Mike Shanahan, head coach of the Washington Redskins, announced today that the Redskins lost two defensive starters for the year.
Outside linebacker Brian Orakpo (he of the regrettable, yet memorable, Geico commercials) and defensive tackle Adam Carriker are out for the season after suffering injuries in the first quarter of Sunday's 31-28 loss to the Rams.
Coming into the season, the front seven were seen as the strong point of the Redskins defense, but now the team will need to find replacements fast.
Orakpo and Carriker combined for 93 tackles and 14.5 sacks last year, and their loss will be felt immediately. All this after already missing safety Brandon Meriweather, who has been out with an injured left knee.
Carriker will be replaced by Jarvis Jenkins, a second-round pick in 2011 who sat out all of last year with a torn ACL. Jenkins was highly-touted when he came into the NFL, but he looked shaky during the preseason. Rob Jackson and Chris Wilson will split time as they compete for Orakpo's starting spot at outside linebacker.
Where To From Here?
The Redskins have given up 91.5 rushing yards per game through two weeks, but they haven't dealt with pro bowl running backs yet. The Saints struggled early and focused on the passing game, and Steven Jackson left this week's game early with an injury. BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Doug Martin come calling the next two weeks, so the Redskins front seven will have a more difficult challenge stopping the run.
After allowing 63 points in their first two games, the Redskins need to find their identity on defense, and shuffling in new players will make that even more challenging.
This is a defense still led by veterans like London Fletcher and DeAngelo Hall, but the Redskins will need a strong performance from young players if they want to compete in the NFC East. Within their own division the Redskins will face LeSean McCoy and DeMarco Murray, to say nothing of upcoming games against Green-Ellis, Adrian Peterson, and Trent Richardson.
Look for another high-scoring game next week in the Redskin's home opener, as the team pieces together a patchwork defense against the Cincinnati Bengals.