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Redskins Playbook: After another limited practice, is Gruden growing frustrated with Doctson?

Redskins Playbook: After another limited practice, is Gruden growing frustrated with Doctson?

Redskins head coach Jay Gruden needs to see more out of second-year wideout Josh Doctson in practice before he plays more in games. Wednesday, that didn't happen, and it could be leading to some frustration for the coach. 

After Doctson played just 20 snaps against Philadelphia in Week 1, Gruden made clear that he needs to see his second-year wideout produce more in practice. Then, in the Redskins first public session since the loss to the Eagles, Doctson landed on the injury report with a hamstring issue.

"He’s just been tight," the coach said. He added, "precautionary this time of week."

For just about any other player, being limited on a Wednesday practice report means little. Doctson, however, is a special case.

MORE: NFL POWER RANKINGS - WHERE THINGS STAND ONE WEEK IN

He missed virtually all of 2016, his rookie season, following his selection 22nd overall in the draft. Things seemed like he was ready to showcase his skill this season in training camp, until a hamstring injury hit. He missed a number of practices, and only played in one preseason game, before logging just 20 snaps last week. 

Gruden then explained in a Monday press conference that he can't get Doctson on the field until he can stay on the practice fields. 

"I need to see him out here at practice, you know, on a consistent basis. He will make plays in practice. The more plays he makes in practice, the more comfortable that Kirk will be, the more reps he is going to get and that is going to happen," the coach said Monday. 

It's important to note that Gruden continued to emphasize the positive with Doctson, that the coach expected the player to turn the corner, practice more and be able to help in games. 

On Wednesday, Gruden was asked if the latest setback changes that plan.

"It doesn’t help," he said. 

The toughest part is the Redskins need Doctson. He has the potential to be a top wideout, and the Washington offense struggled Week 1 against the Eagles. The team lost Pierre Garçon and DeSean Jackson in the offseason. Doctson and Terrelle Pryor were supposed to offset those losses. The returns are early, but that doesn't seem too likely as of now. 

Gruden may well be growing frustrated with Doctson. The coach said last week Doctson was healthy, and the player reiterated the same sentiment in a media session. 

Now, again, he's missing practice time. And the coach made clear that will impact his playing time. 

The Redskins need Doctson on the field. For that to happen, Gruden needs Doctson on the practice field. Day after day, rep after rep. 

That question is slowly turning from when that happens, to if that happens. 

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Josh Doctson excited to finally get on the field against the Eagles

Josh Doctson excited to finally get on the field against the Eagles

Josh Doctson flashed how good he can be during Redskins training camp in Richmond.

Practice after practice, Doctson showed his route running ability, coupled with elite body control, and it very much made sense why the Redskins drafted the wideout in the first round in 2016.

Unfortunately, the strong practice performances were followed up with an injury.

In early August, Doctson injured his hamstring and an MRI revealed a slight pull. While he wasn't shut down, Doctson's practices became much more limited. He played in the second preseason game only to be a late scratch in the third preseason tilt

Now, with the Eagles coming to town on Sunday and the Redskins carrying only five receivers on their active roster, Doctson is very much in the plans. 

"I feel good," Doctson said on Wednesday at Redskins Park. "I'm looking forward to the game on Sunday."

RELATED: SCOUTING THE REDSKINS OPPONENTS

The depth chart the Redskins released in advance of the contest with Philadelphia lists Doctson as a starter, lined up opposite Terrelle Pyor with Jamison Crowder in the slot. Jordan Reed will man the tight end spot, giving QB Kirk Cousins his full arsenal of receiving weapons. 

That's the offense Jay Gruden thought about this offseason, as the Redskins remade their group after losing DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon. Doctson said he learned a lot from Jackson and Garçon during his rookie year, where he mostly watched and played in just two games. 

"I learned a lot. It's a long list of things," Doctson said he picked up from the pair of departed receivers, as well as WR coach Ike Hilliard. 

In 10 games as a senior at TCU, Doctson posted video game numbers. He caught 78 passes for 1,326 yards and scored 14 touchdowns. That's the player Washington wanted in the draft, and while his rookie year was largely lost to injury, that's the player Gruden wants to see against the Eagles. 

Doctson worked hard to rehab from the Achilles injuries that cost him his rookie season, and has worked hard to be ready for Philly. A man of few words, Doctson repeatedly explained how excited he was to take the field for the Redskins on Sunday. 

"I'm excited to play football this Sunday," he said. "I'm just trying to maintain so I can be ready for Sunday."

Fans, coaches, and even Kirk Cousins all feel the same way. 

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Redskins Playbook: It's time for Josh Doctson to hit the starting lineup

Redskins Playbook: It's time for Josh Doctson to hit the starting lineup

Football teams run by meritocracy, mostly, and the best players get on the field. It's time for that to be the case on the Redskins offense. 

After missing the bulk of the 2016 season with injuries, Josh Doctson had an impressive training camp in Richmond before being sidelined by a hamstring injury. Luckily for Doctson and the Redskins, the hammy issue wasn't as bad as it looked at first. Doctson missed the first preseason game but played last week against the Packers, and finished with one catch for 12 yards. 

RELATED: JOSH DOCTSON LOOKS GOOD TO GO

Doctson did not start in that game, however, as Ryan Grant opened the game opposite Terrelle Pryor. For all of the fans' angst about Grant, Redskins coaches trust and believe in the fourth-year pro. Grant will be part of the Redskins offense in 2017.

That said, Doctson needs to be starting. Another week removed from the hamstring issue, and nearly a full year removed from the Achilles injuries that robbed his rookie season, Doctson could be a special weapon for Washington. 

'Skins coach Jay Gruden said that last week the team was slowly bringing Doctson back.

"I think Josh was just coming back from his hamstring, we weren’t sure how much he was going to play," Gruden said. "We eased him back in the lineup a little bit and made a couple catches there."

RELATED: WILL PRYOR AND DOCTSON'S STYLE OF PLAY RESEMBLE JACKSON AND GARCON?

The cautious approach with Doctson made sense, though this week against the Bengals it needs to stop. There have been no setbacks and Doctson has looked completely healthy in practice. In fact, Doctson showed flashes of being the best wideout among the talented Redskins receiving crew. There's a reason Doctson was a first-round draft pick last season.

Here's the other thing: The Redskins need their offense to produce this week. Through two preseason games the offense has been bad, and while it isn't a reason to worry, the team would be well served with an impressive performance.

Tight end Jordan Reed is back at practice, and while he may or may not play against the Bengals, Doctson needs to play plenty. It's time. 

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