When it was first reported the Chicago Bears signed Calgary Stampeders defensive back Tre Roberson, the move created some excitement throughout the Bears fanbase.
College quarterback. Stud CFL cornerback. Field goal blocking specialist.
What can’t Tre Roberson do?
— Bleacher Nation Bears (@BN_Bears) January 30, 2020
— Nick Petro (@petroshag) January 29, 2020
Tre Roberson was a dual threat QB at Indiana.. Made himself into a great pro corner who was too good for the CFL.. As an Edmonton Eskimos fan I can tell you first hand this is a really good signing for the Bears and I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s starting week 1.#Bears100
— Ed Belfour Appreciation Account (@DirtbagDonny) January 29, 2020
A reason for that optimism stems directly from Roberson’s accomplishments in the CFL. The 27-year-old playmaker had seven interceptions (including two pick-6s) and 41 tackles in 2019, and helped the Stampeders win the Grey Cup in 2018.
There is no denying Roberson had success while he was with the Stampeders, but it is impossible to gauge what kind of player and a person Roberson truly is by just watching highlight videos.
To help get a better understanding of the newest Chicago Bear, I talked to Roberson’s former Calgary Stampeders defensive backs coach Joshua Bell and his former Illinois State Redbird teammate Kyle Williams. Bell coached Roberson from 2018-2019, and Williams played wide receiver while Roberson was a quarterback from 2014-2015.
Here is what Bell and Williams had to say about Roberson.
Bell on Roberson:
Q: What is Tre Roberson like on the football field?
A: He is a dangerous player. When he is on the football field, he has that Charles Woodson, that Chris Harris Jr. in him. He just picked up on tendencies from receivers and made a lot of plays.
Q: What made Tre stand out?
A: Man, Tre was always watching film. With his quarterback background, he was watching everything: offensive linemen, receivers, quarterbacks, everyone. Even on the bye week, he watched close to 13 hours of film. We could monitor and track how much film everyone was watching, and Tre always logged the most time. He didn’t just leave the film on and let it run; he was constantly watching it. His commitment to studying showed up on game day.
Tre also always looked to be coached. He doesn’t have an ego or anything like that, so when he was being coached, he took what he learned and didn’t make the same mistake twice.
Q: What do you believe is the best fit for Tre in the NFL?
A: Tre was someone who played every secondary position for us. He wasn’t just making plays at the boundary corner. He was in the nickel, at free safety, in the box and making plays everywhere he was at. But I believe he can be a lockdown corner in the NFL. I really do.
Q: What was your reaction when you heard Tre signed with the Bears?
A: I was just really excited for him. He is extremely humble, resilient and a family-first guy. He truly deserved this opportunity, and I can’t wait to see what he can do for the Chicago Bears.
Q: Final question for you, Josh, what word would you use to describe Tre Roberson?
Williams on Roberson:
Q: What was Tre like as a quarterback?
A: As a quarterback, Tre was a great athlete. As skinny as he looked, he could throw that ball really hard. But he was always working on his craft and really dedicated to everything he did. He was just an athlete. He was fast and always making moves. He was smart, very smart, with the ball in his hands.
Q: As a quarterback, naturally there is a leadership role that comes with the position. How was Tre as a leader for your team?
A: He was that type of leader that if you mess up, he doesn’t want to see the mistake made a second time. His standards were really high. Especially since with the team we had and the success that we were having, everyone had a specific role, and that is why we got to the national championship. Obviously we came up short, but having Tre’s leadership throughout that season was amazing.
Q: I spoke with Tre’s former DB coach with the Calgary Stampeders, and he told me that Tre was basically a film nut. Was he constantly watching film at Illinois State?
A: As a quarterback, he had to watch a lot of film to key in on the matchups going into the game. I think that him watching a lot of film and how he carried himself helped with our next quarterback Jake Kolbe. Kolbe was another film nut, and that carried over from watching Tre. I can definitely say one thing I got from him [Roberson] is how to watch film.
Q: What are your expectations for him now that he is a Chicago Bear?
A: His will to win is unmatched. That is the mentality guys have when they want to get to the next level. So my expectations for him in Chicago are that he is going to be a really good player for coach [Matt] Nagy. Obviously Chicago is known for their defense. He has Kyle Fuller to help him out. I just think he will make an impact right away. His confidence is there. He just needs to learn the playbook and understand what the Bears want him to do. Once he gets in the flow of things, he is going to fit in like he did in the CFL.