Last week's high is over. A brand new week of gloom is setting in. The Washington Redskins put forward a valiant effort Sunday, but it wasn't enough. Why not? Was it really one play were talking about, or does that just make a pretty target for us? It's hard to answer, but the blame has been considerably placed on the defense. And defensive woes have largely been in part to injuries–not overall talent. Think about the areas of concern; generating pressure and safety play.
The Redskins lost their leading pass rusher in Brian Orakpo and a pivotal linemen in Adam Carriker. The two combined for 15 sacks last year! That's a ton of production removed from a team whose scheme is based on getting to the quarterback. So far, you've seen the impact it's had on the secondary.
Before the season started, most analyst penciled in Brandon Meriweather and Tanard Jackson as the starting safeties. Obviously Jackson isn't with us for substance issues and Meriweather has been injured, but that means neither of the "planned" starters have played this season at all. That's detrimental to success. The Redskins did about all they could. Bandaging the situation was the best option due to cap penalties and money spent on the offense.
This week the Redskins lost one of those offensive pieces for the remainder of the season. Fred Davis was having a solid all-around year for the team and will be greatly missed. The Skins have announced Chris Cooley's return to fill the void, but even he can't quite provide what Davis has. They've also been without Pierre Garcon for more than half the season and don't expect him back for another few weeks.
When you look at the big picture of injuries and the impact they've had on the season already, it's tough to be optimistic about the rest of the year. They're down six preseason starters and Roy Helu. The good news is that they plan to get two of those starters back–Garcon and Meriweather.
Both should be back following the bye week. Some reports say Meriweather is aiming for a return before then but we'll see. It's always possible that one or the other could be shut down, however unlikely or unpopular.
So we naturally progress to question: Can the Redskins win with what's left?
And I think they can. But if they don't beat the Steelers, and drop to 3-5 on the season, it would be a remarkable for them to make the playoffs. The Skins would most likely need to finish the season 6-2 or better, and they haven't really given us enough reasons to believe it can happen. That said, they could also win this week and next week, and go into their bye 5-4. If that's the case, I like their chances a little more.
The Redskins are down…but not out.
Let us know what you think…
Adam Carriker, Brandon Meriweather, Brian Orakpo, Football, Fred Davis, NFL, Pierre Garcon, Washington, Washington Redskins
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