We have found out who will return punts and kickoffs for the Redskins and it will be who we expected it to be all along.
Redskins Coach Jay Gruden said on Thursday that Andre Roberts will be the top choice for both jobs when the season gets underway in Houston on Sunday.
"We have a couple we can go to, but I would say Andre would be the No. 1 option,” said Gruden.
Roberts was the only player who made the 53-man roster who returned a punt during the preseason (Santana Moss did have one fair catch). The free agent acquisition from the Cardinals returned four punts for an average of 9.5 yards. Five different players returned punts for the team last year and wound up with an average of 6.4 yards per return.
Roberts had no kickoff returns in the preseason but he worked on them during training camp. He has 16 career kickoff returns for a 22.4-yard average but he has not returned a regular-season kickoff since the 2011 season.
Giving Roberts double duty on special teams is in part an effort to get him some touches. When he signed with the Redskins it was expected that he would be the No. 2 wide receiver. But then DeSean Jackson suddenly became available and the Redskins moved quickly to lock him up, bumping Roberts down to third. He still should see plenty of action but there’s no way around the fact that he’ll get fewer targets than originally planned. By getting the ball in his hands via punts and kicks the Redskins hope to get some big plays and to get some value out of the four-year, $16-million contract that Roberts signed.