Each day during training camp, Redskins Insider Rich Tandler will pick out a play from practice to break down in some detail. The focus will be on plays that can give us some hints as to what we can look forward to this season.
RICHMOND—The Redskins were running a drill featuring one-on-one coverage with defensive backs and receivers. Josh Doctson was lined up wide left and Bashaud Breeland was covering him. As Doctson ran a go pattern he built some separation between himself and the defender. But the pass, which traveled about 40 yards downfield, was a little short and Breeland was able to knock it down.
Here is the end of that play, captured by USA Today Sports Images:
A few plays later, Doctson was up again. This time the cornerback was Quinton Dunbar. Doctson again got separation quickly and took off on the go pattern. This time the pass was on the money and Doctson hauled it in at almost the exact spot where he couldn’t get the handle on his previous play.
One camera was in the perfect spot to capture the play.
(Seeing this, I’m wondering if Doctson had control throughout the process of the catch as it came loose in the end zone. But who knows what a catch really is, right? In any case, we’re calling it a catch.)
When most fans think about what Doctson’s contribution might be this year, they think of him being a big target on third and six and catching passes in the red zone. However, the long ball will be part of his game as well.
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Nobody will be looking for him to replace DeSean Jackson as the team’s deep threat. He ran a 4.5 in the 40-yard dash at the combine, a respectable time but far from “blow the top off the defense” speed. However, he is quick enough to beat a cornerback off the line and his large catch radius can be an asset deep downfield as well as it can in tight traffic near the line of scrimmage.
Even if he doesn’t go deep often, if teams need to respect the long ball Doctson will find more room to operate underneath.
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Doctson appears to be fully healthy after being a non-factor as a rookie due to an Achilles injury. And last March he started seeing a specialist who he hopes will help keep him on the field.
“He just realigns my body, my hips, align my hips, make sure by back is all right,” said Doctson. “I was off balance a little bit, my right side was longer than my left and it starts to overcompensate, works hard and little things start to wind down and it was my Achilles that was affected by all of it.”
It’s been so far, so good with the new program.
“Nobody wants to be injured, ever,” said Doctson. “You want to be available for your teammates, for yourself, for the organization. This year is totally different, I don’t feel anything wrong with my body, so I’ll be ready to go.”
We still have a long grind to go before the start of the season so it’s perhaps premature to celebrate having a healthy Doctson on the field for games that count. But if he proves to be more versatile than many are thinking right now he could be a great asset to the offense and lots of fun to watch.
Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.