JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Jacksonville Jaguars receiver Tandon Doss didn’t have a lot to do while he was on IR for the entire 2014 season with an ankle injury, so he’d set aside time every day to watch film and study the offense.
He’d make sure to go over every pass route, and not just in his head, either. He’d walk through each route inside his condo between his kitchen and living room.
That was one of the things that got him through his first fall without football since before high school.
"It was just tough," Doss said. "I didn’t know what to do. I came in here [the facility] in the morning and they wanted me out of the building before they went out to practice, so I had all day. I didn’t know what to do so I tried to watch as much of them as possible, keeping my head on the game.
"I wasn’t allowed to run so I walked the routes at home, tried to practice."
It got better in December when his first child was born but until then Doss had a hard time.
"You get bored quick," he said. "I’ve been playing football my whole life and you have that time off, it’s like 'What do you do?'"
Doss isn’t worrying about that now because he’s finally back on the field. He’s the favorite to win the competition at punt returner in the wake of the Jaguars’ decision to cut Ace Sanders. He led the NFL in punt return average in 2013 with Baltimore and had a good start to training camp with the Jaguars last year before suffering the ankle injury that eventually landed him on IR.
Doss will have to hold off rookies Rashad Greene, Nick Marshall and Corey Grant but his experience gives him the edge. He returned 27 punts in three seasons in Baltimore and has a 15.3 yards-per-return average. He averaged 15.6 yards on 23 returns, including one for a touchdown, in 2013.
Sanders averaged 6.4 yards on 57 punt returns in 2013-14 and the Jaguars need more production there.
"I kind of just try to go through my motions and do all my steps, spotting the ball, finding the point, and working on my feet," Doss said. "I don’t really focus on where I’m at on the depth chart. I’m just trying to get better."