take a big jump to help the team win. All of us took that personal,” Robertson said.
Gruden said is coaching staff takes a lot of pride in the process of making his players better.
“We’ve had a chance to develop players and that’s all that coaches can do,” Gruden said. “We can draft and we can trade, and we can sign guys, but at the end of the day coaches are here to develop players and I’m really excited about the job our staff has done. I’ve seen some of these young guys really get better.”
One of the things Robertson is working on in his second year is adding some versatility to his role. He’s been playing both nickel and outside corner.
“At nickel, you’re like another linebacker,” he said. “You have to know run gaps. You’re kind of like a quarterback on defense. You have to communicate with everybody. Jets, motions. At corner, you don’t have to know too much. You only have a certain amount of coverage you have to make.”
Perryman has a chance to fill big role
With the linebacker group getting a little thinner because of injury, the Raiders found a way to plug the gap with not only an experienced player, but someone vary familiar with what the team is trying to do.
Ex-Charger Denzel Perryman comes in having played last season under Raiders Gus Bradley, who was the Chargers defensive coordinator for three seasons.
“He’s had some good plays out there as a middle linebacker in this defense, with this staff, against us,” Gruden said. “So it would be nice to get a couple of these guys that know our staff that can play.”
There’s another element that Gruden appreciates as well.
“He’s also an alpha, A-L-P-H-A,” Gruden said. “I like those guys. He’s a fiery, alpha presence and I think we need that on our defense, especially in the middle of our defense. And with Nick Morrow, [Nick] Kwiatkoski, Javin White hurt, we need help and to get a guy that can help us of this stature could be a real, real positive thing for us.”