It seemed like Morgan Moses was making a joke about Pete Robertson.
When asked about the strides the young linebacker has made over the last year, Moses gave, on the surface, a disingenuous example to prove his point.
“There’s not one thing you tell him to do that he’s not going to do it,” Moses said. “You tell him to go get some water 50 yards down the field, he’s going to run and get water 50 yards down the field. He just has that mentality, he just wants to help the team, he wants to come out and get better.”
Moses was trying to illustrate the lengths to which his teammate would go, but Robertson verified it all.
“I try and make friends with everybody,” he said. “If you really need something, I know [Morgan] and Ty [Nsheke] are a lot bigger than me, but I’ll go over there and get it real quick and get [Moses] his water. That’s just the type of guy I am. I try to be a real standup guy for my teammates. Anything for my teammates, I’m willing to do that. Even for a coach, this organization right now is everything to me and I’m putting everything into this organization.”
That makes sense when you consider the journey Robertson took with the team last season. After being cut following the preseason, he signed to the practice squad, spending a couple of stints on the active roster later in the year, where he made two tackles in four games. A defensive end in college, Robertson willingly practiced at the inside linebacker position, even lining up at running back for the scout team as more injuries accrued throughout the season.
The coaching staff realized he had more value at outside linebacker, so the team moved him back to his comfort zone. It’s there where he’s started to shine a week into training camp, making plays as a pass rusher and run stopper and further solidifying himself as a crucial special teams player.
“Petey has been unbelievable,” Gruden said. “He's been great. Very, very athletic, and you're talking about a guy that can possibly help on special teams as your fourth or fifth linebacker, and he's one because he can run…He's a great athlete.”
With an outside linebackers group headlined by Ryan Kerrigan and Preston Smith, Robertson knows reps at the position in training camp and the preseason will be extremely valuable as he proves his worth as more than just a special teams player.
That’s been evident on the field so far. During Tuesday’s practice, he made a nice play batting a Colt McCoy pass down at the line. The next day, he filled in for linebacker Pernell McPhee, setting the edge on run plays and chasing McCoy, in one instance, on a bootleg to force an incompletion.
“Good play or bad play, it doesn’t matter,” Robertson said. “I just try to make sure I’m doing what my team wants me to do to help them out on the field. When it comes to the positive or negative plays, all of them are the same. If it’s good or bad, we’re moving onto the next play because we’ve got a ton of more plays in front of us.”
The Washington Redskins conducted their seventh day of training camp practice Thursday, August 2, 2018 at Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center in Richmond, Va.
Robertson, whose cousin is teammate Trent Williams, has made it a habit of picking Williams' and other offensive lineman’s brains in the hopes that something they teach him might help later down the line. A lot of it boils down to foot and hand technique work, making sure linemen are reacting to his movements instead of the opposite.
“After he gets reps out there, he’ll come to you and he’ll say, ‘Hey, what do you see? What can I do more? What can I use?’” Moses said. “You know, it might not work against us but he’s like, ‘Hey, what can I do? What do you see?’ And a guy that is willing to come off and put his pride aside and ask those questions, is a guy that's trying to get better every day."
This is the benefit of training camp – close quarters on and off the field means constant opportunity to ask questions and gain understanding. It’s not unique to Robertson, but it’s certainly what’s helped set him apart so far.
“We’re all just talking,” Robertson said. “We just love the game and just love talking about the game. That’s why everybody is getting better each day.”