Every team deals with adversity throughout the 17 week NFL season. Whether it’s injuries to key players, coaching changes, life tragedies, or flat out slumps that seem impossible to get out of. How they respond to those challenges throughout the year helps decipher which teams will be relevant come season’s end.
This season the Washington Redskins have learned how to adapt to their unfortunate mishaps and make the best of their situation. They have dealt with an abundance of injuries and it hasn’t prevented them from maintaining weekly confidence. When one player goes down, someone else steps up.
The injuries all started during week one for the Redskins. Pierre Garcon has one of the highlights of the 2012 season, as he caught a slant pass from Robert Griffin III and took it 88 yards to the end zone in the opener against the New Orleans Saints. However, on that same play Garcon injured his toe and was in and out of the lineup, missing a total of six games. With Garcon the Redskins are 8-1 this season, which proves his value to the offense.
In week two, OLB Brian Orakpo went down with a shoulder injury that sidelined him for the year. This made it a little difficult for OLB Ryan Kerrigan to be as productive as he’d like to be this season. He has surpassed his sack total from last season with eight and a half this year, but it has been a struggle for him to get to the quarterback. With Orakpo’s impact on the other side being missed, Kerrigan has been double teamed more often than not. However, Kerrigan had a monster game Sunday against the Eagles helping the Redskins force the turnovers the defense desperately needs.
Without Orakpo, Rob Jackson got the opportunity to step up, and that’s exactly what he has done. Jackson has three interceptions (one for a touchdown), four and a half sacks, and two forced fumbles. This equates to a solid season for a first-year starter.
No Brandon Meriweather for the majority of this season with a knee injury, so safeties Reed Doughty and Dejon Gomes has taken his place. They aren’t as active and skilled as Meriweather, but together they are capable of filling his role quite nicely. Nickel cornerback Cedric Griffin was suspended four games for violating the league’s policy on usage of performance enhanced drugs, but rookie Richard Crawford has stepped in and played well. Even when Griffin III was out with his knee injury, Kirk Cousins took advantage of his opportunity and looked like a seasoned veteran.
Now on a six game winning streak, it’s obvious that the Redskins have found the type of players that they need on this roster. On the other hand, maybe they have just learned what it takes to be considered winners.