It's been three days of training camp, and it already seems as though Josh Doctson and Alex Smith are hitting it off. Between offensive sets, the pair has had consistent dialogue, something Doctson respects as he continues to gain momentum going into 2018, building a rapport with the newly minted starting quarterback.
"I love Alex. I love how he plays the game—he's a veteran," Doctson said. "I can feel him making me better. After the plays, we talk about what I saw, what he saw. I look at how he talks to other receivers about plays, and so we're all just trying to be a sponge with Alex. We've got something special going."
It's very clear that he and the rest of an extremely talented wide receiving corps have all set high expectations for themselves going into the season, and everyone will be held accountable. When asked on "Redskins Nation" what the attitude going into the 2018 season would be, the receiver was pretty straightforward.
"I think it's a big year for everybody, myself included," Doctson said. "I think I have a big year in terms of my role in being better for Alex [Smith], my teammates, and my coaches, so I'm just looking forward to getting better."
Obviously there's a lot of external pressure that comes with being a first-round pick, but if you ask Doctson, he'll tell you that he's ignoring the noise now.
"I was a No. 1 pick two years ago," he said. "For me, that's been washed out the door. I think that was relevant my first year. There's no more No. 1 pick in my head. For me, I want to be the X-receiver and I want to be the guy that my teammates can count on."
Head coach Jay Gruden has his receiver's back as well. During Saturday morning's press conference, he was sure to specify his expectations of the TCU standout.
"Well I think Josh, it just depends it's hard to say statistically. Around here, the way we spread the ball around, it's going to be hard," Gruden prefaced. "I think in the red zone is where he's is going to be most dangerous, that's where were hoping that he can really dominate in that area of the field and some tight window throws on third down. Just continue to get better and better and when the ball is there for him and he goes out and makes the tough catches."
If increasing his career stats isn't on the back of his mind, you can be sure that it's on the front of everyone else's. Some believe he can double his career totals (1,200 yards) in a single season, which is a goal Doctson can get behind.
"Sounds good, man," he said. "I always try to set the bar higher so let's get it."
The Washington Redskins conducted their second day of training camp practice Saturday, July 28, 2018 at Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center in Richmond, Va.
The receiver isn't too much into pre-season flashiness, and if you ask him, he's his own toughest critic. After coming off a season where he had 35 receptions for 502 yards and six touchdowns, he's definitely looking to improve and put it all together. According to him, the days of self-critiquing were necessary to get better, something he learned to do frequently during his days at TCU.
"I just see with anybody that's working in their profession," he said. "Year by year you find things to get better at, you fine tune things at the end of your year, and get a feel for what's expected. It's the same thing with football. People see it differently, but ultimately some people explode on the scene, some people are late, and some people just never do it. It's just a matter of putting time in, diagnosing where the errors are at, confronting them, being a tough critic and rolling with it."
For football players, it's important to be a part of an atmosphere that keeps them motivated on a day-to-day basis. For Doctson, the Richmond community provides just that. While he may keep his on-the-field goals close to the chest, what he does want to share is lifelong memories with the fans.
"It's routine. It's the only thing I know since I've gotten in the league," Doctson said. "We go down to Richmond and that's the start of the season. Every time I come down here, it's a beautiful thing because I know we're about to start up. The thing I love, man, is not only myself, but my teammates are able to give the fans memories through a lot of wins and a lot of losses. It's just a beautiful thing so see them remember so many small details and it's so huge to them. It just feels really good that we're able to give them those memories that they'll probably never forget."