METAIRIE, La. -- Running back Khiry Robinson captured the attention of many new admirers during his rookie year with the New Orleans Saints. Apparently none more so than Bill Parcells -- who gave Robinson the ultimate compliment by comparing him to longtime Parcells workhorse Curtis Martin.
According to FOX analyst John Lynch, Saints coach Sean Payton revealed that fascinating tidbit during his production meetings with the FOX crew heading into last week’s playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks.
Per Lynch, Payton said: “Parcells called this week and said, ‘Sean what are you doing? You’ve got Curtis Martin right in front of your eyes, and you’re not doing anything with him. Give him the ball.’”
Payton was coy this week when asked about that story, saying, “Yes [Parcells] and I had some discussions, but I don’t know that it was reported. It probably came in my meeting.”
Regardless, it’s clear that Payton had been coming to the same realization himself in recent weeks, feeding Robinson more after veteran Pierre Thomas suffered a chest injury in Week 17. Robinson ran for a combined 102 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries in the Saints' two playoff games, and he caught one pass for 13 yards.
The undrafted rookie from West Texas A&M -- who barely earned an invitation to training camp -- started turning heads early in camp with his combination of power, speed and elusiveness. And he never really stopped when given the chance to make cameo appearances throughout the regular season. The only thing really holding him back was New Orleans’ crowded backfield with Thomas, Darren Sproles and Mark Ingram.
Robinson (6 feet, 220 pounds) made the most of his playoff opportunities, taking turns breaking through tackles or making guys miss. The Saints’ backfield remains congested, but there is no doubt that Robinson has earned a shot at a more prominent role in 2014.
Lynch, a longtime NFL safety and current Pro Football Hall of Fame finalist, tangled plenty with Martin during Martin’s own Canton career. And he said on the broadcast that he went back to look at Robinson’s film after hearing of Parcells’ comparison and agreed, “He resembles him. A lot.”
“Look, we aren’t making him a Hall of Famer. But there’s a style that resembles each other,” Lynch said. “He’s patient, he darts, he typically finds the right hole. And he’s very quick once he makes a decision to get downfield.”