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With Healthy Season Down, Josh Doctson Seeking Overall Improvement


Redskins wide receiver Josh Doctson bounced back from an injury-filled rookie season to total more than 500 receiving yards and six scores. Now he wants to add to those totals next season.

After his 2016 season was cut short after just two games and 31 offensive snaps, Washington Redskins wide receiver Josh Doctson completed his second season healthy and with an uptick in performance the coaching staff hopes will be the foundation for bigger and better outings moving forward.

Doctson finished 2017 appearing in all 16 of Washington's regular season games, recording 35 receptions for 502 yards and a team-high six receiving touchdowns. Doctson also appeared on 752 offensive plays, nearly 100 more than any other wide receiver on the roster.

The 2016 first-round pick said he learned a lot during the season, both in how he prepares for games and in ways he can be a better receiver on the field, whether that be running crisper routes or learning how to gain separation from defensive backs.

"With experience, you gain trust with the coaches, trust with the quarterback and just trust in yourself," Doctson told this week. "So, I finally was able to play my rookie year this year, and I'll go back and see that there's a lot of things that I could have done better and that's for everybody. So, definitely looking for a better year for myself and everybody else next year."

Doctson's year started off slowly, as the TCU product did not record a catch in the first two games of the season. Although he had a 52-yard touchdown reception against the Oakland Raiders in Week 3, an acrobatic catch where he grabbed the ball at the peak of his jump over David Amerson, it was his only catch on the night.

The night was indicative of most of his season, as Doctson would make big plays but didn't produce the massive numbers fans are eager to see out of the 2015 unanimous All-American.

In two of Washington's three games after a Week 5 bye, Dotson registered just one catch in a game. But both times it was for touchdowns.

Then in Week 9 against the Seattle Seahawks, Doctson made the best play of his young career when he hauled in a diving 38-yard catch on the one-yard line to set up a game-winning score by Rob Kelley. It was only one of three catches for him on the afternoon.

In Washington's final two games, though, Doctson was targeted 23 times after receiving just 29 targets in the first nine games. That increase came with more of an understanding between Doctson and quarterback Kirk Cousins.

"That's just with any quarterback, you've got to put in the time," Doctson said. "Same with back home in college with Trevone Boykin, the first couple years are rough edges, and then my junior and senior year we really got going. So, it's just a matter of that timing with the quarterback [and] chemistry."

Now the Redskins are looking for Doctson to piece everything together so that he can added more receptions and yards to his touchdown and highlight reel play totals.

Additionally, the Redskins want him to be more of an impact player when the team runs the ball, especially if Doctson is going to be an every-down receiver.

"You want a guy that knows the system, can line up at multiple spots, obviously he's physical enough in the running game that he can block a safety every now and then and that's something that is very important around here," said Redskins head coach Jay Gruden. "If we want to be able to run the ball, we've got to have physical receivers that can block safeties every now and then because they're going to line up in eight-man boxes.

"The same skill set you're looking for at receiver, you've got to have some speed, you've got to have great hands, you've got to have great toughness – mental toughness, physical toughness – and not easy to find. Easier said than done. A lot of receivers have either the speed but not the toughness or maybe the toughness but not the speed, but we have to find that rare combination that fits in this offense, both personality-wise and competitive-wise."

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