The Redskins reeling defense suffered a devastating blow Monday when it was announced that star linebacker Brian Orakpo will miss the remainder of the season with a torn left pectoral muscle.Orakpo, two-time pro bowl selection, suffered the injury early in Sundays 31-28 defeat in St. Louis while wrapping up Rams quarterback Sam Bradford for his first sack of the season. Its the same pectoral Orakpo tore in the 2011 regular season finale and aggravated in the preseason. This tear, though, in a different spot.Rak tore his pec in a little different spot on the right side, Shanahan said. It will be about four-month recovery time. So hell be gone for the season as well.Moments earlier, Shanahan confirmed what most had suspected: Defensive end Adam Carriker will also miss the remainder of the season. He tore a ligament between the quadriceps and knee, Shanahan said.The loss of Orakpo, however, was a stunner.After getting hurt early in the game, the 26-year-old returned to the game twice, including early in the second half. Both times, however, he was forced to leave the field again.According to the MRI, its a completely different area than the initial tear, Shanahan said, asked if the new injury was related to the prior one.Shanahan said Orakpo and Carriker will have surgery this week. Shanahan said Orakpo will miss four months, while Carriker will be sidelined five.Neither player was available to speak to reporters Monday.Orakpo is expected to be replaced by Rob Jackson, who said earlier in the day that he was preparing as though he would be the starter against Cincinnati. Orakpo's absence figures to result in Chris Wilson will receiving additional playing time, too. Shanahan hinted that Jackson and Wilson could compete to be Orakpo's full-time replacement.They both have to step up and play at a very high level because we all know what Rak has meant to our defense and how well hes played, Shanahan said of Jackson and Wilson.Orakpo has averaged 9.5 sacks per game during his first three seasons in the NFL. And after an offseason spent rehabbing and working on technique, he was hoping to have a breakout year."He's a guy who can do it all," Shanahan said. "He can cover, he rush, he can play the run, he's very physical, very smart, a team player. All the things you look for in a Pro Bowl player. Obviously, we're going to miss him."
The good news for the 2016 Redskins was that they didn’t collapse after winning the division the previous season as has been their pattern in the past. The bad news was that they didn’t take the next step and improve from a franchise that can compete to make the playoffs into one that is playing multiple postseason games year in and year out.
That work begins right now for Jay Gruden, Scot McCloughan and the players. In the coming weeks, Redskins reporters Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will examine the biggest questions facing the Redskins as another offseason gets rolling.
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Will the Redskins go with a defensive player in the first round of the 2017 Draft?
Finlay: The Redskins haven't drafted a defensive player in the first round since 2011 when the franchise grabbed Ryan Kerrigan with the 16th pick. In fact, the team has only drafted five defensive players in the first round over the last 15 years.
History suggests Washington will stay away from a defensive player, but sources in Ashburn have suggested otherwise. Assuming the talent is there when the 'Skins pick at No. 17, Scot McCloughan would like to bolster the team's defensive line specifically.
Things will get complicated should Leonard Fournette or Dalvin Cook slide to 17. Rich Tandler certainly would like to see the Burgundy and Gold add a top-flight running back.
Tandler: Many fans believe that conducting a draft is like going into a grocery store with a list. Defensive lineman is at the top of the list so you go to aisle 12 and put a DL in the cart. Safety is next on the list so you push the cart over to that aisle and pick out one of those.
No, a draft is much more unpredictable. There might not be a defensive lineman who is close to worthy of the No. 17 pick when the Redskins are on the clock. Talk of taking the best available player is like fingernails on a chalkboard to some. But if you’re reaching for need in a draft, you’re losing that draft. Sure, if a player in a position of need is just a spot or two down from the best available you think about it. Still, staying true to your board is the way to build a team.
The other thing to consider here is that we haven’t gone through free agency yet. Needs will shift after that. Suppose the Redskins sign two starting-caliber D-linemen and lose both Pierre Garçon and DeSean Jackson in free agency? Defensive line is no longer a five-alarm priority and receiver will be.
More offseason questions:
Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!
Twice in the last five seasons Pierre Garçon logged more than 1,000 yards receiving as a member of the Washington Redskins, including the 2016 season. He's caught 376 passes in Washington for 21 touchdowns over 74 games.
Outside of a foot injury that cost his six games in 2012, Garçon has been arguably the Redskins most durable wide receiver, and he's known to be a hard worker in the weight room and the practice field.
Despite all that, Garçon doesn't know that he will be back with the Burgundy and Gold once free agency opens. In fact, that uncertainty led the 30-year-old wideout to post a simple question on his Instagram page.
The top of the Redskins offseason questions remains QB Kirk Cousins. Garçon and fellow wideout DeSean Jackson are headed for free agency, as is standout defensive lineman Chris Baker. Reports show that the team has made little to no contact with any of the players or their representatives, though many conversations could be planned for the NFL Draft Combine in Indianapolis later this month.
Garçon's question seems simple, but the answer remains a mystery.
Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!