Lost in the Washington Redskins’ 31-28 Week Two loss to the St. Louis Rams were the following: the team surrendered 452 total yards, surrendered a 21-6 second quarter lead, and made Rams’ wide receiver Danny Amendola look like Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice. The unheralded Amendola recorded fifteen receptions for 160 yards and a touchdown against Washington.
In Week Three, Washington will not get a reprieve against the Cincinnati Bengals. It would be difficult to contain second year quarterback Andy Dalton and second year wide receiver A.J. Green with the entire starting defensive unit intact. With the Redskins having to endure season ending injuries to linebacker Brian Orakpo and defensive end Adam Carriker, that task became even more difficult.
Starting inside linebacker and defensive team captain London Fletcher (pictured, above middle, with football) calls the Redskins a “no excuse team”. This means other players need to step up when the opportunity arises. Washington head coach Mike Shanahan will go with second year defensive end Jarvis Jenkins to replace Carriker in the starting lineup.
Replacing Orakpo will prove to be more difficult. Shanahan could go with either Rob Jackson or Chris Wilson to fill Orakpo’s outside linebacker spot. Linebacker Markus White should also see significant playing time. This tells me that if you need three men to fill one spot, then you really don’t have anyone to fill that spot.
Washington’s secondary is banged up as well. Safety Brandon Merriweather might not play due to an ailing left knee. Starting cornerback Josh Wilson has been cleared to play after suffering a concussion against St. Louis. This particular unit will need to play well against a Bengals team that is capable of throwing the football effectively.
However, all is not gloom and doom on the Redskins’ defense. This unit has a plus five turnover differential (six takeaways against one giveaway). The unit even scored a touchdown in the opening moments of the Rams’ game. If the defense can capitalize on that momentum, they will be that much closer to achieving their goal of victory against the Bengals.