As the Redskins first team offense took the field during OTAs this week, one skill player was noticeably absent.
Kirk Cousins took snaps, Rob Kelley lined up in the backfield, Terrelle Pryor manned his spot on the outside and Jamison Crowder held fast in the slot.
2016 first-round pick Josh Doctson, however, was on the sideline.
Instead, fourth-year wideout Ryan Grant took the field with the first unit as the third receiver.
"They’re both good receivers. They’re both going to play," Washington head coach Jay Gruden said about Doctson and Grant. "The good thing about Ryan is that he can play all over the place."
Gruden explained that the Redskins are focused on teaching Doctson to play the "Z" receiver position. Considering he played in just two games as a rookie and caught only two balls, much of Doctson's work this offseason is like beginning from square one. The Z receiver usually plays on the strong side of the field off the line of scrimmage, with the "X" working alone on the other side of the offense.
"He can play both, but right now we’re trying to start him at Z and see how it goes. That would be the plan," Gruden said.
Pryor is locked into the X receiver role, that much looks certain. It seems like Grant taking snaps with the first team is more about rewarding his hard work and knowledge of the offense than an actual prediction of playing time come September.
If Doctson is healthy, and according to Gruden he is, he will line up opposite Pryor Week 1 against the Eagles.
The flashes of speed, skill and smooth route running the former TCU star has shown in OTAs all but assures that.
In a way, Gruden is doing the right thing. Doctson does not automatically get the top spot with the first team offense, he needs to earn it, and that will be done in practice. Last year, Doctson hardly practiced as he sat out nearly the entire year. All of the Redskins coaches and brass talk about competition at every position on the field, and Doctson must earn his way to that first unit.
Don't worry though, Redskins fans. If he stays on the field, Doctson will be out there with the Redskins first team catching balls from Cousins.
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