Back on the field and feeling healthy following Achilles injuries during his rookie season, Redskins wide receiver Josh Doctson is working hard to build chemistry with Trent Williams and provide big plays out wide.
"The injury is pretty much nonexistent now."
The Washington Redskins used their 2016 first-round pick on All-American wide receiver Josh Doctson, adding to what was already an impressive group of wide receivers with playmaking ability, particularly in the red zone.
At 6-foot-2, Doctson was at least two inches taller than the team's other top targets: Pierre Garçon, DeSean Jackson and Jamison Crowder.
But before the TCU product could even get comfortable in the offense, his rookie season was slowed significantly by different Achilles issues. He missed the majority of offseason workouts and was placed on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list on the first day of training camp, not being activated until the first week of the regular season.
Doctson would appear in Washington's first two games of the season and even recorded a 57-yard reception against the Dallas Cowboys, the longest catch by a Redskins rookie in 15 seasons.
But that would be the last catch of his rookie season, as the Achilles issues continued before being placed on Injured Reserve in October.
"It was frustrating," Doctson said on Wednesday. "I went on the record some of the time talking about how frustrating it was, but I'm not thinking back, the past, I'm just thinking about right now, the present, and how I'm feeling right now, and obviously when I'm out here making plays and stuff, it feels good."
Indeed, Doctson is back out on the field and making plays, as was the case during Tuesday's open media OTA session at the Inova Sports Performance Center at Redskins Park in Loudoun County, Va.
Working with the first- and second-team offensive units, Doctson showed no signs of lingering issues from his Achilles injuries.
Check out images from the Washington Redskins' offense during their second day of OTAs at the Inova Sports Performance Center at Redskins Park in Loudoun County, Va.
Doctson made one of the highlight catches of the day during 11-on-11 unit work, using a double-move at the line of scrimmage to free himself of coverage from the secondary before hauling in what would have been a lengthy gain.
"He's been impressive," said head coach Jay Gruden. "I think the big thing for him is the confidence in his Achilles and I think he's got that right now. I saw him out there [Tuesday] and [Monday], the last two days he's looked better and better. It looks like he can run down the field. He made a good catch down the sideline today and [he has] strong hands, we know that about him. Now we've just got to continue to put one day after another after another."
Doctson was a mainstay at team headquarters during the offseason, working with the Redskins' strength and conditioning staff to prepare for a bounceback season.
He began running again in March, but admitted he likely could have done so a little bit earlier.
"I could have ran before, but I was just taking it slow, baby steps," Doctson said. "There's no rush. There's days I came out here and I would tell the strength coaches, 'Hey, I want to get out here and run,' and those guys are telling me, 'No, just wait, there's no rush.' Even with OTAs, you know, I'm just full speed, but I'm also maintaining, at the same time, you don't want to do too much because it's my second year so I know that training camp is when I need to be ready to go."
Having a season away certainly isn't ideal for any player, especially one expected to contribute immediately, but being sidelined did allow Doctson the opportunity to watch how some of the veterans approached the game.
"I learned a lot from Pierre and DeSean, really just visual learning," Doctson said. "I just like watching them, observing. [Pierre] was probably the best route runner I've ever seen in person, so just watching him and how he broke down, full speed, it was just incredible to watch as a receiver. I just get excited about that, so just coming out, trying to do what he did in terms of running his routes, that's what I'm trying to do."