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Patrick Robinson carving out role in the secondary for Chargers

SAN DIEGO – Patrick Robinson is going through the normal adjustments players make in the NFL when joining a new team.

He’s learning a new scheme, adapting to new teammates and becoming more familiar with new surroundings in San Diego.

But overall, Robinson has handled the change in scenery fine. He’s penciled in as San Diego’s starting slot defender and served as the corner opposite Jason Verrett with the starters during San Diego’s minicamp with Brandon Flowers limited this week.

“It’s been fun so far,” Robinson said. “I think from my time in New Orleans, as a group the guys were close. Coming here, I’m hoping we can build the same thing and I can get that close friendship with the guys.”

Robinson said he played slot defender and cornerback on the perimeter in New Orleans, and feels comfortable at both positions. He signed a one-year, $2 million deal to join the Chargers in free agency.

At 5-foot-11 and 191 pounds, the first-round selection by the New Orleans Saints in the 2010 draft has nine career interceptions and 46 pass breakups in five seasons. So making plays on the ball has not been an issue for Robinson.

According to Pro Football Focus, Robinson limited opposing quarterbacks to a 57.5 rating, fifth-best among cornerbacks who played at least 25 percent of their snaps as a slot defender last season. Robinson also provides experienced insurance should Verrett and Flowers experience injury issues again in 2015.

“I think he’s fitting in well,” Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers said. “He’s learning the scheme, and obviously it’s different than what he’s done before. But he’s done some good things.

“Obviously at this time of year we’re focused on us [on offense] and the things we can do. And when training camp gets going, I’m more observant of all of those nuisances and who’s playing in what packages. But he seems to have picked it up well and is doing a good job.”

Robinson’s strength is finding the football, with nine career interceptions. And that’s something San Diego defensive coordinator John Pagano hopes will show up during the regular season. The Chargers have managed just 18 interceptions the past two seasons, tied for second-worst in the NFL in that time frame.

“Definitely that’s something I really want to do -- not just be there and knock the ball down, but catch the interception. That’s the main thing.

“I think my instincts are pretty good. And I want to be the guy that makes that play that nobody thinks the defenses sees -- that guy that kind of sees something before everybody else sees it.”

Robinson said staying healthy and playing a full, 16-game season is his focus. He’s played a full 16 games just once in five seasons.

“He can run,” New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton said. “He was hampered with some injuries throughout his career. I’m a huge Patrick Robinson fan, though. He’s a great person. He’s got long arms.

“He went through just a series of tough injuries, but every day you’d go to work, it’d be April or February and Patrick was in the locker room, rehabbing, getting ready and getting healthy. I’m anxious to see how he does, and I think everybody is pulling for a guy like him.”