PHILADELPHIA — Leading up to Monday’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Redskins coach Jay Gruden said he needed to better incorporate wide receiver Josh Doctson into the offense. Through five games, the Redskins’ 2016 first-round pick appeared on just 37 percent of Washington’s offensive snaps.
Gruden, however, didn’t tell reporters that Doctson’s increased role was going to come at the expense of playing time for Terrelle Pryor.
Pryor finished with just two catches for 14 yards in the Redskins’ 34-24 loss against the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday.
Doctson started in place of Pryor, who sat out for most of the first half and rarely saw the field.
“It’s coach’s call,” Pryor said. “I don’t have much say in it.”
The Redskins are a long way from training camp in Richmond when quarterback Kirk Cousins seemingly connected with Pryor at will.
Pryor gambled on himself in the offseason, signing a one-year, $6 million “prove-it” deal to be the Redskins’ No. 1 receiver. Washington was confident Pryor could fill the production of DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon, who each signed elsewhere in free agency. Pryor, after a 1,000-yard plus season with the Cleveland Browns, thought he could boost his value even further.
The season has been a different story. Pryor has just 16 catches for 209 yards and one touchdown in six games.
Doctson started at the “X” position on offense, which typically lines up on the weakside of the formation. Jamison Crowder remained at “Z,” or the strong side. Doctson had three catches for 39 yards.
“We had a sub-pattern going and we’re going to get Terrelle in there later,” Gruden said.”We wanted to get Josh in there early.”
Pryor, to his credit, said he believed in Gruden and said “you’re not going to see any animosity from me.” He praised Doctson and wanted “whatever’s best for the team.”
But Pryor was also mystified why he hasn’t fit in smoothly to the Redskins’ offense. He repeatedly said, “That’s a good question” to multiple inquiries about his role, struggling to find the answers.
“I think it’s just the scheme of the offense,” Pryor said. “It’s a spread around offense, spread the ball around offense. Like I said, it’s still early. There’s a lot of guys around the league that are starting fresh with new quarterbacks and isn’t killing the game right now either. We have 10 games left. Let’s see what happens.”
Still, it’s rare for major offseason acquisitions like Pryor to have their role cut after just five games. Before Monday’s loss, Pryor appeared on the field for 81.6 percent of the offense’s snaps.
Pryor, though, didn’t know his role going forward. He was told that Doctson was starting and didn’t have much to add.
Cousins, meanwhile, said as long as Doctson was feeling fresh, the plan was to get Doctson more involved, rotating Pryor in “maybe” every third series or so.
“When you have Vernon [Davis], Jordan [Reed] and Chris Thompson, it doesn’t leave a lot of space for four or five receivers, so you pick two or three and go with them.” Cousins said. “That tonight was Jamison, Josh Doctson and Ryan Grant.”
As for the Redskins’ loss against the Eagles, Pryor didn’t have much to say on that either. He was asked how tough it was to try and rally once the Eagles took the lead in the second quarter.
“I don’t know,” Pryor said. “I was on the sideline, really just cheering, cheering my teammates on. Trying to be the best teammate I can be on the sideline, and get guys pumped up. Whatever I could do on the sideline.”