NFL

Linebacker Keenan Robinson fitting in with the Giants

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) Linebacker Keenan Robinson is one of many new faces on the New York Giants defense, and probably the one with the most to prove.

While the Giants signed defensive end Olivier Vernon and defensive tackle Damon `Snacks' Harrison to long-term, big dollar deals in an effort to improve the NFL's worst defense, Robinson got a one-year contract for $2.51 million.

The 26-year-old has a good shot at replacing the retired Jon Beason at middle linebacker and also getting time at the weak-side spot if he can stay healthy.

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In each of his four NFL seasons, he has never played more than 13 games. Pectoral injuries cut short his rookie year in 2012 and wiped out his second year. Robinson had his best year in 2014, starting 13 games and finishing with 109 tackles. He had a shoulder injury last season and finished with 63 tackles, starting 8 of 12 games.

Now he's making the transition to Steve Spagnulo's 4-3 defense along with Olivier, Harrison and others. It's a veteran group, so Robinson doesn't see a problem. They will all pick it up as they go.

What's exciting for Robinson is looking in front of him. The defensive line now features Olivier and Jason Pierre-Paul on the ends and Harrison and Johnathan Hankins at the tackles. It's an imposing front four if everyone plays to their potential.

''You know they are going to do their job and know they are going to do it very well,'' Robinson said Wednesday after an organized team activity. ''For us, it's like on every run play, let's get the scraps because there might not be nothing left for us with JPP, OV, Hankins. They might get to the ball carrier before we even get there.''

When Robinson signed with the Giants many penciled him in at middle linebacker ahead of Jasper Brinkley, who started much of last season.

Robinson not only believes he can play the middle, he also feels he can use his athleticism to help in pass coverage. The Giants linebackers have been poor in that area in recent seasons.

Spagnuolo on Wednesday also had him make the defensive calls for the first time.

''I expect to do that and do that well; be able to take control, take command,'' Robinson said.

There is still learning to do, and Robinson did some Monday night on his flight from Austin, Texas to the OTA. He watched a feature on former coach Tom Coughlin instead of one on Hall of Famer Michael Strahan. Ben McAdoo replaced Coughlin after last season.

''I wanted to know where coach McAdoo got all his philosophies from,'' Robinson said. ''It was almost the same things. He keeps the five minute (early) clock thing. He keeps attention to detail in practice, every second accounted for.''

It was a history lesson and a chance to learn what's expected.

''The next time I'll watch the one on Michael Strahan,'' Robinson said with a laugh.

NOTES: WR Victor Cruz continues to work out with the trainers in his bid to play after missing all but six games the past two seasons. ...WR Odell Beckham Jr., Pierre-Paul and CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie were not at Wednesday's activity. Rodgers-Cromartie has not attended the OTAs. Beckham and JPP called McAdoo and explained their absences. ... Rookie Nat Berhe and rookie Darian Thompson alternated working at safety with the first team, playing opposite Landon Collins. ...Second-year pro Geremy Davis filled in for Beckham. ''He's a guy that is a big, physical guy we can rely on,'' McAdoo said. ''He knows the offense very well and seems to be hitting his stride right now.''

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