CARDINALS CORNER

Cardinals rookie defensive lineman Darius Robinson listening to learn in Year 1

Jun 8, 2024, 4:09 PM

TEMPE — “How do you get wisdom when you talk and never listen?”

For Arizona Cardinals rookie defensive lineman Darius Robinson, that’s the quote he continues to live by as he finds his NFL bearings.

“That’s all I’m doing right now is listening as much as I can,” Robinson said Wednesday.

“Once I get more comfortable, make some plays, become an established player then (I’ll be more vocal),” he added. “Right now, I’m just a listener. I’m not saying anything, just take notes.”

Robinson picked up this way of thinking while trying to keep his head from spinning as a freshman at Missouri. Luckily for the lineman, he had multiple seniors who helped him along the way. Their tutelage was a big factor in Robinson’s success playing multiple spots along the defensive line.

His support system at the pro level appears just as solidified. Veterans like Justin Jones, Bilal Nichols and Ben Stille, who calls Robinson on the regular to go over the playbook, act as Robinson’s new version of senior help.

“It’s been great. J. Jones, Bilal, those are two good vets for me to learn from,” the young defender said. “I just sit in the meeting and take notes and just listen to all the conversations between our coaches and veteran players.

“Ben Stille has been a great vet. He calls me at night and we go over the plays together,” Robinson added. “I got a lot of guys in my room that want the best for me. I’m just a learner. I’m going to listen as much as I can.”

What’s been Darius Robinson’s biggest challenge so far?

Less than two months since he walked across the NFL Draft stage in Detroit, Robinson’s biggest challenge is one a lot of rookies can relate with.

“The playbook honestly,” Robinson said. “In college when you line up, it’s this call no matter what. When you get to the NFL, when they do this, we do this. When they do this, I do this. It’s always learning these checks and what not. Just getting in my playbook and reading through the script and figuring out what I have.”

But while Robinson believes that’s his biggest hurdle, his head coach doesn’t have that same thinking.

“He’s doing a really good job of where he needs to get aligned, what he’s doing with each call,” Jonathan Gannon said Wednesday. “Moving him around a couple of positions, he’s doing a good job handling that. (His intelligence) jumps out. He’s made some mistakes but he’s not struggling with the playbook.”

Gannon is far from the only person within the Tempe training facility with that thinking, either.

“He’s definitely a smart player,” veteran leader Justin Jones said Monday. “I feel like he’s going to play as long as he wants to play. He has a great understanding of ball. I feel like he knows scheme, he knows concepts, he’s a very, very smart player. And I haven’t even touched on his athletic ability. I’m just talking about his knowledge of the game.”

Accountability key for Darius Robinson

On top of Robinson wanting to nail down the playbook backwards and forwards, reaching another level as a teammate is also among his top priorities this offseason.

“Learning my teammates, I need to do a better job of that honestly and really knowing my teammates’ names,” Robinson said. “I need to be a better teammate and learn more of my teammates’ names and stuff like that.”

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