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Need to Know: The pros and cons of the Redskins putting Doctson on PUP

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Need to Know: The pros and cons of the Redskins putting Doctson on PUP

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, August 18, one day before the Washington Redskins play the New York Jets at FedEx Field.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Walkthrough at Redskins Park, no media availability.

—The Redskins last played a game that counted 221 days ago. It will be 25 days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.

Days until: Final roster cut 16; Cowboys @ Redskins 31; Browns @ Redskins 45

—Former Redskins returner (and my current CSN colleague) Brian Mitchell was born on this date in 1968.

The Redskins by the numbers

The Josh Doctson Achilles injury situation drags on. Jay Gruden said yesterday that there is no timetable for him taking the practice field. With about three and a half weeks to go until the Redskins take on the Steelers in their season opener, there can’t be too many more delays until they push into the regular season.

There is beginning to be talk of the possibility of having Doctson start the season on the physically unable to perform list. That is a move that has some advantages but carries some significant downside as well.

Doctson is eligible to go on in-season PUP because he was put on the PUP list at the start of training camp. If he comes off of the list for one day, he can’t go back on it.

If he stays on the PUP list until September 3, the day the roster has to be cut to 53 players, the team will have the option to put him on in-season PUP. If that happens, Doctson will not count against the roster limit. Assuming he still can’t play by the, that might be the right move to make. Instead of tying up a roster spot on a player who will have to be inactive for each game the Redskins could get help in another area.

But a player on PUP is not only prohibited from playing for six weeks, he can’t even practice for six weeks. That means that if Doctson is ready to go physically after, say, two weeks he can’t even step out on the practice field with his teammates for another four weeks. That would seriously hamper his development for both the short and long term.

Should he remain close to ready to practice when cutdown date rolls around the best move might be to keep him on the 53-man roster. Every week one receiver usually is inactive so why not let Doctson get back to practice when he is ready not when league PUP list rules say he can.

The problem with leaving him on the 53 is that there would be a major issue if he either doesn’t get better at a fast enough pace or if he suffers from a setback. Then the alternatives would be to continue to carry an injured player on the 53, even as injuries at other positions may be mounting, or put Doctson on injured reserve. The team can bring one player back from IR during the course of the year but there may be a more important player on whom the team will have to use that one precious transaction.

(Note: In a change from the previous IR-return program the player who returns does not have to be designated before he goes on the list. Any one player who went on IR after the cut to 53 can be reactivated.)

We have some time for this to play out. Doctson was seen without the walking boot around training camp and Redskins Park for the last several days so perhaps that is a positive sign. But if he’s still injured when it comes time to cut the roster there will be a decision of make and no matter which way they go there will be plenty of risk involved.

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Over/under: Redskins running backs in 2017

Over/under: Redskins running backs in 2017

Redskins running backs over-under

The Redskins’ running backs depth chart looks quite different from how it did a year ago. Rob Kelley, who was “ninth-string” back last year per Jay Gruden, is the starter. Samaje Perine enters the mix with expectations that exceed those normally assigned to a fourth-round pick. Chris Thompson is the constant as the third-down back. What kind of numbers will they put up this year? Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and JP Finlay go over-under on some Redskins running back stats. 

Rob Kelley, 1,000 rushing yards

Tandler: If you project Kelley’s production in the nine games he started over 16 games it comes to about 1,050 yards. He had his ups and downs in those nine starts and he will have them this year. But he should have enough ups to be able to average the 62.5 yards per game needed to hit the thousand-yard mark. Over

Finlay: Unlike wide receivers, where 25 guys broke the 1,000 yard mark in 2016, it's getting harder and harder for a running back to hit four-figures. In 2016, only 12 RBs ran for more than 1,000 yards, and only eight got over 1,100 yards. As the NFL becomes more and more of a passing league, less backs are getting the carries sufficient for a 1,000 yard season. The Redskins haven't had a 1,000 yard rusher since Alfred Morris in 2014. While I think Kelley gets the bulk of the yardage, I think it caps out about 900 yards and Chris Thompson and Samaje Perine creep into the total. Under

RELATED: Who's next at QB for the Redskins?

Kelley, 10 rushing touchdowns

Tandler: He scored six as the starter last year and doing the math that comes to 11 over 16 games. But last year there wasn’t a player like Perine, who could come into the game and vulture some touchdowns after Kelley did the work to get the ball in goal to go position. Under

Finlay: Sorry to keep going back to stats, but last year only seven running backs got to 10 TDs or more. Only seven! Hard to see Kelley getting there on a team that didn't run all that much, or all that well either, in 2016. Under

Samaje Perine, 500 rushing yards

Tandler: It tough to set a line for a guy who hasn’t played. I’ll go off Matt Jones’ 2015 rookie season when he gained 490 yards while sharing time with Alfred Morris. If Perine averages four yards per carry, which is not hard to do, he’ll need about eight carries per game to get to 500. It’s close but if Kelley is effective, as I believe he will be, Perine might not get enough carries to have a chance. Under

Finlay: Tandler's Matt Jones comp pretty much works for Perine, but Jones had explosive speed that Perine doesn't have. A better comp for me was Derrick Henry last year as a rookie with the Titans. DeMarco Murray was established as the top dog, and Henry worked for a productive 490 yards. Under

MORE REDSKINS: Offer to Cousins not nearly enough

Chris Thompson, 60 pass receptions

Tandler: His role is beyond just third down. If the Redskins are behind in the fourth quarter, Thompson is usually in there to try to help spark a rally. Along with TE Jordan Reed and WR Jamison Crowder, Thompson will benefit from Kirk Cousins’ familiarity with him. Over

Finlay: Thompson should be a strong contributor in 2017, but 60 catches is a lot for a running back. Only David Johnson (80) and Le'Veon Bell (75) went over that number in 2016, while James White had exactly 60 catches. Thompson grabbed 49 balls in 2016, an impressive total. I could actually see Thompson getting a bigger percentage increase in carries, he had 68 rushes last season with a very solid 5.2 YPC, than catches. Under

<<<NFL POWER RANKINGS: WHO GOT BETTER AFTER THE DRAFT>>>

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back

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#RedskinsTalk Podcast: Final refresh before 2017 season truly begins

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#RedskinsTalk Podcast: Final refresh before 2017 season truly begins

Rich Tandler and JP Finlay wrap up the Redskins offseason and prepare for what will be the most intriguing and the most overplayed storylines at training camp in Richmond.

<<<NFL POWER RANKINGS: WHO GOT BETTER AFTER THE DRAFT>>>

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcasts, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back