Despite being a rookie, Washington Redskins wide receiver Rashad Ross' journey has taken him to more places than some of his veteran teammates.
Signed by the Redskins in May, Ross is on his third NFL team after splitting time between Butte College and Arizona State.
After going undrafted in 2013, Ross signed with the Tennessee Titans and eventually spent time on their practice squad before a brief stint with the Kansas City Chiefs.
While it's certainly been a tumultuous ride at times, the experience has strengthened the former Sun Devil.
"It has strengthened me because I already know what to expect," Ross said. "Some rookies that are just out of college are blind about what's going to happen. You really don't know how training camp going to go, if you not getting reps what the coach think, all that."
"But for me since this is my second go-round, I feel like I don't let that bother me. Me not getting reps, me having a bad day, none of that bothers me because I know anything can happen. All it takes is that one play."
Training Camp ProgressThat one play make have taken place during 11-on-11 drills Aug. 4, when Ross made perhaps the play of training camp on a slant route.
Getting a quick jump off the line, Ross was able to disconnect from the coverage applied by the New England Patriots and made a beautiful, fully extended, one-handed grab for a first down.
It was a play that shows how he much he's progressed over the last few months.
"I feel like I improved on my ball skills," Ross said when asked about the play and what he's looking to improve on over the coming weeks. "Looking in the air and seeing how to track it."
Ross then carried those skills into the Redskins' preseason opener against the New England Patriots.
With just more than three minutes to go in the third quarter at FedExField, the Redskins were deep in their own territory at the nine-yard line.
On 1st and 5, quarterback Colt McCoy dropped back, planted and launched a high, arching toss down the sideline towards Ross, who was able to get separation from two different New England defenders, jump, make the catch and keep his feet in bounds while falling to the ground for the 35-yard reception.
Ross said he's able to make better plays now because he has a better understanding of his team's playbook and various schemes.
"Now I know the playbook like my back hand," Ross said. "In the past, I didn't know the playbooks that good and now I do, so it gives me a better chance."
Hands-On Learning Under His Favorite Player
Ross is a pretty active guy on social media, posting various photos and comments about his football activity while also providing a glimpse of his off-field activity.
One recurring theme during his posting is the presence of DeSean Jackson.
When asked about why the three-time Pro Bowler is seen so much on his social media accounts, Ross said it's because Jackson was his favorite player growing up.
"He's somebody I looked up to," Ross admitted. "When I'm on the field with him, I try to get everything that's possible I can get. Anything positive from him that's possible. I mean I hung out with him all last week, he tells me what I need to do to make the team."
Capable of speeding past defensive backs with ease, Ross tries to emulate some of Jackson's propensities and pluck answers out of him when possible.
"I got speed just like him, so at the end of the day I just try to get little tips from him," Ross said. "I ask him a lot of questions and everything."
Five W's And One H
Who's the best wide receiver of all time?"I mean, history shows Jerry Rice is the best receiver of all time."
Why is your Twitter handle @TheRocketRashad?"Actually, my agent made that up for me because I'm fast so I guess he said let's do 'The Rocket Rashad.'"
When did you get the call from the Redskins?"Right when I was released from Kansas City. Right after the draft they called me and wanted to work me out. I came, worked out, ran a 4.3 in the workout and I've been good ever since then."
Where is the best place to go around Arizona State?"I like to stay around campus. No place specific, honestly."
Why does your high school (Vallejo High School) produce so many professional athletes?(Current New York Yankees pitcher C.C. Sabathia and three-time Pro Bowl linebacker Mike Meriweather also attended.)
"Where I'm from, we have a lot of athletes. From a little kid, I had brothers. I've got five brothers. I've got three brothers that I look up to. We've got like an athlete family, we a sport family. Everybody from where we from like in our neighborhood, there wasn't no video games. We out playing throw up tackle, just playing sports. That's all I did all my life so I think as us being "yay-high" we matured to be good athletes."
How fast can you run the 40?"I mean my fastest was a 4.34, but I'm pretty sure I can run faster than that."