This was one of dozens the 31-year-old participated in during his first season with his hometown team. However, Monday's session was the first official version in pads with first round pick Josh Doctson. "Big bro" wanted "Little bro"
"I was telling the guys I wanted to go with Josh," Toler told Breaking Burgundy. "Just me being an older guy -- I (hadn't) gotten a rep with him. I wanted to see."
In that sense, Toler spoke for the entire team and organization and every Burgundy and Gold fan. Doctson missed over three months worth of training camp, practices and preseason game with a lingering Achilles injury. Monday marked the return. Wednesday gave pause as the rookie primarily watched with the organization taking a cautious approach with the first round pick.
Doctson and his lengthy frame returned Thursday. So did the matchup with Toler.
"I'm going to go against him every day, every day," Toler confirmed.
The why is two-fold. This is how the been there, done that veteran thinks he can help the rookie ramp us his NFL education. Also, the D.C. native is simply fond of the kid from the deep suburbs of Fort Worth, Texas.
I love him to death," Toler said. "I call him, 'Little Bro. He's one of the younger guys I talk to all the time. ...He asked me when we came back in, 'Big Bro, how did I do? I'm like 'Little bro, you're looking good!'"
It's not looking good for the 22nd overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft to make his debut in Monday's opener against Pittsburgh. On top of all the missed time, Doctson has been "limited" in practice this week. Yet the 6-foot-2 target with the 4.5 40-yard time and 41-inch vertical is starting to show all why he was worthy of his draft status.
"He's long. He's fast," Toler said of Doctson, who set a TCU record with 79 receptions and had 14 touchdowns during his junior season.
"Normally I can get a read on receivers pretty quickly," Toler continued. "He definitely doesn't play like a rookie."
Beyond the physical gifts, Doctson's instincts and route-running impress his unofficial defensive back mentor
"He doesn't show a lot of gauges in his routes. He stems well," Toler said, referring to a term about how a receiver can affect a defensive back's initial alignment.
"He attacks your leverage. If I have inside leverage, stemming means you attack inside to make you go deeper inside to the go with an out-breaking route," Toler explained. "He's good at that."
Then there's that size and combo quarterback Kirk Cousins will eventually have on gameday's.
"I mean, it should help, right? If you can throw to a guy who is able to make a catch even when he's covered, it should make a difference," Cousins told Breaking Burgundy.
At 6-foot-0, Toler gives up a couple of inches in the matchup. In the corner's opinion, size isn't Doctson's biggest weapon.
"Bigger guys tend to move out of their breaks slower. When he's running those routes, he's still moving at the same velocity he started with," Toler said. "He doesn't lose speed. While you're worrying about his height, he's still moving down field. You have to cover ground as well."
On Monday, Doctson got the best of Toler deep even though rust showed when the rookie dropped the pass.
"He did a good job getting off the ball," Toler said of the play with both looking back into the sun. "I told him the good thing is he didn't give me his hands early to show me the ball was coming. "I couldn't get a read on if the ball was coming or not. He was just still running and at the last minute the ball dropped on both of us."
Three days later, the rookie with the size, speed and route-running combo that will torment defensive backs got Toler twice in the red zone.
"(Redskins receivers coach Ike Hillard) yelled, 'GT, the young boy. He beat you,'" Toler noted, smiling as he told the story.
He's cool with losing a battle or two in practice. The goal is getting the kid ready for his new job, to help the team. That's what Big Bro's do.
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