Almost from the beginning of his tenure as a Redskin, things just haven't gone right for rookie Josh Doctson. Washington drafted the TCU receiver in the first round, hoping the 6-foot-2, 202 lbs. athlete could immediately help the team in red zone, but almost right away Doctson was on the shelf with an injured Achilles.
Doctson sat out all of training camp and did not play a single snap in the preseason. Then, perhaps feeling pressure, Doctson played the first two weeks of the season. In two games - losses to the Steelers and the Cowboys - Doctson grabbed two passes for 66 yards. His impact was slight, though Doctson showed his big play potential against Dallas with a 57-yard grab.
Week 3 in New York, the Achilles again flared up and Doctson was a late scratch. After that, Doctson sat out practices, then hit the inactive roster for games. He last played on September 18, but it took the team until October 21 to place the rookie on the injured reserve. Jay Gruden called the decision to place Doctson on IR "disappointing" as the team continually tried to treat the injury.
For weeks, and probably months, the Redskins tried to figure out the source of Doctson's lingering Achilles pain. No doctor, test or specialist could crack the case, and eventually, the team determined rest was the best course of action.
With the calendar now turned to December, Doctson is eligible to return to the team in a few weeks, as early as Week 16. When he was placed on the injured reserve there was some thought the rookie could come back late in the year and potentially be a factor in a playoff run.
Jay Gruden talked about Doctson's progress on Thursday, and based on his comments, it's hard to envision Doctson playing this season.
"Josh is coming along. He's not really running yet," Gruden said. "They're doing more and more with him in the rehab room there. We'll just have to wait and see."
Wait and see? Doctson hasn't played since the national mindset still assumed Hillary Clinton would win the presidential election.
A myriad of doctors and experts determined the best course of action for Doctson was to rest. Now, the rookie has had 10 weeks off - a block of time that qualifies as maternity leave in some states - and the receiver that once ran a 4.50 40-yard-dash is still unable to run. It would be irresponsible for Gruden to say at this point Doctson will not play again in 2016, but the writing is on the wall.
Despite the lost rookie year, it's still far too early to call Doctson a bust. Far too early.
On the latest installment of #RedskinsTalk Podcast, Santana Moss talked about his rookie year, where he only played five games and struggled to gain a foothold with his teammates (listen below). Moss went on to a 14-year career where he amassed more than 10,000 yards receiving. The injury-plagued rookie season was nothing but a blip on Moss' career.
At this point, Doctson's rookie year is likely shot. It's hard to imagine a scenario where he can go from not even running in early December to playing meaningful snaps in late December.
While 2016 will be labeled a disappointment for the first-round rookie, for the Redskins, it's smart to be patient with Doctson. This team might need a new star receiver - next season.
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