Coming Off Big Game, Robert James Looks for More

Coming Off Big Game, Robert James Looks for More

Jay Adams

Published August 14, 2012 at 6:32 PM

Linebacker Robert James takes a big breath when he thinks about the possibility of more playing time.

With an injury to starting middle linebacker Akeem Dent that will keep him from Thursday’s game against Cincinnati, fortunately, James won’t have to worry about picking up the slack since the two play different positions, but if he was asked to play more, he would in a heartbeat.

It’s pretty much impossible, however, for James to play any more than he did last Thursday against Baltimore — a game during which he logged 62 snaps. That’s the most he’s seen the field since his days of starting for Arizona State.

“I was pretty tired after that,” James said Tuesday. “I’ve gotta get it right. Gotta hydrate up this week.”

Because it’s the preseason, it’s his time to shine and prove that he belongs in one of the 53 final spots on the roster — and he’s off to a great start.

In relief against the Ravens, James led the team in unassisted tackles with 5.0 and also recorded a sack. General manager Thomas Dimitroff, talking to CBS Atlanta during an interview aired while the game was going on Thursday, had high remarks for the veteran linebacker and thinks he could settle into a more permanent spot on the roster.

“Robert’s worked really, really hard in the offseason,” Dimitroff told CBS Atlanta. “He has an element of hustle and urgent athleticism. He has playmaking ability and hopefully he really comes into his own in this scheme.”

James recognizes that he has a long way to go before he can feel settled, but he’s thankful for the playing time he’s getting and the opportunity to make the most of all the snaps he can get — even if he gets another 62.

“I felt a little rusty. Like I said, it’s been a while since I played that many snaps,” James said. “I played a lot of special teams and defense, as well, but I think this game (against Cincinnati) will be a better game. I’m hoping for the best.”

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