The Question With Josh Doctson's Situation Isn't About The Present

The Redskins may be close to pulling the plug on the rookie's season. It's the handling of the Redskins' first round pick's injury that needs re-examining.

Washington Redskins coach Jay Gruden confirmed the obvious Friday by declaring wide receiver Josh Doctson out for Sunday's NFC East matchup against Philadelphia. Doctson's lingering Achilles injury has kept the rookie off the active gameday roster since the Week 2 meeting with Dallas. 

Rather than focus on the future, let's discuss this increasingly frustrating situation and how the hell we got here.

The 2016 first round pick tried to go against the New York Giants game on Sept. 25, but was a last second scratch. By my math, Doctson hasn't practiced since.

"Doctson went out to pregame warmup and could not push off the way he wanted to," Gruden said the following Monday after Washington's first win. "His Achilles was too sore, so we’ve just got to continue to treat him and figure out the roots of the problem and try to get it fixed."

Sunday will mark Doctson's fourth straight missed game. It will also mark the final game he would have been required to miss if Washington placed the TCU product on the Physically Unable to Perform list before Week 1. 

Now, the PUP list didn't really work in my estimation because that designation also means no practicing. For a rookie, that's a steep hill. That goes quintuple for Doctson. As a reminder:

* He didn't practice during training camp in Richmond

* Didn't play during four preseason games

* Only returned to practice the week of the season opener. "Today is the first day we saw him with pads, shoulder pads -- ever," Gruden said Sept. 5.

http://www.scout.com/nfl/redskins/story/1716873-fuller-could-have-breela...

That's why, assuming the medical staff felt he could return at some point during the opening six weeks, it made sense to keep Doctson on the 53-man roster. There's the physical, but also the mental reps, the osmosis that comes from being around the practices. 

The issue, in my opinion, is why the Redskins felt compelled to rush Doctson on the field. Yes, we know his red-zone size provides an element otherwise not available. That size combined with impressive speed and vertical makes him an impressive threat. However...

* He was at best limited in the subsequent practices before Week 1. "It was my decision in terms of if I was going to fight through my Achilles injury," Doctson told Breaking Burgundy after receiving 12 snaps in the Week 1 loss to Pittsburgh. He added, "It was probably crazy on my end, but I came out healthy."

* More limited work in practice came the following week before the Cowboys game.

* He talked of "pushing through" the pain before the Giants game along with the fear of creating other injuries while perhaps overcompensating for the Achilles.

* The Redskins deepest position before Week 1 was arguably wide receiver. Other than Doctson, there were no injury issues. 

Now there may be a roster issue.

“Yeah, that’s going to be the No. 1 question here pretty soon," Gruden said Friday. "You know, fortunately we don’t have to worry about it right now. I want to try and keep it as long as we can because if he feels good tomorrow or next week he’ll play. You know, he’s a huge asset to this football team so we want to give him every chance to get well.”

This sounds like a reasonable plan. Give the first round pick time to heal. Doctson is a valuable asset now, but also a key figure going forward because starting receivers DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon are free agents. 

Why wasn't this the plan from the start is the question and one that needs to be asked especially if the idea of a lost season becomes much closer to reality. 

Ben Standig is the Publisher of Breaking Burgundy and the Huddle Report's 2012 NFL Mock Draft champion. You can find him on Twitter @benstandig and on Google+.

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