Rashad Ross redeems himself with two touchdowns against Jets
LANDOVER After Rashad Ross dropped a pass on a deep route in the preseason opener, the speedy second-year wide receiver, whose greatest strength is his ability to get downfield, was down on himself.
Ross, who entered training camp as the sixth wide receiver, had also struggled in training camp with dropped passes.
“I was just trying to bounce back, it stuck with me the whole week,” Ross said. “I’m known to be a deep threat, so to drop it last week, I was down.”
He redeemed himself in Friday’s 22-18 win against the New York Jets when he caught four passes for 58 yards and two touchdowns in the second preseason game.
After a strong preseason in 2015, Ross made the 53-man roster as a reserve wide receiver and kick return specialist. With 12 wide receivers on the Redskins’ 90-man roster this summer, Ross still has to earn his job to survive the final roster cut, presuming Washington keeps a sixth receiver in addition to DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon, Jamison Crowder, Ryan Grant and rookie Josh Doctson.
Doctson’s status for the start of the season remains uncertain as he recovers from Achilles tendon tendonitis and Ross took advantage of his opportunity to impress the coaching staff on Friday.
The Redskins want to see Ross diversify his skill set as a wide receiver, which is why he has been concentrating on short and intermediate routes in practice. His first touchdown against the Jets came on a fade route on the goal line. On his second, he got to flash his trademark speed and hauled in a 39-yard touchdown from Colt McCoy.
Here are some other takeaways from the Redskins’ win:
** The tightest position battle in training camp remains at the left guard position between Spencer Long and Shawn Lauvao. After easing into action since having five foot and leg surgeries in the offseason, Lauvao played more snaps on Friday and looked more sharp in his second game back.
** The Redskins have high hopes for Martrell Spaight after he missed his rookie season because of a concussion and the inside linebacker has come on strong in the preseason. With Will Compton a healthy scratch, Spaight got extended playing time. The hard-hitter has good instincts and is a sound tackler and it showed on a few plays. Spaight forced a fumble when he hit tight end Kellen Davis after a 14-yard gain. On another play, Geno Smith completed a pass to Jalin Marshall and Spaight closed in quickly to tackle him for no gain.
** Washington cut down its penalties from the preseason opener, but was still flagged 10 times for 65 yards. On the opening drive, Jamison Crowder’s touchdown reception was nullified by Maurice Harris’ offensive pass interference penalty. Later in the first quarter, center Spencer Long was called for illegal use of hands while in the Redskins’ end zone, which resulted in a safety. Overall, Gruden was not as hard on his team, but still emphasized the need to improve in that area.
“There’s quotation marks on a couple of those,” Gruden said. “It’s still preseason for the referees, too. We do have to address the penalties that were called and were supposed to be called on us, and we will.”