For the first eight games of 2013, fourth-year wide receiver Andre Roberts had more or less become the forgotten man in the Arizona Cardinals’ offense.
Roberts, who had 64 receptions for 759 yards to go along with a team-leading five touchdown catches, looked like a shell of his former self despite finally having competent quarterback behind center in Carson Palmer.
But with a new coaching staff also in place this season, Roberts found himself moving further and further away from his accustomed position in the slot. That shift combined with Rob Housler’s return to the lineup in Week 3 made the former Citadel standout a virtual afterthought (20 catches for 191 yards and no touchdowns) in an offense centered around Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd and rookie running back Andre Ellington.
In fact, Roberts had more receiving yards (97) in Week 1 than he had in Weeks 2-8 combined (94).
But that all changed Sunday.
In the Cardinals’ 27-24 win over the Houston Texans — their fifth of the season — Roberts hauled in a team-high five catches for 72 yards, including a 19-yard touchdown grab in the fourth quarter that proved to be the difference in the contest.
“We ran somewhat of that play earlier. It was a flat route earlier,” Roberts said. “So we just ran a flat and out. He bit on it. Carson put it up and I just went up and got it [for a touchdown].
“Every offense [sets up touchdowns with previous plays], double moves usually. That’s what we did.”
Roberts’ big day coincidentally occurred on the NFL’s ‘Salute to Service’ Day. As Cardinals VP of Media Relations Mark Dalton noted, the wide receiver’s parents, Stephen and Dorothy, were career members of the Army and met during basic training at Fort Jackson.
To celebrate the touchdown, Roberts honored the troops and his parents in typical fashion.
Although, this one definitely had a little more meaning attached to it.
“It felt good to get one in [the end zone] this week and give my patented salute to all our troops that fight for this country,” said Roberts.
The Cardinals can only hope after Sunday’s performance that many more salutes are in Roberts’ immediate future — for it’ll signal that his days of disappearing are but a thing of the past.