Completing offseason workouts this week healthy, Redskins wide receiver Josh Doctson is ready to have a bigger workload put on his plate as he looks to make an impact in 2017.
Despite feeling back to full strength this offseason, Washington Redskins wide receiver Josh Doctson's workload during offseason workouts was limited at times. Some days, the 2016 first-round pick was a full participant in practice sessions, working with the first- and second-team offensive units.
Then other days, Doctson would come on in spot appearances opposite Terrelle Pryor Sr. and Jamison Crowder.
The decision to slowly bring Doctson back into the fold was by design, as the coaching staff wants to make sure his Achilles issues no longer an issue once training camp rolls around next month.
"This time last year, OTAs were hurting me and setting me back for the whole season so I can understand it and appreciate that," Doctson told reporters this week during Washington's minicamp at the Inova Sports Performance Center at Redskins Park in Loudoun County, Va. "Now that this is over, I can see the bigger picture, which is training camp and the season."
During the first day of OTA practice sessions in May, Doctson strung together perhaps the strong performance of any offensive player. He'd catch quarterback Trent Williams' first pass during 11-on-11 drills while being defended by cornerback Josh Norman and then later made a highlight catch, using a double-move at the line of scrimmage to free himself for what could have been a long touchdown reception in live action.
Those plays, along with countless other throws made from Cousins to Doctson over the last few months including a private workout session in Florida in March, is laying the foundation for a better on-field relationship between the two.
"You know, before all this started we were in Tampa, he invited me out there with a few other guys and just building that relationship, man," Doctson said. "and that bond so he can trust me on Sundays on game day.
"[He's] a very enthusiastic guy and really cares about football and really knows the offensive side in and out, so he's a great guy to work with."
With the 22nd pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, the Washington Redskins selected wide receiver Josh Doctson of TCU. Take a look at his collegiate career in photos.
Doctson did 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 he wasn't able to get any more in-game action after Week 2, slowed by a reoccurring Achilles injury that eventually resulted in him being placed on Injured Reserve in October.
Doctson began running again in March, and in just three months has progressed well as the training staff continues to ease his full transition back onto the field.
"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."
At training camp, the Redskins will begin to place more on Doctson's plate at the "Z" receiver position, which was previously Pierre Garçon's position in the offense in recent years.
After spending his rookie season watching Garçon's tendencies on the field, Doctson is hoping to produce like the Mount Union product did in his five seasons with the Redskins.
"[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," Doctson said last month. "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."