It's been a relatively quiet training camp for the Redskins as compared to camps of the past. One of the few concerns, however, has been the health of first-round draft pick Josh Doctson.
The rookie wide receiver is dealing with an Achilles injury that has made him primarily a spectator thus far. One analyst, however, seems to believe there's more to worry about than just the injury.
“I’ve heard not-great things about Josh Doctson,” former Redskin Chris Cooley said Monday during his morning radio show on ESPN980. “The health, the lack of love for football. We’ll see what we get out of this guy. Josh Doctson, if you watch him walk around, not a happy camper. Now maybe it’s the injury, but he’s walking around in a boot, and then he’ll take the boot off and put a cleat on and do some drills and then immediately put a boot back on.”
Oh boy, here we go. Are we really not past the 'he's not playing injured therefore he doesn't love football' mentality? Not even in 2016?
Now, this isn't all on Cooley. If players or coaches are telling Cooley that they don't believe Doctson loves football, that's their opinion. Cooley also seems to be injecting his own opinion of Doctson, however, when he talks about how unhappy he looks.
Because why would a player drafted into the NFL who is limited in camp by an injury look unhappy other than lack of love for the game? It can't possibly be frustration over the fact that he's not playing.
Cooley went on to say he believed this would be a "redshirt year" for Doctson.
“It‘s so hard, even as a first-round pick — unless McCloughan says ‘When he’s in, you game plan for him’ — for a coaching staff to go Garcon, Jackson, Crowder, Reed, Vernon Davis — who’s having a spectacular camp right now — five of them, Chris Thompson, Ryan Grant having a decent camp right now, Rashad Ross is in there right now, to go now we start game-planning for this guy that we’ve never seen.
“It’s not helping [Doctson]. I mean, it’s not hurting him in the long run of his career, and at any point he can come in and have a couple breakout games or a breakout game and [Jay Gruden] and [Sean McVay] will say yep, got to feed the guy. But for the time being, I see him as coming in early and having maybe some red zone package, maybe a heavy personnel package. ... I mean, he may change everyone’s mind when he steps on the field, but right now, [missing practice time is] not helping him.”
Wait...what role did we think Doctson was going to have this year to begin with? He's a rookie receiver on a team with fantastic receiving depth. He wasn't going to supplant Pierre Garcon. His injury hasn't demoted him to just specific packages, that was always going to be his role this season.
The Redskins drafted Doctson in the first round despite having receiving targets Garcon, DeSean Jackson, Jordan Reed, Jamison Crowder, Ryan Grant and Rashad Ross already on the roster. As much as the Redskins may want Doctson to practice and play this season, there is zero reason for the team to want him to rush back.
Training camp is an important time for a rookie. Of course you'd love to see Doctson fully participating, but it's unfair to question his love of the game of a player not practicing because he's injured.
Maybe we should reserve judgment until Doctson gets healthy and is able to take the field. Just a thought.