With OTAs nearing, Washington Redskins wide receiver Josh Doctson has been "really working hard" to make up for lost time from his rookie year and prepare for a breakout 2017 season.
After having his rookie season nearly wiped clean by different Achilles issues, Washington Redskins wide receiver Josh Doctson has recently been providing a few glimpses of his road back to full health.
The 24-year-old posted on his Snapchat account last week various on-field drills, running routes and cutting sharply. While basic steps, it shows that Doctson is raring to go in hopes of a bounceback year in 2017.
"Josh is really working hard man, and that's half the battle," Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said on Wednesday at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. "We fully anticipate him being healthy. That's obviously out of our control, but he is going to have a major impact on this offense once he gets healthy. And that's the biggest thing for him is can you take the strides necessary to get healthy. Not overworking it but continue to push himself."
A healthy return would help a Redskins receiving corps that is currently in flux. After three seasons as one of the best receiving combos in the NFL, veterans DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon are set to become unrestricted free agents next month. There's no guarantee that both or even one will be back under contract for Washington in 2017.
While Gruden admitted that he'd like to re-sign Jackson and Garçon, he knows that there will be markets for both. So that only expounds the need for Doctson to be back on the field alongside other young wideouts.
"I do feel very, very good about Jamison Crowder, Ryan Grant and Josh Doctson," Gruden said. "I love the fact that Mo [Maurice] Harris got a lot of work in; he's going to develop. And we got some other guys, younger guys, Kendal Thompson in the building, that I think they're going to be good players."
After missing all of training camp and the preseason, Doctson was able to return off the Physically Unable To Perform list just in time for the regular season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The 2015 unanimous All-American was also active for Washington's Week 2 matchup with the Dallas Cowboys, catching two passes for 66 yards. Fifty-seven of those yards came against the Cowboys in Week 2, as Doctson took advantage of a lack of coverage to record the longest reception by a Redskins rookie wide receiver since 2001.
Putting up more performances like that in the future will only help an offensive unit that could have some change at the position.
"I think the progress is being made that we wanted to see really," Gruden said. "Obviously there's still a long way to go. But I just wanted to make sure he's not in a boot in February still. I think now we're seeing him do some things on Snapchat…it's good to see him out there running doing some football drills."