By: Will Burchfield
In a way, Greg Robinson took T.J. Lang’s advice to heart.
Robinson wouldn’t talk about being called “lazy” by Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen. He wouldn’t even entertain questions about it.
The big left tackle walked twice through the Lions locker room on Friday and declined to speak to reporters each time. On the second occasion he turned around at one of the exits, clearly annoyed, and said, “I’m busy.”
Lang, the most experienced player on Detroit’s offensive line, said on Friday that neither Robinson nor any of his fellow linemen should take Griffen’s comments personally.
“I think a lot of guys try to do that just to get you thinking about something that you shouldn’t be focusing on. I think everybody was aware of it, but if we’re sitting here focused on what they’re talking about in their locker room it takes precious minutes away from our preparation and the things we need to focus on to win a ballgame,” said Lang. “It’s just kind of white noise.”
Griffen, who leads the Vikings with four sacks through three games, criticized Robinson’s work ethic on Wednesday.
“Quite honestly, [he looks] kind of lazy. He’s lazy. He gets beat on the inside. I think the biggest thing is he’s got to compete more, but yeah he’s pretty lazy. I feel like the rest of their offensive line, they do pretty well, but to me he’s kind of lazy,” Griffen said, via the Star Tribune.
Robinson, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2014 draft, was acquired by the Lions in the offseason to replace the injured Taylor Decker. He was solid in his debut but hasn’t been as sharp the past two games, especially in Week 2 versus the Giants when he committed three penalties and was routinely beat off the ball by Olivier Vernon.
Both Jim Caldwell and offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter were strangely passive in defending Robinson after Griffen’s comments.
“I’m not responding to anything anybody else said about him,” said Caldwell.
“Interesting to see,” said Cooter. “I’ll leave that to other people.”
Asked specifically if Robinson is a lazy player, neither coach took the opportunity to say no.
“I’m not going down the hype path. You guys can write whatever you want,” Cooter said.
“Here’s what I believe,” said Caldwell. “I believe that good players don’t need external motivation to do their job.”
Griffen has a tendency to talk smack prior to playing the Lions. He guaranteed victory over Detroit ahead of a Week 2 clash in 2015, and then notched a sack in a 26-16 Minnesota win.
Robinson and Griffen have squared off once before, back in 2015 when Robinson was with the Rams. The Vikings won, but Griffen was held without a sack.