The contract was nice and made a difference, though it wasn’t the only reason Andre Roberts wanted to play in Washington. He liked that they’d let him play inside and outside. He liked that coach Jay Gruden wants to throw the ball.
But he also liked what he heard from Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III. Money matters, but so did the tone in Griffin’s voice as well as the message.
“With him having a chip on his shoulder and being a young guy, someone I can grow with,” Roberts said by phone earlier this week, “it was very high on my list and someone I wanted to play with.”
Griffin has talked with several players the Redskins were trying to sign (or did), including defensive lineman Jason Hatcher. Griffin spoke with Roberts before he signed with Washington after four seasons in Arizona. Roberts’ role changed with the Cardinals last season. He’s good in the slot, though he wasn’t always used that way. When he and Larry Fitzgerald were on the same side, Roberts often played to the outside. Nor was he targeted as much, as Michael Floyd became the No. 2 receiver. And the Cardinals used a lot of two-tight end sets designed to help the blocking.
Add it up and it left Roberts anxious to do more. He sensed the same in Griffin after a sub-par second season, one in which Griffin was questioned about his knee and his relationship with the coaches.
“You could tell he has that fire and that passion and that motivation to get better every day,” said Roberts, who will work out with Griffin in Arizona at the end of the month. “When you have a guy that talented, that’s that motivated and willing to work, the sky’s the limit. Being a receiver, having a quarterback like that, that’s what you want, especially in a passing offense which we will be in now for the most part. When you have a quarterback that’s motivated and coming off the year he had with a chip on his shoulder, that’s what you want as a receiver.”
A passing offense? The Redskins were more run-oriented the past two years (or wanted to be; trailing so often last season altered those plans). Roberts said he based that comment on knowing Gruden’s style with Cincinnati and also after talking with former Arizona quarterback John Skelton, who spent last offseason and preseason with the Bengals.
“He was telling me about his style of coaching and what he likes to do and how he likes to use players,” Roberts said. “I think we’ll be passing more than running. We’ll have plenty of talent at the running back and receiver position for Robert to throw the ball around a little bit.”
I'll have more with Roberts later in the week talking about his style and mentality at receiver.