The Redskins were dealt a huge blow in Sunday’s loss to the Rams, as DE Adam Carriker and OLB Brian Orakpo both suffered season-ending injuries.
Head coach Mike Shanahan confirmed Monday that Carriker tore his quad tendon and will need five months to recover. Orakpo tore a different part of his left pectoral muscle and needs four months of recovery time.
Carriker started the first two games of this season and had one tackle. In 2011, he played in every game and had 34 tackles and 5½ sacks.
Orakpo had five tackles, one sack, three passes defensed and a forced fumble in two games this season. Last season, he had nine sacks, five passes defensed and three forced fumbles. He had missed only one game in his first three NFL seasons and has 29½ career sacks.
Shanahan said players like Chris Baker and Doug Worthington will get opportunities to help on the D-line and Rob Jackson and Chris Wilson will get the first chance to take over for Orakpo.
The Way We See It
These are two massive blows to a defense that has allowed 63 points (although special teams had something to do with it, too) in two games. Carriker will be replaced in the starting lineup by Jarvis Jenkins, who has come back from ACL surgery, although it is telling perhaps that Kedric Golston first replaced Carriker during Sunday's game and earned more snaps.
Jenkins is not all the way back, and he still needs to get lower on his rush and gain better leverage. But Carriker did a lot of subtle things like tie up blockers, work well on stunts and twists and open up rush lanes for OLB Ryan Kerrigan.
The pass rush suffers with the loss of Orakpo, as he is a versatile piece who can rush from a number of techniques, even if he doesn't finish off the quarterback a lot. These are two big blows. Both are expected to make full recoveries inside the next six months, but the depth on this side of the ball already was being stretched thin.