If you are looking for Brian Robison on the NFL's sack list, there will be some scrolling involved. He has six sacks, the same as Jared Allen, but they are tied among a cluster of NFL players at 36th.
That's well off the pace of Indianapolis' Robert Mathis, who leads the league with 15½ sacks, and the six others who already have double-digit sacks. But there is much more to Robison's game, as he has come to appreciate the finer points of upsetting a quarterback's flow.
"Really and truly, you always want sack numbers because that's what everybody pays attention to and that's what gets you the accolades," Robison said. "But, bottom line, you see a lot of guys out there that have good sack numbers but they don't necessarily get to the quarterback as much as you'd think they would."
The rankings for Robison get a little more intriguing the deeper you go into detail. He is 14th in quarterback hits, according to the Pro Football Focus, with nine. But then it gets really impressive.
Robison leads the league in quarterback hurries, according to STATS LLC, the league's statistical provider – and by a wide margin. His 24.5 hurries are six more than Kansas City's Tamba Hali, who is in second place.
Pro Football Focus has an even wider margin in its more generous definition of a hurry. That statistical service has Robison with 53 hurries, 14 more than St. Louis' Robert Quinn, in second place at 39.
"Really, for us, it's about getting to the quarterback, messing with his mind as far as being able to get some hits on him, get pressure in his face, because then he has to think about those things when he has to drop back to pass," Robison said.
When it comes to the combination of quarterback knockdowns and quarterback hurries, Robison is tied for best in the league with 40½ with Houston's J.J. Watt.
Robison has learned over the years that there is more to disrupting a quarterback beyond sacks. He has also picked up on the art of batting down passes at the line of scrimmage from wily veteran Kevin Williams. Williams has five of those this year and Robison three.
"That's what it's all about, is getting in his face, whether that's throwing a hand in his face, whether it's being able to hit him as he releases the ball," Robison said. "That effect wears on a quarterback throughout the game and if you do that it'll be in the back of their mind."
He also has become proficient in stopping the run and recognizing screens, all part of the learning process for defensive ends. He is second on the team with nine tackles-for-losses (behind Erin Henderson's 13) and has 30 total tackles, according to the team's statistics.
Defensive coordinator Alan Williams said Robison's consistency has improved.
"And that's a big deal," Williams said. "When it's time for him to make a play, that he's making them. Being able to read the keys, you can count on B-Rob to say, ‘You know what, coach? I recognize that formation, I knew what play was coming and I read my keys and it took me to the ball.'
"You know what you're going to get down in and down out from Brian Robison."
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.
Robison creating pressure in many ways
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