Allen Robinson isn't down on his performance as he seeks stronger connection with Justin Fields

Robinson is working to learn the rookie Fields' tendencies.
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LAKE FOREST, Ill. (670 The Score) -- Bears receiver Allen Robinson ran free after a breakdown in the Packers’ coverage and had only an official standing within 20 yards of him late in the second quarter Sunday. He was begging for the football on what could've gone for a 65-yard touchdown.

Seemingly everybody at Soldier Field saw Robinson open, but rookie quarterback Justin Fields, who had rolled out to the left on a naked bootleg play, was still attempting to work through his progressions. Packers defensive lineman Kenny Clark was also breathing down his neck, and Robinson wasn’t a primary read in the play design.

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Fields cocked his right throwing arm before tucking the football and rushing for seven yards and a first down, a positive play for the Bears’ still-sputtering offense but not the game-changing moment they needed in an eventual 24-14 loss to the Packers. It’s a play that Packers star Aaron Rodgers often makes – and one Fields will make in time as he progresses as an NFL quarterback.

For Robinson, the situation was nothing new. Throughout the majority of his eight NFL seasons and 94 career games, he has worked with a young, developing quarterback trying to find his way in the league.

“It’s just one of those things that as a receiver you’ve just got to take it on the chin and move on to the next play,” Robinson said. “So that’s what I did.”

After making a combined 200 receptions across the last two years, Robinson has 21 catches for 234 yards and a touchdown in six games in 2021. He's on pace to fall well short of his best seasons – all while playing under the franchise tag and being set to hit the open market in 2022.

Robinson had six receptions in the season opener on Sept. 12, when the Bears were led by veteran Andy Dalton at quarterback. Robinson hasn't had more than four receptions in a game since Fields stepped in as the starter, but he understands the process of patience. Fields is playing his first NFL games in a tight scheme that requires quick progressions, and often Robinson is being covered by a top cornerback or simply isn't a top read on the play.

For Robinson, the challenge is to establish better chemistry with Fields – both within the design of each play and then when Fields gets on the move and tries to improvise. Robinson isn’t hanging his head over his lack of production. He’s seeking ways to better connect with Fields, whether that’s in practice or studying tendencies on film.

“I’m just trying to control each of my opportunities,” Robinson said. “That’s just trying to make his job easy, as cliché as that may be, but that’s my job. So, just trying to be able to get open when I can, make plays that we maybe are not necessarily supposed to make or make some of the unscripted plays and things like that.

“It’s more of a feel of what he likes. Just watching the film, seeing, OK, this is what he likes in this kind of situation so the next time I may see that or I may want to run a specific route, he may scramble right and I may scramble left -- basically, this is kind of what he wants and what he has a feel for based on where I’m at on the field already, based on which side of the pocket he’s rolling out to. Just a lot of little things like that.

“I would say that’s still somewhat of a work in progress.”

Robinson and the Bears failed to reach an agreement on a contract extension this past offseason, with negotiations breaking down in September 2020 and never picking up from there. Robinson is slated to become an unrestricted free agent again in March, and his individual play is what will speak loudest at the negotiating table.

Playing in another pivotal season for himself personally, Robinson hasn’t been prioritized yet by coach Matt Nagy and the Bears' offense. Second-year wideout Darnell Mooney leads the Bears with 25 receptions. Meanwhile, Robinson is working to build a rapport with yet another new quarterback.

“I’m just trying to capitalize on the opportunities that I do have and whenever they come, just trying to make the play,” Robinson said. “Just trying to go out there and do what I need to do, do what I’ve set out to do. Run my routes, run my routes to the best of my ability and get open.”

 Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for 670TheScore.com. Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.

Featured Image Photo Credit: Bob Donnan/USA Today Sports