Wide receiver Andre Roberts hauls in what turned out to be a 74-yard touchdown pass last weekend, the longest Cards' passing TD since 2008.
There were times, with the temperature pushing 100 in the summer, that John Skelton was throwing passes to Andre Roberts at the Cardinals' facility just to break each other into NFL life.
There were times, with both guys lower on the depth chart, where Skelton-to-Roberts was taking place at training camp practices.
Then came Saturday night, when Skelton found Roberts five times against the Cowboys for the receiver's first 100-yard game (110 all told), including a 74-yard touchdown bomb that suddenly has brought Roberts to the forefront.
"Starting the relationship from there to where it is now," Skelton said, "there is still room to grow."
Skelton's story is the improbable one, to go from where he was near the end of training camp – essentially the fourth quarterback out of four – to now. Roberts, however, went through a crucial transformation of his own. The Cardinals were always going to find a way to work Skelton into the mix, knowing his learning curve.
Roberts' growing pains seemed much worse, to the point where many – except maybe coach Ken Whisenhunt – wondered if he was going to make the team or survive earlier this season.
Roberts acknowledged "I didn't have as good of a training camp or preseason as I wanted." His confidence level? "Definitely lower."
Whisenhunt said he never thought Roberts lost confidence, only that the third-round pick was frustrated.
"Anytime you are a draft pick, especially one of those higher ones, there's always pressure and expectations and he didn't feel like he was living up to those," Whisenhunt said. "Other players are looking at you. It's a tough deal."
As for whether he ever thought drafting Roberts was a mistake, Whisenhunt was blunt. "No."
Whisenhunt can't recall the game, but he said there was one in which Roberts made a difficult third-down catch, one that Whisenhunt and the team noticed. Roberts also made a beautiful 30-yard catch-and-run in Minnesota for his first NFL touchdown, a brief peek into what the Cards thought he could do.
But his 20-reception rookie year has been more miss than hit. He had six of those receptions (for only 52 yards) in the blowout loss in Kansas City, and had only one catch in the previous three games before going against Dallas.
On a night in which Skelton rarely looked at Larry Fitzgerald (three targets) and Steve Breaston (none), Roberts became the go-to man, including taking many of Breaston's normal reps in two-receiver sets.
"It's not really a weight lifted, it just helps me build confidence knowing I can do it, and knowing the coaches think I can do it," Roberts said.
Skelton sees a lot of parallels between he and Roberts, from their small-school pedigree (Roberts went to The Citadel, Skelton Fordham) to each man's penchant for not getting too emotional and staying relatively quiet.
Both have come a long way from the sun-scorched fields of last summer.
"I feel like we have been together, working together this summer, struggling a little early," Roberts said. "Now we're being able to contribute."
Arizona Cardinals Home: The official source of the latest Cardinals headlines, news, videos, photos, tickets, rosters and game day information
Larry Fitzgerald, Bill Belichick Remain Constants Amid Change
Star wide receiver and coach have been mainstays with Cardinals, Patriots
Cardinals, Kliff Kingsbury Want To Solve Slow Starts
Notes: Kyler Murray's practice work increasing; Vet TE joins practice squad
Isaiah Simmons Goes From Patience To Playmaking
Interception Against Seahawks in Week 7 changes course of rookie season
Cardinals Place Deionte Thompson On COVID Reserve List
Team releases running back Khalfani Muhammad from practice squad
Kyler Murray Calls Limited Practice 'Precautionary' Move
Notes: Shoulder injury limiting quarterback's throws; Allen designated to return; practice squad moves
You've Got Mail: Patriots Week
Topics include receivers getting open, secondary play, and the Seahawks ending
Pupil Meets Teacher: Kliff Kingsbury Honored To Face Bill Belichick
Cardinals coach appreciates impactful stint he spent as player in New England
Cardinals Sign Domata Peko To Help Thin Defensive Line
QB Kyler Murray will see how banged-up shoulder is at practice Tuesday
Cardinals Hoping Kyler Murray Shoulder Issue Isn't A Problem
Kingsbury acknowledges QB "was hurting a bit"
Cardinals Tripped Up At Seattle In Battle For First Place
Penalties undo effort as offense can't convert late drive in 28-21 loss