When Marshawn Lynch broke 1,000 yards in the Seattle Seahawks game against the New York Jets, the first person Lynch thanked was his fullback Michael Robinson.
It’s hard to believe the Seahawks Pro Bowl fullback is only in his third year with the team, but Robinson came to the Seattle the first year Pete Carroll took over as head coach in 2010.
Robinson visited with Jim Rome on his radio show Friday and discussed topics ranging from teammates Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch, to why he feels the Seahawks are in position to break out following their past two 7-9 seasons and to his transition from Penn State quarterback to NFL fullback.
The first person he gave credit to was rookie quarterback Wilson.
“Our quarterback’s ballin’ man,” said Robinson.
It’s not just that he’s playing well, but he’s already carrying himself at a level that’s not characteristic of a rookie quarterback.
“When Russell walks into the huddle, it’s all upbeat. It’s all positive,” he said. “His poise, the way he talks, you just don’t think that he’s a rookie. You just don’t see rookies talking like that.”
Robinson brings an interesting perspective on young quarterbacks considering he played quarterback in college, finished fifth in voting for the 2005 Heisman Trophy, and was part of the huddle in San Francisco during Alex Smith’s second season.
In contrast to Wilson, he characterized Smith’s presence in the huddle as “unsure” and “a little different.” His comments suggested that Smith had a lack of confidence, and his teammates didn’t see him as a strong leader. Robinson went on to say he’s sure Smith has changed since he’s left.
Rome asked Robinson about what he thought about Wilson in terms of his size the first time he saw the 5’11” rookie quarterback in person.
“The first time I actually physically seen him and said hello, I’m like, ‘wow. I mean, this is a little boy in here,’” said Robinson. “But when he got on that football field, man, the way that he steps in the huddle and just commands the respect of the huddle, he can definitely make plays.”
But it wasn’t just Wilson whom Robinson singled out for the success of the Seahawks this season. He said the Seahawks have a fast, physical, smart team that doesn’t beat itself, plays great defense and runs the ball well.
Robinson attributed a big part of the Seahawks success to head coach Pete Carroll, and how his philosophy is resonating with the core group of guys who are now in their third season together. Rather than having the message only coming from the coaches, players are taking ownership of that message as well and holding teammates accountable.
Beyond Carroll’s philosophy, Lynch is also a big part of their success by setting the tone for the Seahawks with his attitude and passion.
“He’s definitely a great symbol for people who watch the Seahawks,” he said. “You know Beast Mode equals Seattle Seahawks.
Robinson admitted that he was a bit unsure when he heard Lynch was coming to the Seahawks, especially considering some of the incidents off the field that had been reported in Buffalo. That perspective changed as soon as he met him.
“Great dude. Great guy to be around. When I first met him in 2010—totally, totally opposite of what I thought. I had no idea that he was going to be this type of person,” said Robinson. “When I met him and we got to talking—the guy probably has the kindest heart out of any football player I’ve ever met.”
He may have a kind heart, but when Lynch gets on the football field he is anything but kind.
“He walks aggressively,” he said. “Everything he does is aggressive.”
Robinson even made a point to let people know that Lynch is as aggressive about his preparation for game day and between snaps on the field.
“People don’t realize that this guy’s always looking at film, he’s always studying linebackers, he’s always asking the questions,” said Robinson. “We literally talk the entire game about what we’re seeing out there.”
He gave credit to Lynch for making his job as fullback a lot easier. A job Robinson says will continue to get easier over the final weeks of the season.
“He definitely makes my blocking a little easier, because guys really don’t want to tackle him,” said Robinson. “Especially late in the season in December and January.”
As much credit as he gave his current teammates, he recognized Penn State and the San Francisco 49ers for his personal success leading up to this point. He was appreciative for how patient the 49ers were in his transition from playing quarterback at Penn State to his ultimate transition to fullback.
“I’m gratefully thankful to the 49er organization for giving me an opportunity,” he said.
He was incredibly kind to his former team considering they didn’t apparently think he would ever amount to much.
Robinson recalled his former 49ers running backs coach Tom Rathman saying before he was cut from the team, “At best you’re a third- or fourth-string fullback, maybe a third- or fourth-string running back, a special teamer at the most.
Interestingly, it was his head coach at Penn State, Joe Paterno, who predicted Robinson’s future in the NFL. Robinson said he was disappointed about having to redshirt his freshman year when Paterno offered him some words of encouragement.
“I was a little upset and he said, ‘Don’t be down, one day they’re going to sing your name across this campus for a long time, and you’ll probably be a Pro Bowl running back or fullback, but you’ll be our quarterback,’” said Robinson. “And looking back on it, he was exactly right.”
Apparently Carroll saw the same thing as Coach Paterno, because he brought Robinson to Seattle, and he continues to be the force leading the way for one of the most dominant running backs in the NFL.
With less than three years with the Seahawks, it may be early to compare him to 15-year veteran fullback Mack Strong, but if he keeps it up then he’ll definitely be in the conversation.
For more from Michael Robinson, he has a YouTube channel with videos from behind the scenes featuring a variety of Seahawks players.