San Francisco 49ers

49ers notes: The skinny on Rashard Robinson’s penalty-filled season

San Francisco 49ers cornerback Rashard Robinson (33) breaks up a pass intended for Arizona Cardinals wide receiver John Brown (12) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz.
San Francisco 49ers cornerback Rashard Robinson (33) breaks up a pass intended for Arizona Cardinals wide receiver John Brown (12) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. AP

Rashard Robinson’s coach thinks the cornerback’s slender frame might be at the root of his team-high eight penalties this season.

Defensive coordinator Robert Saleh said most of the contact between a receiver and a cornerback comes at the top of the receiver’s route when he is trying create space. He suggested that Robinson has to exaggerate his movements in order to maintain tight coverage, which in turn is attracting attention from the referees.

“He’s got to get stronger at the top of the route so it doesn’t look so violent, where it looks like they’re just jostling for position,” Saleh said. “When it looks violent the referee just can’t help but throw a flag on him. Even though he may not be fouling. It just looks like there’s a big struggle going on. … For Rashard, one of the biggest things he needs to improve is his overall strength, which I think will.”

Robinson entered the NFL draft last year at a spindly 6-foot-1, 171 pounds after he sat out the 2015 college season. In the spring Robinson said he was up to 190 pounds, which is approaching the ideal weight for his position.

Robinson has been flagged four times for pass interference, twice for illegal use of the hands, once for illegal contact and once for holding. Two of those penalties were declined by the offense.

Robinson remains a starter with Dontae Johnson, but third-round draft pick Ahkello Witherspoon (Christian Brothers High School) has been part of a rotation over the past two weeks.

Despite the appearance that he’s been picked on, Robinson said his swagger is intact.

“I’m still confident,” he said. “That’s one thing – the confidence is never going to go anywhere. I’m a competitor. I want to go out there and compete. I want to work.”

Brown questionable -- Tackle Trent Brown (concussion) is unlikely to play in Philadelphia Sunday after missing all of the week’s practices. Brown is listed as questionable, but the team expects Garry Gilliam to play right tackle in Philadelphia.

At right guard, Brandon Fusco (biceps) practiced on a limited basis Friday and is questionable. Zane Beadles would start if Fusco can’t play.

Nickel cornerback K’Waun Williams (quad) is out for the the game. Earlier this week, the 49ers signed veteran Leon Hall, who has experience in nickel coverage.

Matt Barrows: @mattbarrows, read more about the team at sacbee.com/sf49ers.

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