Since he walked through the doors at the Atlantic Health Training Center, it seems that whenever rookie WR Robby Anderson's number is called, he responds. First came his consistency throughout training camp. Then he led the NFL in preseason receiving yards, finding the end zone in three of four games including two 40-plus yarders. With WRs Eric Decker and Jalin Marshall ailing from shoulder injuries, he had his first opportunity to make his biggest impact to date — against the league's best defense.
"Coming off the field, I hold myself to a higher standard catching every pass and I was upset about the interception that I caused," he said regarding his performance on Inside the Jets. "Coming out of the game, I was upset about that. But after we watched the film, you have to be your biggest critic and be real to yourself about everything. I was upset about that but after we watched the film, I played really well. I played fast, I was in and out of breaks and me and Fitz were inches away from connecting on some of those go balls. It's a long season and we have to get better and keep preparing and capitalize next time."
In the third quarter of the contest, the speedster almost came down with a deep pass down the home sideline, but it was broken up at the last second by CB DeShawn Shead. Anderson finished the day with a pair of catches for 12 yards, including a fourth-down conversion, after recording his first professional catch the week before against Kansas City.
With the Jets receiving corps a little banged up, the Temple product was promoted to the No. 3 spot, behind his locker neighbor Brandon Marshall and the team's reception leader Quincy Enunwa.
"Communication really started throughout the week, I had to move over to the Z position (the wideout closest to the TE), which I wasn't really playing throughout preseason and the summer," he said about changes in his preparation. "I had to adjust and learn quick. Coach put me in there at that position the last few games but I just had to adjust to the speed of the game. I just had to pick up things and communicate. Brandon was telling me things on the sideline, in the locker room, and go out there and do it on the field."
Within the crowd of 78,160 people participating in Sunday's White Out at MetLife stadium were Anderson's family members. They eagerly watched No. 11 after suffering the disappointment of going undrafted, battling the hardships of training camp and clawing for a roster spot.
"There wasn't really any pressure, it feels good to know that your family is there with their support," he said. "They've seen me dream this since I was a young kid and to see me living it makes them happy. And it makes me happy knowing they're in the bleachers, in the stands, watching me do that instead of watching through a TV screen."
Anderson's next challenge? The Pittsburgh Steelers, who hold the league's 30th-ranked passing defense.
"Capitalize," he said regarding his goals for this week. "There's always something you can do better, it's just seizing the moment. At this moment, you have to work that much harder finishing your catches and releases. Just playing my game, which is speed. Sometimes I try to do things that Brandon can do like get physical with guys at times and that's not my game. I have to play fast, play elusive."
Like a sponge, the 6'3", 190-pounder continues to soak in all he can. Despite the early triumphs in his career, Anderson's work ethic has not gone by the wayside as he is still working on making an impact for the Green & White when it matters most.
"Definitely. Brandon is like a big brother to me," he said. "He lets me know what I'm doing well and he's always telling me what I need to get better on. He's real with me and I appreciate it as a man. It's cool because I looked up to him for a long time growing up and it's crazy sometimes to think that's my teammate now and a future Hall of Famer. He's an icon."
Despite all the questions regarding his size, Anderson keeps grinding, something he's done his entire life.
"It's a tough process. Everybody wants to be drafted," he said reflecting on his path to the NFL. "When you come in, it feels like all the odds are against you and it feels like one mistake doesn't account to ten other people's mistakes and you just have to work that much harder. I always like to work hard, I never had a hand-out growing up. Things have always been tough for me so it wasn't anything new to me. I just worked hard and took it day in and day out and it paid off."