According to the Washington Post, Washington Redskins’ right outside linebacker Brian Orakpo will miss the rest of the 2012 NFL season. Orakpo aggravated a tear in his left pectoral muscle during Washington’s 31-28 Week 2 loss to the St. Louis Rams. Orakpo initially suffered the injury in 2011.
This is a critical loss for the Redskins’ defense, considering that Orakpo is the team’s best pass rusher. He led Washington in sacks in 2011 with nine. With the addition of 2011 first round pick Ryan Kerrigan at left outside linebacker, the Redskins have two young outside linebackers that had the potential to become the best outside linebacker tandem in the NFL.
Now, that potential may never be realized.
Stellar defensive play was already difficult for the Redskins to come by with a healthy Orakpo, evidenced by the 63 points Washington has given up in their first two games. Redskins’ head coach Mike Shanahan named Rob Jackson as Orakpo’s replacement. Jackson, a fifth year linebacker who attended college at Kansas State, has played sparingly for the Redskins during his career.
Orakpo’s injury puts added pressure on not only Washington’s defense, but also Washington’s offense. It would be hard to imagine that Jackson would be able to replace Orakpo’s pass rushing talent and productivity, considering his inexperience. That means the defense may be susceptible to giving up even more points than they’ve already given up.
That means rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III may be forced to do more for Washington in an effort to increase scoring productivity. The Redskins hope wide receiver Pierre Garcon will be available for the Week 3 home opener against the Cincinnati Bengals. Defensively, Washington hopes to somehow continue to create turnovers, evidenced by the three turnovers forced in the Rams’ game.
While Orakpo’s loss is a devastating blow to a defense trying to find itself, Washington hopes that Jackson will be able to fill in admirably in Orakpo’s absence. It could either be a great opportunity for the unheralded Jackson, or another setback in Washington’s most promising season in years. Now we will see what the Redskins are made of.