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.
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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