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Redskins Brian Orakpo and Adam Carriker OUT for the season

Brian Orakpo, Washington Redskins

The Twitterverse is alive with news that Washington Redskins defensive end Adam Carriker and outside linebacker Brian Orakpo are done for the year. Both were injured in yesterday’s loss to the St. Louis Rams.

Carriker sustained an injury to his right leg, although an unnamed player said the injury was to his quadriceps muscle according to a WaPOST story today. The Redskins are yet to make an official announcement, but Coach Mike Shanahan said in post-game comments that the outlook for Carriker was not a good one.

Brian Orakpo left the game with what was thought to be a torn pectoral muscle. The Redskins tweeted at mid-afternoon that the news was far worse.

The Redskins lost both OT Trent Williams and G Kory Lichtensteiger in the Eagles game last year and then lost 10 of the remaining 12 games. The past doesn’t have to be prologue to the future, but losing two starters from the same unit in the same game is a blow. The fact that both were starters in the strongest part of the team, the defensive front seven, is a double blow. Whether it’s a disaster depends on how well the front office stocked defensive depth.

That’s the good news, if any can come from this. The coaches raved about Jarvis Jenkins before he was lost for the season last year. He is working his way back into game shape by rotating with Carriker. Now the young man has to grow up fast and step into Carriker’s shoes.

Four-year man Rob Jackson steps in for Orakpo. In this defense, one follows Rak; they do not replace him. London Fletcher is the only other irreplaceable player on Washington’s defense.

If you make the team, you are expected to get the job done. Jackson (6-4, 266) survived the Redskins conversion from the 4-3 to the 3-4 defensive front. Thus, he knows the system and the coaches rely on him. But no one expects him to be another Orakpo, so I look for Jim Haslett to adjust his use of personnel, perhaps by moving DE Stephen Bowen around along the line, or by using Jenkins to penetrate the pocket more as Orakpo might have done.

The Snyder-era Redskins have been plagued with top-end talent that left little budget for solid depth. These injuries are a test of how well Shanahan and Bruce Allen fixed the issue in their run here.  

Image Source: September 16, 2010, Redskins.com from here