An early play that caught the attention this morning started on a ball that ricocheted off the hands of rookie receiver Andre Roberts. Eventually the pass was completed to Derek Anderson (and thrown by Derek Anderson) but it was a tough session for Roberts — tough enough that Larry Fitzgerald gave him a pep talk afterward.
“Especially after this practice and dropping those balls, he just said to keep my head in it and take it one day at a time,” Roberts said. “He said, ‘They’re paying you now to catch the ball.’ So I have to make that extra effort.”
Roberts, the Cards’ third-round pick, is in the mix to be the punt returner and given his draft status, is a virtual lock to make the roster. Rookie wideouts often have a slower time adjusting to the game, simply because they are thinking about routes and adjustments and the playbook, and that’s even before they try to catch the ball.
“With the playbook and plays, I think I am doing pretty good, pretty consistent and not making many mental errors,” Roberts said. “But I am inconsistent catching the ball right now. … I think I have pretty good hands. I just think it is a loss of concentration. I have to get better.”
Coach Ken Whisenhunt noted all the things that can distract a receiver from a catch. “You can see why that happens,” Whisenhunt said. “It’s a progression with young receivers. I think he also understands the expectations that are on him because of the high standards that group sets. As long as (the drops) don’t become a pattern, it’s something that doesn’t concern me.”
Practice-squad holdover Onrea Jones came out of offseason work as the leader to nab the No. 4 receiver spot. Roberts will have a chance to get there. Even Fitzgerald is confident.
“Today wasn’t a tough day,” Fitzgerald insisted. “He made some plays. He’s a rookie. There will be days where he is up and down. But I think he will have a lot more better days than he’ll have worse days.”
Tags: Andre Roberts, Derek Anderson, Ken Whisenhunt, Larry Fitzgerald
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