The injury reports from Thursday’s practice came out and there are a number of interesting names for both the Washington Redskins and Cincinnati Bengals who either didn’t participate or were limited in their ability to practice.
Pierre Garcon: Garcon missed last week’s game after leaving the Saints game early in the first quarter with a foot injury. Though he’s been limited in practice all this week, it sounds like Garcon is at least 50/50 to return this week. His addition (even at less than 100%) would be a major boon for the Redskins offense. Garcon has already established himself as the favorite target of Robert Griffin III. Garcon’s impact goes even deeper as he’s a strong blocker for a receiver, which is key given the number of wide receiver screens the Redskins have been running. If he can’t go it would be a pretty big benefit for the Bengals as they wouldn’t have to cover the Redskins best receiver, and their offense wouldn’t be at 100%. With some of the Bengals top corners banged up (more on that below), the loss of Garcon would definitely help even things up for Cincinnati if they are out.
Brandon Meriweather: Meriweather has missed the first two weeks after spraining some ligaments in his knee before the season. He was expected to miss up to a month, so it is a bit surprising if he’s healthy enough to play. Which means it is probably below 50% that he’s ready to go this week. If he’s back he will likely assume the starting strong safety job from Dejon Gomes. Gomes had an interception versus the Saints, but struggled in coverage against the Rams. Meriweather though may not be the upgrade people are hoping for given his poor play in Chicago last year (and up-and-down play in New England). He has a lot of potential and talent, but he tries to free lance too much which leads to big plays for the other team. One area where Meriweather can help is in coming up to stop the run. The Redskins got run over by the Rams last week, and part of that is due to poor tackling by the secondary. If he can’t play the Bengals should have an easier time, both against the run and the pass. Despite the uncertainty of Meriweather’s performance, he does at least pose a bigger threat to stop the Bengals passing attack than Dejon Gomes. Expect more running room as well if Meriweather can’t go.
Josh Wilson: Wilson suffered a concussion versus the Rams, and while he’s been able to practice on a limited basis, it is still unclear if he’ll be okay to go this week. The Redskins need Wilson given that A.J. Green is coming into town. Green is one of the emerging young star receivers in the is league and needs to draw the attention of a team’s top cornerback. Wilson is that guy, and has the best hope of slowing down Green. If Josh Wilson can’t go, then stopping A.J. Green will be pretty impossible. Wilson is the only defensive back who has shown any consistency this season, so losing him would be devastating, especially given the decrease in pressure expected due to the absence of Brian Orakpo.
Leon Hall: Hall is the Bengals best cornerback and one of the better young corners in the league. He’s capable of shadowing and slowing down the league’s best receivers He showed up on the Bengals injury report after practicing all week, but not practicing on Thursday.His loss would be huge for the Bengals to try to overcome. It’s unclear what his status is for Sunday, but it obviously doesn’t bode well that he couldn’t even practice on a limited basis. If Leon Hall is out the Redskins receivers would gain a major advantage as Hall is capable enough to shut down the Washington Redskins receivers (even if Pierre Garcon plays). The Bengals have enough to worry about with stopping Robert Griffin III on the ground, adding holes to the secondary is going to be nearly impossible for the Bengals to stop this Redskins offense.
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Dre Kirkpatrick: Kirkpatrick was the Bengals top pick in this Aprils draft, but has yet to see the field after a preseason injury. While originally there was some hope he’d return for this game, he’s been ruled out by coach Marvin Lewisafter not practicing again this week. Even if he was healthy his impact may have been minimal, though he definitely had the potential for big things. Still the Bengals secondary is missing one of their projected starters, and with their top corner also in a position to miss the game the Redskins could have a big advantage.