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New J.Michael Moore piece on Robiskie


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FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- New wide receivers coach Terry Robiskie considered many factors when choosing to continue his coaching career with the Falcons. In doing so, he looked to his own memories of playing against Atlanta as an offensive coach for the Cleveland Browns.

"You're always watching your opponents and I remember coming here with the Browns," said Robiskie, who was named the teams new receivers coach Jan. 26. "I remember sitting in the box and watching guys play... I remember leaving the game thinking, 'Wow, they have a lot of talent here.'

"I think there's a lot of pieces to the puzzle in this building. I think there are a lot of pieces of the puzzle that are here for the making. You have to get all those pieces to fit; you have to get all those pieces to lie smoothly in the puzzle and hopefully it will work."

Robiskie often alludes to cliché phrases that include "puzzles," "dirt" and "old-school" thought. Coaching is just a piece of the puzzle, but a key piece Robiskie hopes to add to the veteran staff assembled by new Head Coach Mike Smith. Robiskie alone has 26 years of NFL coaching experience and eight games as an interim head coach.

The team also retained the services of former interim head coach Emmitt Thomas -- a long-time acquaintance of Robiskie's' -- and former Bills head coach Mike Mularkey. Throw in defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder and the Falcons already hit 96 years of combined coaching experience.

Robiskie's coaching experience has been more diverse, however. The Falcons are his fifth team. He also played five seasons with the Raiders and Dolphins and has coached running backs, special teams and wide receivers during his career. He's also served as a passing game and offensive coordinator.

His coaching philosophy is an eclectic mix of traditional football theology and human interaction.

"I like to get dirty," he said. "I like to go out and play in the mud and mix it up a little bit."

He knows his ideas may come across as "old school," but players know it can bring success.

In Robiskie's seven years with the Redskins (including five games as an interim head coach), five different receivers posted 1,000-yard seasons, including one each by Michael Westbrook (1,191) and Albert Connell (1,132) in 1999.

Robiskie's sons have poked fun at his "old school" approach. His eldest son, Brian, just completed his junior season at Ohio State and led the team with 55 receptions for 935 yards and 11 touchdowns.

"It's old school, but it still works," Robiskie often says to his son.

That philosophy was developed over time, including his eight-game stint as an interim head coach with the Redskins and Browns. He won two games as an NFL head coach, an accomplishment he's pleased made its way into the record books. But it wasn't as much the on-the-job training that he looks back on as the experience.

"It meant the world to me because it was a challenge," Robiskie said when asked about his time as a head coach. "When you coach for a living you want to succeed but also prove, if you get in that spot, show that you can get it done.

"When you've only got an opportunity to prove that in the course of five weeks... I sit down and look at it as I've got five games; I'm going to try to win five games. It was fun for me. It meant the world because, ultimately, in the end they had to put my name in the record book. I'm just happy they didn't put it in as I didn't win any. In Washington I was 1-2 and in Cleveland I was 1-4."

Now in Atlanta with a fresh, challenging set of pieces Robiskie hopes to add to his resume of success.

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I couldn't agree more with him on the fact that this team has a lot of talent. A lot of under-coached talent and in some cases under-acheiving talent. This team isn't void of talent by any means like some "experts" seem to think. With the right coaching, and a few peice here and there this can be a competitive team sooner than later.

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I read up on this guy when we got him and I was impressed immediately. I think that we are going to see an improvement from last year in robinson. I also think white will go to higher heights and get to the 100 catch plateau. I really think we have some tools at WR.

THe only way I see adding another one is if he is a KR.

I like the mix of coaches on the team. We have young guys and old guys. We have a bright future ahead of us.

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