Last season was one to remember for Washington Redskins linebacker Keenan Robinson as he got his most extensive action to date, but he's hoping 2015 will truly be his coming out party.
Keenan Robinson simply couldn't wait to get on the field last season after his first two NFL seasons were marred by injury.
A countdown of the top-10 images of linebacker Keenan Robinson during the 2014 season.
And once he was out there, he proved why many considered him to be a long-term replacement for London Fletcher in the middle of the Redskins' defense.
"For me, it's probably like a gorilla in a cage, a prized horse in a big race finally getting his time to shine," Robinson said. "Just for me, I've been ready to show what I can do on the field and show what I can do in this burgundy and gold, but I hadn't been able to because of the injuries. Last year was kind of a breakout year for me, allowed me to get my feet wet and I made a little bit of a presence. But now, I can take it to the next level, take it a step further and continue to build upon what I built last year."
Robinson finished second on the team in tackles with 134 while also recording six tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks and an interception.
But towards the end of the season, despite his successes on the field, Robinson was limited at times.
So this offseason, he did a little bit extra to ensure his body will be ready for the upcoming season.
"For me, it was just taking care of little parts," Robinson said. "Doing the little things like extra stretching, extra rolling, extra massage work if I need it, extra therapy on the little muscles that might need it that might get overlooked. That's mainly all I've been doing."
And over time, he's learned that having his full-body healthy is most important, as one injury can lead to another if attention to detail doesn't take place.
"It's been helping because the body, as I've learned to understand and know from just being hurt, it all works together," he said. "So if something hurts down there like your foot it might cause something to hurt in your shoulder or cause a tweak or something. So those are the little things I've learned and tried to limit."
Through OTAs, Robinson's says he's been the strongest he's ever been at this time of the year.
"I feel good," he said. "The biggest thing for me was just coming off the knee injury that I had at the end of last season. I feel healthy. I feel pretty good. I'm excited because it's the first offseason that I've been as healthy as I've been at this point."
Defense coming togetherRobinson is one of only a handful of returning Redskins defensive players that's expected to start once again in 2015.
While the unit has yet to take a snap together in game action, Robinson can already tell that the guys – both returning and new – will have no problem molding together.
"I think we're meshing pretty well because one we have a whole bunch of new faces especially from free agency," he said. "You never know how it's going to go. You never know how the guys are going to buy in, but it's been great. Those guys are fun. I think we're closer at this point than I've seen as a defense since I've been here, and this will be my fourth year. So that's a good sign, and I think we will only get closer and stronger as we get closer to the season."
And even though the team brought in several veterans who can lead the unit on their own, they've already respect Robinson as the unit's natural leader as middle linebacker.
"Those guys respect me as their signal caller because they're now on a new defense and it's a new scheme and new faces," he said. "So I would say they do respect me and do look to me as a leader as long as with the rest of the guys who have already been here."