UPDATE: Roddy spoke with D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, insinuated that he was taken out of context, and basically reiterates what he said in the ESPN article with a softer focus and no comments about receptions. Here's a relevant quote:
"I know that’s what they want me to do, go out there and be physical in the run game and block," White said. "I have to go out there and do my job. I want to do my job because I want (Devonta) Freeman to get off. That’s only going to help us at the end of the day. No matter what goes on, if I don’t go out there and block then my guy makes the tackle and 15 yards instead of him going for 50 yards for a touchdown, then that’s on me. That would be stupid for me not to want all of my teammates to do well."
Many seemed to get the impression from the earlier piece that Roddy was disgruntled, and while I certainly got a frustrated vibe from the receiver, I thought it was obviously a competitive player wanting airing out his thoughts. There was nothing to me that indicated White intended to be a problem, but after trade rumors and plenty of talk circulated, Roddy, the organization, or both clearly felt he needed to walk some of those comments back. It remains, in my estimation, a noteworthy but not worrisome story.
Original article below.
Roddy White has been many things in his tenure as an Atlanta Falcon, but it has been a very long time since "productive wide receiver" wasn't an accurate description. Welcome to 2015.
We are entering the twilight years of Roddy's career, in all likelihood, which is difficult for any of us to fathom. He's been such a fixture in this offense since 2007, he owns every major receiving record for the franchise, and his reputation as a trash talking team leader is well-earned, so it was easy to predict he'd maintain his typical brisk statistical pace heading into his age 33/34 season. That simply hasn't happened, with Roddy managing just six catches through four games
Much of this has to do with the offense, not Roddy White. We can all point to a screen capture of Roddy wide open on the field, and Matt Ryan has definitely fed Julio Jones, Leonard Hankerson, and even Devonta Freeman to the detriment of Roddy's numbers, and he's been asked to block at a greater clip than ever before. At the same time, he's not getting open as much as he once did, which limits his looks, as well.
For a guy with a reputation as a talker, Roddy has been pretty quiet on his reduced role in the offense, until he chatted with Vaughn McClure at ESPN.
I'm not overly worried about this, even if the bleeped out curses are going to make the rounds. Roddy's got every right to vent his spleen, particularly if he feels and or knows he's been open and Ryan hasn't been hitting him when he is. Roddy even goes on to mitigate some of his comments in the same piece.
"I've watched the film. We've watched the film weeks and weeks and that's not a problem, me not getting open," White said. "I'm open, but it's not in the progression. Matt's not looking at it, and that's the type of guy he is. He's a 1-2-3 progression guy. We don't get off script, which is good. We've been winning that way for a very long time, so we've got to be consistent."
And Terry Robiskie knows Roddy's a little frustrated, but is advising him to take it in stride and recognize that Julio Jones is the big man on campus.
"Roddy's got all the records. He's done fantastic. ... He's been one of the greatest guys at his organization at his position in the NFL. But at the end of the day, he don't have a ring. Hopefully he sees, like the world sees, this is Julio's team. So now, 'I'm in the backseat and Julio's driving, but if I get there, I don't care who's driving. Just let me come along for the ride.' Rod just has to add fuel to the fire, and if Julio needs a push, get out the car and push a little bit. He doesn't need to drive it. He just needs to sit there and say, 'Let's see if we can go get a ring.' "
The bottom line is that I'd expect Roddy to be frustrated with his targets, and I'd expect him to bust his butt to make sure he's ready when teams slow down Julio and Leonard Hankerson. There's no concern about a lack of preparation or Roddy dogging it, because he's a prideful guy who wants to be involved in the offense. There will be weeks this season where Roddy reels in 6 or 7 catches for 100 yards and looks like himself, and there will be games where he'll be shut out because Ryan's able to feed Julio and Devonta Freeman runs wild.
If the Falcons genuinely didn't want Roddy to be part of the offense, he wouldn't be on the field more than any other receiver week-in and week-out. Pair that with the fact that Roddy's frustration isn't boiling over yet and you have a situation worth monitoring, but not one worth fretting about. Let's hope Roddy busts out in a big way this Sunday against Washington, and we don't have to speak about this again.