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The injury bug bites other teams, too

The injury bug bites other teams, too

It's getting to the point where many Washington Redskins fans are afraid to turn on Training Camp Daily on Comcast or click on JLC's blog. They cringe at the prospect of finding out who got injured today.

The Redskins do seem to have a extraordinary number of injuries. It started on the first day of camp when two defensive ends, Phillip Daniels and Alex Buzbee, were lost for the year. It continued with Devin Thomas' hamstring, Malcolm Kelly's hamstring, Anthony Montgomery's hand, H. B. Blades' knee, Rian Wallace's hand, and a variety of other nicks. Pile onto those the limited roles that Carlos Rogers, Rocky McIntosh, Chris Samuels and Erasmus James can play due to wounds from last year that still are healing and you have a team that is operating shorthanded.

The injuries to the front-line players make it difficult for the starters to gel as a unit. When the backups are out the remaining players on the unit have to take additional reps and that can lead to fatigue, which can lead to more injuries, which starts the cycle all over again. Or, practice might be cut short, again cutting into preparation time.

As bad as the Redskins' situation seems, they are not alone. There are many other NFL teams being bitten hard by the injury bug. A look in the NFL Notes section of my local paper today reveals the following (after, of course, some 300 words about the Bret Favre soap opera):

  • Amani Toomer (left leg swelling) and Steve Smith (general soreness) sat out Giants practice along with Plaxico Burress (ankle).
  • Dallas cornerback Terence Newman will miss at least three weeks with a torn groin (ouch!)
  • Ravens' starting offensive tackle Adam Terry was carted off the field after apparently aggravating a left ankle problem that was surgically repaired last January. He had flipped from the right side to the left to fill in for Jared Gaither, who is out with a sprained ankle.
  • Steelers punter Daniel Sepulveda tore his ACL on the first day of practice. He will miss the season.
  • Buffalo backup QB J. P. Losman missed practice after jamming his thumb.
  • Jacksonville receiver Reggie Williams hurt his knee making a spin move after making a catch and he had to be carted off the field.
  • Tennessee defensive lineman Ulrich Winkler will miss the season with a torn ACL.

That's just one day's worth of NFL camp injury news in the local paper. It isn't a thorough study. I wouldn't be surprised to find out that the Redskins are somewhat worse off than your average NFL team.

Still, injuries are part of the game, they always have been and, until they come out with The Bionic Football Player, they always will be. The teams that can best deal with them are the ones that will be successful.

 

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Want to beat the Cardinals? Bring down Carson Palmer

Want to beat the Cardinals? Bring down Carson Palmer

Many considered the Cardinals a Super Bowl contender this season, though the team has not performed to that level so far in 2016. One huge problem for Arizona - protecting quarterback Carson Palmer. 

In its last four games, Arizona has given up 16 sacks on Palmer, including a staggering eight sacks against the Carolina Panthers. In the last two games, Palmer has gone down six times, and both games have been losses. 

With weapons like wideout Larry Fitzgerald and running back David Johnson, Palmer has lots of options to move the ball. That's why Jay Gruden knows how important it is for his front seven to get home.

"It’s going to start with the pass rush," Gruden said. "If Carson [Palmer] has all day to throw and give Larry time to do double moves and stem you inside and vertical and then get back out or break it back across, I don’t care how big you are or how fast you are, it’s going to be hard."

In all six Cardinals losses, Palmer has been sacked at least two times, and in four of the losses, Palmer has gone down at least four times. Beyond the Panthers' eight sacks, the Bills brought down the Cards QB five times, and both the Seahawks and Vikings got to Palmer four times.

While the sack totals stand out, Washington's Preston Smith knows each week is different in the NFL.

"Every game you’re fired up because you feel like it's an opporttunity to get out there and get sacks," Smith said. "You don’t think about what another team did, they’re going to play us different."

Talking on the latest #RedskinsTalk Podcast, Redskins linebacker Trent Murphy acknowledged that the defense knows how beat up the Cardinals' offensive line is. Murphy, who has seven sacks on the season, added that he's 'drooling' for this matchup and the opportunity to take advantage of the Arizona vulnerabilities up front. (Listen to the full podcast below.)

Bruce Arians knows his team is undermanned on the line, and the Arizona offense will be creative to protect Palmer.

"You have to help them," Arians said of his O-line. "You have got to stay balanced and hopefully not get into a situation where it’s a throw, throw, throw game because then you’re putting them in harm’s way and your quarterback in harm’s way."

It doesn't help that in his 14th season, Palmer is probably one of the least mobile quarterbacks in the NFL. After matching up against Aaron Rodgers and Dak Prescott in their last two games, the Redskins defense knows Palmer won't move nearly as much, though that doesn't mean he's neccesarily easier to get down.

"You’re not going against a mobile quarterback but you still got to get to that spot," Smith said. "Carson’s a good quarterback."

Linebacker Mason Foster said that sacks aren't as important as consistent pressure. 

"On a great quarterback like that you want consistent pressure all day long. Make things tough on him, you don’t want a clean pocket," Foster said. "If you have pressure in his face all day and you don’t get no sacks, I think that's a success."

Even at 36, Palmer is still a dangerous quarterback. He's thrown for nearly 3,000 yards this year with a beat-up offensive line and missing one start. But numbers are numbers, and the data shows that if the 'Skins pass rushers can get Palmer to the ground, the chances of a Washington win shoot right up. 

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

 

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Poll: What is your approval rating for Redskins coach Jay Gruden?

Poll: What is your approval rating for Redskins coach Jay Gruden?

As always, hit the poll and then head to the comments section here and talk about your answer, or reply on Twitter.