POINT/COUNTERPOINT: How to Deal With Orakpo/Carriker Injuries

NFL Washington Commanders

By Staff Writer John Manuel & Steve Shoup:


Last Sunday the Redskins suffered a tough loss to the St. Louis Rams.  The loss got worse on Monday when both Brian Orakpo and Adam Carriker were determined to need surgeries that would end their 2012 season.

The losses was tough but were the injuries tougher?  If you had to have two positions lose players, would defensive line and linebacker be the most favorable so early in the season for a team lacking depth?  Was the loss worse or the loss of the Carriker and Orakpo?


For me the loss of Orakpo and Carriker were far worse than losing the game on Sunday. Of course it would have been great to go to 2-0, especially since both of those games were on the road, but the impact from the injuries is far worse. Carriker will have a minor impact, mainly from a depth perspective, but Brian Orakpo is a big loss. Not having your best pass rusher (and a guy who is borderline elite), against some of the top quarterbacks we face could be the difference in 2-4 games throughout the rest of the season.


I agree that Orakpo is a huge loss and Carriker can be replaced easier.  Rob Jackson and Chris Wilson have been around for years, and now have a chance to prove they are legit NFL’ers.  Kerrigan could be the biggest loser in the Orakpo injury as teams will most likely focus their attention on him.  Maybe the Redskins kick the tires on ole Lights Out Shawne Merriman?  A local player who maybe with some recent rest could help in spot situations.


Bringing in Merriman would be an interesting idea, but I think Mike Shanahan will go with the guys he had in camp. If they don’t produce though, I’d expect Merriman to get a phone call. I think Kerrigan and Stephen Bowen are the players hardest hit by these injuries. Kerrigan will probably be double-teamed quite a bit, even when he does line-up over the left tackle. And Bowen will have to face better blocking as teams don’t have to worry about Orakpo coming off the edge.

Bowen is also affected by the Carriker injury as there won’t be as much depth to give him breathers throughout the game. Last year he had among the highest snap counts for 3-4 DE’s (or 4-3 DT’s) and it looked to wear on him late in games. Hopefully Jarvis Jenkins can prove himself at Carriker’s spot so back-ups Kedric Golston and Chris Baker can spell Bowen some.


Good point on Bowen.  I completely agree with you that it will be tougher for him based on both injuries.  Pressure is going to grow on Jim Haslett also to step up his game.  Having Raheem Morris on staff helps him on the field but can’t help him with his job status.  I feel Shanahan is very loyal to Haslett being that he was with him even before he took the Skins job.  When you lose talent on the field it’s the coach’s job to step up preparation.


I know the perception is there, but I’m not sure I really believe that Haslett’s job is on the line because of Morris. Morris has never run a 3-4 and I believe still has baggage from Tampa. I’m guessing the fact that he presumably signed off on Tanard Jackson doesn’t help his case much either.

I do agree with your point that Haslett will have to get more creative to hope to make up for the loss of a player of Brian Orakpo’s caliber. The downside is that more creative blitz packages to hopefully make up for the loss of Orakpo could leave the Redskins exposed elsewhere if the players can’t execute them.


Tanard Jackson really hurt this team, hopefully he hasn’t been hanging with Trent Williams and Fred Davis. Although Davis has been very quiet so far on the field.  I agree the secondary can’t afford any loses like we have had in front seven.  Josh Wilson has become a solid player but seems to get nicked up easy including Sunday.  So we could be looking weekly shootouts in the coming weeks which at least fantasy owners of Robert Griffin III will benefit.


Hopefully we can avoid the shootouts, as I don’t like the idea of that offensive line protecting Griffin for any more snaps than they have to. Honestly our best defensive strategy now that Orakpo is out is the one we used in the Saints game: keep their offense off the field. The Redskins fan the ball 63% of the time week one and it led to nearly 40 minutes time of possession, I think we need to keep it on the ground going forward to keep some of these high octane offenses we face off the field.


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