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Drop or not, Josh Doctson needs to play more for the Redskins

Drop or not, Josh Doctson needs to play more for the Redskins

KANSAS CITY — Josh Doctson nearly made the biggest play of the Redskins young 2017 season on Monday night.


Late in the fourth quarter of a tie game, Doctson leaped into the air, clearing at least two feet, located a well-thrown pass from Kirk Cousins and got two hands on the ball.

As his body fell mercilessly to the ground, gravity yanking down the 6-foot-4 receiver just like it does much less animated objects, Doctson lost the ball when he hit the ground.

He hit hard, and as the ball rolled out of the back of the end zone, so too did the Redskins game-winning touchdown. 

In turn, Washington kicked a field goal, which briefly tied the game in Arrowhead Stadium with less than a minute to play.


Once the Chiefs got the ball, they drove down the field and kicked their own field goal to win, before a garbage time defensive TD made the score look far less close than the actual game

For the Redskins, a number of plays could have swung the outcome.

There were far too many penalties, especially from the defense on third downs.  Samaje Perine could not handle a simple pitch out of the backfield, and while the crisis was averted when the ball bounced clumsily out of bounds, it cost the Burgundy and Gold momentum. Early in the game, Terrelle Pryor dropped a key pass on a third down that would have extended a drive. 

The play that will be most remembered, however, is the near TD from Cousins to Doctson. And how it will be remembered matters. 

Doctson's had a tough start to his Washington career. He missed nearly his entire rookie year after being a 2016 first-round draft pick. This season, a nagging hamstring injury limited his snaps through the first four games of the year. 

He's also started to show that he can be a special player, fans are realizing the potential Doctson has and why Washington drafted him in the first round. It showed up against Oakland on a deep TD catch from Cousins, and it showed up against Kansas City, even if he couldn't hang onto the ball as he hit the turf. 


Doctson didn't make the catch, but he didn't drop the ball either.

To call that play a drop is unfair to the effort put forth by the wideout, and the incredible degreee of difficulty that play required. Be clear though, it was a catchable ball, and a good throw from Cousins. 

Not all things are binary. Could Doctson have made the play? Absolutely. He nearly did. Should he have made that play? Few players can, or do. In only his sixth NFL game, Doctson almost did. 

The second-year wideout from TCU needs to be on the field more for the Redskins. He's proven that. After the first quarter of the season, Doctson has logged less snaps than Terrelle Pryor, Jamison Crowder and Ryan Grant. Against the Chiefs, Doctson was out there for just 17 snaps. Pryor, who caught his first TD with the Redskins in the first half, logged 43 snaps. 

Doctson has gifts. The Redskins need to use them. 

With more opportunities, perhaps the debate won't center on drops, but catches. 


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Need to Know: The most underrated Redskins events of 2017

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Need to Know: The most underrated Redskins events of 2017

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, February 22, 20 days before NFL free agency starts.

I’m out this week so I’ll be re-posting some of the best and most popular articles of the past few months. Some may have slightly dated information but the major points in the posts still stand. Thanks for reading, as always.

The underrated Redskin moments of 2017

Originally published 12/29/17

Sometimes in the NFL, something happens that grabs headlines and appears to be a momentous event that has ripple effects that will last all season and perhaps beyond. Other times something that is greeted with a yawn by fans and the media turns out to be something with lasting impact. Here, in no particular order, are three underrated events from 2017. Tomorrow we’ll look at three events that were overrated at the time they happened.  

Beating the Rams in Week 2—Nobody got particularly excited when the Redskins went to the LA Memorial Coliseum and beat a Rams team that had gone 4-12 in 2016. Sure, there was a belief that they were in good hands with Sean McVay but nobody saw them as anything better than a middle of the pack team. The win looks much more impressive now as the 11-4 Rams have locked up their division with a playoff game in their future.

Drafting safety Montae Nicholson—He was a fourth-round pick who had a shoulder injury and appeared to be a reach. But once he got on the field, the reasons the Redskins drafted him became apparent. His range and hard hitting had an immediate impact on the game. Nicholson had problems staying on the field and he will finish the year on IR, so his impact this year was diminished. Regardless, he has a good chance of being part of the solution to a position with which the Redskins have had issues for years.

Ty Nsekhe’s injury—Against the Raiders in Week 3, Shawn Lauvao’s facemask had an issue and he had to leave the game for a play. In came Nsekhe without an opportunity to warm up. He suffered a core muscle injury and had to undergo surgery. His absence didn’t seem like a big deal at the time, but Trent Williams suffered a knee injury the next week and other offensive linemen were sidelined with injuries over the next several weeks. Nsekhe was inactive until the Week 10 game against the Vikings and he didn’t start a game until the Thanksgiving game against the Giants. He sure would have been useful to have in the lineup instead of T.J. Clemmings or Tyler Catalina.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.


Days until:

—NFL Combine (3/1) 7
—NFL Draft (4/26) 63
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 199

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Miami tagged Jarvis Landry, but what does that mean for the Redskins?

Miami tagged Jarvis Landry, but what does that mean for the Redskins?

Everything in the NFL feels like a powder keg, but the reality of Tuesday's opening of the franchise and transition tag period will play out as much more of a slow burn.

Few teams ever actually make moves on the opening day of the tag period, though the Dolphins bucked that conventional wisdom and used the non-exclusive franchise designation on wide receiver Jarvis Landry. 

Astute Redskins fans know the tag system all too well. Landry can now sign a one-year, fully guaranteed contract with the Dolphins worth more than $16 million, the average of the top-five paid receivers in the NFL.

They can also trade Landry and the compensation discussion with a non-exclusive tag begins at two first-round draft picks, though it can eventually be settled for much less. 


What, if anything, does Miami's move mean for the Redskins? Let's take a look:

  1. Not gonna work here - Landry never really seemed like a great fit for the Redskins as a free agent, and that was before the franchise tag. He's a really good slot WR, but Washington already has that in Jamison Crowder. Whether or not Landry actually gets a deal done with the Dolphins or gets traded, it seems highly unlikely the Redskins are his next team. 
  2. "Spirit of the tag" - Miami putting the tag on Landry so early in the process signals that the team might be trying to trade him instead of actually trying to sign him. If that's the case, and plenty of people are suggesting just that, it would seem to be in contrast with the "spirit of the tag." The idea is that a franchise or transition tag is supposed to be used as a tool by an NFL franchise to get a long-term deal done with one of their own players facing free agency. Using the tag as a mechanism to pull of a trade seems very different. Why does any of this matter for Redskins fans? As reports emerged that Washington might look to use a tag on Kirk Cousins and work to trade him, the Cousins camp has made clear they would file a grievance against that technique. Why? Because it would violate the spirit of the tag. Well, it sure looks like Miami is doing the same thing, and as of now, nobody has complained. The situations aren't identical; few resemble the Redskins long, slow, awkward dance with Cousins. But it's certainly worth monitoring. 
  3. Wide Receiver$ - The Redskins could use a veteran wideout to help their young group of Crowder and Josh Doctson. Well, with Landry getting tagged, the price tag just went up. The player that seems to make the most sense in Washington would be Jaguars wideout Allen Robinson. Coming off a knee injury in 2017, some thought Robinson could be signed on a somewhat team-friendly deal. If Landry can get franchised after a season where he didn't even get to 1,000 yards receiving, any thought of a team-friendly deal for Robinson is dead. Make no mistake, Landry and Robinson are good players, but the ever-increasing NFL salary cap will make both young receivers very well paid. 

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