Without WR Andre Roberts this season, Arizona quarterbacks have completed 38 passes for 10 yards or less, and 31 have come outside the numbers, 19 in between the numbers and the hash marks, and five between the hash marks. Cardinals’ receivers are averaging 5.29 yards per catch on completions 10 yards of less.
Roberts' place in Arizona’s offense coming out 2012 was thought to be established. He had career highs in receptions (64), yards (759) and touchdowns (five). But after Bruce Arians took over in January 2013, Roberts saw his role as Arizona’s No. 2 receiver supplanted by Michael Floyd, and Roberts' numbers dropped to 43 receptions for 471 yards and two touchdowns.
He signed with Washington with the idea that he would be the Redskins’ No. 2 receiver, but after they signed DeSean Jackson, Roberts became a No. 3 again.
But as colleague John Keim, who covers the Redskins, pointed out this week, Roberts is getting targeted more this season (5.6 per game) than he did in 2013 (4.75).
The Cardinals’ overall passing offense also has declined without Roberts, but there is a caveat this season: Arizona has played three of its four games with backup quarterbacks.
The Cardinals’ completion percentage this season is 51.5 percent compared to 63.2 percent last season. Their drop percentage was better with Roberts (2.8) than without him (4.5), as was their yards per pass attempt (7.98 with vs. 6.9 without). Arizona is even averaging fewer touchdowns per game without Roberts (1.25) than with (1.5). John Brown is now the WR3 in Arizona and has got a lot of attention but it looks like the stats say the Cards miss Roberts. The difference between fantasy and reality perhaps. While Roberts is a risky fantasy play, Brown is trending upward as a possible option in deeper leagues. Brown has three TDs in just four games with backup QBs.