This time last year, then-rookie wide receiver Andre Roberts, a third-round pick, was struggling. Mightily.
The coaches preached patience. And by the latter part of the season, Roberts looked like he finally “got it.” All the feeling he would end up a bust looked, in hindsight, ridiculous, and he became a prime example of evaluating prematurely.
“I don’t know if I’m the poster child for it or anything like that, but I do feel like I came back,” Roberts said. “Now I just have to work hard to get that position (of No. 2), and I do that by working hard every day.”
Ah, the No. 2 receiver spot. It was Steve Breaston’s most of last season, but by the end of the year, the coaches were using him in Breaston’s spot, testing him out and liking what they saw. They certainly like what they are seeing thus far in Flagstaff. Roberts looks nothing like the guy who dropped too many passes 12 months ago. He not only is catching the ball, but making receptions in traffic, the kind that Larry Fitzgerald makes routine.
“It’s not all confidence, but that definitely helps,” Roberts said. “When you know what you are doing you can go full speed. I had a whole bunch of things going through my mind (last year) but I got my playbook and the light came on for me in the latter part of the year.”
Roberts even sounds more confident. A nice guy, he’s to the point where he doesn’t look like he’s all that excited to continually revisit his rookie camp troubles. He’s past it, and so too are the men coaching him.
Roberts’ emergence is the piece too often missing when anyone is discussing the Cardinals’ depth chart at the position and the chase for free agents. (New tight end Todd Heap, who will make his share of catches, seems forgotten in that mold too). Coach Ken Whisenhunt has said many times the Cards will continue to monitor who is out there when it comes to the entire free-agent market, and they aren’t going to close the door on anything. But the Cards were serious when they said Fitzgerald’s extension was now their top contractual priority. That wasn’t just because Fitz is an important deal, but also because they are comfortable with their wide receiving corps.
That’s in large part because of Roberts, who has proven to coaches he is a different player than he was as a rookie.
(P.S. For those asking, all the details for the Red-White practice can be found right here.)
Tags: Andre Roberts, Ken Whisenhunt, Larry Fitzgerald, Steve Breaston
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