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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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A Redskin fan's guide to the NFL Draft Combine

A Redskin fan's guide to the NFL Draft Combine

This week in Indianapolis the NFL world will converge at the Scouting Combine to watch college football players work out, sprint and lift weights in anticipation of the upcoming draft. For the Redskins front office, this draft needs to be a win.

The 2016 Draft could still yield strong results for Washington, but overall the class did not play particularly well as rookies. This year, Scot McCloughan has nine picks at his disposal, with the extra picks late in the draft in the fourth, fifth and sixth rounds.

It's no secret that the 'Skins need help along the defensive line, a lot of help. That should be a major area of focus for the Redskins scouts and coaches, and that will make next Sunday arguably the most important of the week in Indianapolis. 

The combine divides players into 11 position groups, but Groups 7, 8 and 9 will matter most. Groups 7 and 8 represent defensive linemen and 9 are the linebackers. That group officially arrives on Thursday but won't work out on the field until Sunday. The days in between include interviews, psychological testing and the bench press.

Obviously the Redskins won't spend all nine picks on only defensive linemen. The team will likely invest in the offensive line as well, and that group will arrive earlier in the week and work out on Friday. Cornerbacks and safeties are the last to work out on Monday, March 6. 

With the likely departure of at least one of DeSean Jackson or Pierre Garçon, and the possible departure of both, it would make sense for the 'Skins to bring in another receiver via the draft. They work out on Saturday, and should the Redskins decide to take a quarterback in the draft, the passers will work out that day too. 

Running back could be another spot the 'Skins invest. Jay Gruden said that Robert Kelley is locked into the RB1 role, but still the team might want increased competition at the position. The backs will work out Friday.

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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Why won’t Redskins brass talk to the media at the NFL Combine?

Why won’t Redskins brass talk to the media at the NFL Combine?

The NFL has released the official schedule of when NFL coaches and executives will take the podium and address the media at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. You can find it right here but I’ll save you a click—nobody from the Redskins is scheduled to talk.

NFL teams are not required to have a representative speak at the combine but most do. This year only the Saints and Patriots are joining the Redskins in avoiding the media.

Bill Belichick never talks at the combine and I believe that the Saints have bypassed the opportunity to do so in the past. However, the Redskins head coach traditionally has gone to the podium in the past. Joe Gibbs spoke when he was in his second stint as the head coach. Mike Shanahan, as tight lipped as anyone, met with the press in Indy each of his four years as head coach. Jay Gruden has spoken during each of the three years that he has been head coach.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 3.0

And last year Scot McCloughan held a small media gaggle with local reporters in his hotel in Indianapolis.

This year the Redskins are going somewhat dark. McCloughan did not speak to reporters at the Senior Bowl (Gruden held a brief availability in Mobile), a departure from his first two years with the team. And now no Redskins representatives at the combine.

One of the problems with changing what has been a longstanding practice and going into radio silence is that it leaves people speculating. If the team doesn’t want to put any information out there that is the organization’s option. But if you choose not to fill in the blanks, the fans and media will.

So why aren’t they talking? The best bet is that they are in a delicate stage when it comes to dealing with the future of quarterback Kirk Cousins. He is a pending free agent who is likely to be hit with the franchise tag on Wednesday, the day before the combine starts. At that point, the clock will be ticking on Cousins either signing a long-term contract or getting traded to a team that is willing to meet his asking price. It’s my guess that Jay Gruden does not want to face questions about Cousins’ future.

More Redskins: #RedskinsTalk podcast: Is Kirk too nice for his own good?

Gruden is not a very good liar; his poker face needs a lot of work. Perhaps that is a good quality for a human being but not a very good attribute for someone who would need to go out and talk about Cousins as the long-term quarterback for the team, or at least the QB for the coming season, when his status may be very much in doubt.

This is not to say that there is definitely going to be a trade of Cousins worked out at the combine. But it is very possible that a deal will be discussed with Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers and any number of other quarterback-needy teams. And perhaps there is concern that Gruden will let something slip or, more likely, say a lot on the subject of Cousins by not saying anything.

Again, this is just reading the tea leaves on my part. But by going silent the Redskins are sending an invitation for people to fill in the blanks. I am just taking them up on it.

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.