Redskins want more than speed from receiver Rashad Ross

ASHBURN, Va. -- The Washington Redskins have an ailing receiver with speed; they also have one on the bench with speed. Yet with one fast receiver, DeSean Jackson, sidelined, the Redskins haven’t turned much to the other, Rashad Ross.

There’s a reason and it starts with the position he plays. Ross has run routes only from the X, or outside, receiver position. That’s where Pierre Garcon plays and to play Ross more would mean to sit Garcon. Of course, they could always move Garcon to the other receiver spot where he knows the routes.

But the Redskins like their other targets more than Ross. So Ross only plays on a limited basis. With Jackson possibly back Sunday vs. the New York Jets, there won’t be more snaps available for Ross.

"Yeah, there is a thought. It's just who do you take out? Pierre or you take out [Jamison] Crowder or do you take out Ryan [Grant],” Redskins coach Jay Gruden said. “But yeah, he's slowly starting to emerge as a deep threat and a good, solid receiver.”

However, both Gruden and Ross admitted that he has more to learn about playing receiver. Ross has played in just six NFL games, but all 40 of his career snaps have come this season (21 occurred vs. Philadelphia). Ross has caught three passes for 70 yards and also drew a 42-yard pass interference penalty last week.

“There's more to being a receiver than just running a deep ball,” Gruden said. “He's got to get better at the little things -- the blocking, where to line up and all those things -- and he is. It's a good luxury to have, another receiver that can really run and go get it. He's got that extra gear that probably nobody else has other than DeSean. So, we probably should use him a little bit more in the deep stuff."

But Ross understands his situation. He changed his approach to make the roster, working out with Jackson this summer and focusing on improving the number of routes he can run. Given his status, Ross knows he won’t earn playing time until he’s better in practice.

“Make more plays in practice, make sure they trust me,” he said. “I’ll just say it’s the trust right now. In practice sometimes I mess up. Most of the time I do good, but I have to be 100 percent. Most of [the mistakes] are mental; physically I’ve got it.

“It’s just being consistent. I can go out there and make five good plays and mess up on one and I’m not in a position to mess up at all.”

Ross also will help himself the more he improves at running routes from various positions. He said that stems more from knowing the concepts of the offense; once you do, learning routes from each of the receiver positions isn’t that hard.

“It takes time to learn, especially when you’re just learning one [spot] and you just going in as one,” he said. “I feel I can do anything, but I’m more comfortable at the X position.”