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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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Redskins defensive coordinator resume: Jason Tarver

Redskins defensive coordinator resume: Jason Tarver

The Redskins have interviewed some high-profile candidates for their open defensive coordinator position. When it was reported that they will meet with former Raiders defensive coordinator Jason Tarver, the reaction among the fans was, “Who?”

Let’s take a look at what Tarver’s qualifications are to get the job of running the Redskins’ defense.

Before becoming a coordinator: At the age of 22, Tarver took a coaching job at West Valley College in California, and did that while earning his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Santa Clara. After that he was a graduate assistant at UCLA for three years before getting into the NFL in 2001, when the 49ers hired him as a quality control coach. Tarver worked his way up to outside linebackers coach in 2005 and did that job until 2010, when he was let go went Mike Singletary was fired as the head coach. After a year as the defensive coordinator at Stanford, Dennis Allen hired Tarver to run the Raiders defense in 2012.

More Redskins: Early first-round draft possibilities

Note: If you want more complete stats on Tarver’s defenses check out his page on Pro Football Reference. DVOA stats via Football Outsiders. A negative DVOA percentage is better than a positive number. Zero is average.

For players, * designates Pro Bowl selection, + designates first-team All-Pro

2012 Raiders (4-12)

Rankings: Yards 5,672 (18th), points 443 (28th), takeaways 19 (26th), 3rd down 39.1% (20th), DVOA 12.5% 29th
Notable players: DT Richard Seymour, DE Lamarr Houston

It should be noted that Allen had a defensive background so he had a hand in these numbers. This team just wasn’t very good as indicated by the fact that Seymour, at age 33, was one of their best defensive players.

2013 Raiders (4-12)

Rankings: Yards 5,918 (22nd), points 453 (29th), takeaways 22 (21st), 3rd down 43.1% (28th), DVOA 10.3% (26th)
Notable players: S Charles Woodson

They did make an effort to shore up the defense by bringing back Woodson and drafting cornerback D.J. Hayden in the first round. But Hayden only played in eight games and Woodson could only contribute so much at age 37. The pass defense struggled, ranking 29th in DVOA.

Related: Redskins offensive coordinator resume: Matt Cavanaugh

2014 Raiders (3-13)

Rankings: 5,721 (21st), points 452 (32nd), takeaways 14 (30th), 3rd down 38.5% (14th), DVOA 6.3% (26th)
Notable players: LB Khalil Mack, S Woodson

Allen was fired after an 0-4 start and Tony Sparano took over as interim head coach the rest of the way. Sparano has an offensive background so perhaps Tarver is more fully accountable for these results than those in other seasons. They did draft Mack with the fifth overall pick but his impact as a rookie was limited as recorded four sacks. Hayden again missed half of the season and, again, the defense was near the bottom of the NFL.

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