With more than 100 receiving yards in two preseason games, Rashad Ross is standing out and finding consistency in the Redskins' offense.
For the entirety of last year, one filled with uncertainty as a member of the Bears and, later, the Redskins' practice squads, wide receiver Rashad Ross was known for going deep, and that was about it.
So this past offseason, Ross wanted to soften that stigma. He worked more on his route running that would allow him to focus on catching shorter passes, too, the kind that don't make highlight reels but would give him better opportunities to use his athleticism over the middle and after the catch.
Following Thursday night's 21-17 victory over the Lions, and after two preseason games in which he's totaled more than 100 yards receiving, the improvements have become noticeable and the deep threat has become part of a larger repertoire.
"I just feel great about it because I'm being consistent," he said.
Ross ended up catching four passes for 39 yards and a touchdown against Detroit, bolstering his rapport with quarterback Kirk Cousins from last week's game in Cleveland in which he caught five passes for 68 yards.
"I mean it's very nice," Ross said. "I mean really it just makes it better because game one we hooked up I believe like five times. Just being consistent -- that's my whole goal is to play hard and be consistent."
Ross' longest reception of the game came at the start of fourth quarter, when Cousins was flushed out of the pocket to his right. Ross had to follow his quarterback scrambling and paralleled his movement up-field, where he hauled in a well-placed ball for a 22-yard gain into Lions territory.
The early connection would help finish the 14-play, 80-yard drive, when Cousins found Ross in the back of the end zone with a four-yard strike after Ross peeled around Lions safety Nate Ness unnoticed.
"I thought it was a good night," Cousins said. "Not just when I was playing but I think the whole offense we did a good job. We got the win - which is most important. We protected the football. We made plays. In the short amount of time that I was in there, I felt good about what we were able to accomplish."
Ross also fielded a couple of punts in the fourth quarter, something he hasn't done much since three years ago in college at Arizona State, but is feeling more confident in that position. And the intermittent rain Thursday night, which turned the field and the ball soggy, didn't bother him thanks to some of the same weather in Richmond, Va., where the Redskins recently ended their training camp practices.
"I say nothing was really difficult because we did it in training camp," Ross said. "The rainy days really helped in training camp…because we were dropping balls at the beginning, we got a feel for the rain, we got to catch the ball different. We really got to look it in. So that's what I'd do. [I] probably double caught it twice some plays that I had but I really had to look in the ball when it's raining."
Regardless of who is throwing the ball, Ross feels good about his progression thus far in the limited time he's seen the field. His peers such as Reggie Bell, who also scored a touchdown Thursday, have rallied around each other knowing just how important real game action is to their chances of survival come September.
"As a receiver we're a unit," Ross said. "If one of us do good, we all do good, if that makes any sense. And then as a receiver, we're building off each other. We help the team."