What Are They Thinking?

Gary MialocqContributor ISeptember 30, 2009

Michael Robinson Makes Clutch Fourth Quarter Catch vs. Redskins

That has been the theme on several 49er forums when it was pointed out that Mike Singletary will stick with just two RBs and keep Kory Sheets on the practice squad. Many pointed out his speed and ability to get to the corner as something that is needed to balance the power running that this team likes to feature. Some even say that Sheets should be No. 2 ahead of Michael Robinson.

Unfortunately, many of these fans are thinking with their hearts and not their heads. Sheets is an excellent pure runner, no question. But, he is a liability as a blocker and that puts Shaun Hill in danger. That is not worth the risk
Michael Robinson, however, is known as a punishing blocker and is very good in close in one-on-one situations. Just ask Patrick Willis, who found out the hard way when he faced Robinson one on one in Singletary's famous Nutcracker drill. Robinson can also play No. 2 FB, and is a great receiver out of the backfield.
Lest we forget, the second half of last season, Hill and Robinson connected on 17 passes for 201 yards and an average per catch of 11.9 yards. Here is a 36 yard completion against the Rams: CLICK HERE.

That was good enough to be No. 3 in the NFL among all RBs with 10 or more catches. Sheets can't do that. This doesn't even take Robinson's proven leadership qualities as a team captain and star on special teams.

People also underestimate Robinson's ability as a runner. This season he has worked closely with Tom Rathman, and at 225, he is more like the old-time fullback. CLICK HERE to see him gain 97 yards in just 14 carries vs. the Raiders in preseason.

One more important factor is that Michael Robinson has great hands. Not only is he an outstanding receiver out of the backfield, but he has lost only one fumble in his career, and is very dependable in the clutch.

One more consideration. In order to activate Sheets, Singletary would have to cut one player. Forums are screaming for Mark Roman's head, but let's not make him the fall guy. He has played extremely well in these three games and is an outstanding man for the dime package. Lewis made a great catch. Had we been a bit more creative, we may have run the clock out with under 2:00 and the pass would never have been attempted.

Let's accept the loss and move on. The Rams are waiting...

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