If you've turned on ESPN, NFL Network or any local radio station for more than ten minutes at any point this year, you've heard something regarding Robert Griffin III's knee.
Enough already. For the love of God, enough.
RGIII rebounding from his knee injury is paramount for the success of the team, but let's not forget that the 2012 Redskins were generally a banged-up ball club. Thankfully, the rash of ailments didn't completely derail the team's season, but next year, the Skins may not be as lucky. There are several key cogs that will have to recover from injury. Let's look a few of those players.
1. Brian Orakpo
Eleven days into the 2012 regular season, linebacker Brian Orakpo tore his pectoral muscle for the second time in less than ten months.
After almost a year on the shelf, Orakpo admits that he is near 100% healthy and will be ready for training camp. The question is can he find a way stay healthy?
The duo of Orakpo and fellow former first rounder Ryan Kerrigan are supposed to be the bookend pass rushers for the foreseeable future, but if BO finds himself on the IR again, the Redskins may opt to replace him.
We saw time and time again last year that the Redskins’ pass rush (and the entire secondary as an extension) can suffer without Orakpo’s presence. And with Orakpo playing out the final year of his rookie contract, the fact that he has missed time in each of the past three years is concerning. How can a team count on a player that can’t stay healthy?
2. Brandon Meriweather
After getting cut by the Patriots and Bears in back-to-back seasons, Brandon Meriweather signed with the Skins with the goal of filling a dire need at safety and resurrecting his career at the same time.
But due to a series of unfortunate injuries, which include spraining his left ACL a week for the regular season, re-injuring the same knee after a pregame collision with a teammate and then tearing his right ACL in his only game of the season, both goals went unfulfilled.
With an off season of rehab behind him, Meriweather is slated to resume practice at training camp. However, the top spot on the depth chart may not be his spot to lose anymore. The Redskins invested two draft picks in safeties this year. It is probably in the best interest of the Redskins that Meriweather start. Two rookie safeties playing together could be trouble, especially in the Skins complex defensive scheme. But if for some reason he can’t return to form or if he has any setbacks, Meriweather could find himself permanently losing snaps.
3. Pierre Garcon
9-1 record with him, 1-5 record without him.
Coincidence or not but the numbers don’t lie. The Redskins win when Pierre Garcon is catching passes on Sundays.
Garcon’s 2012 season started with a bang, catching an 88-yard scoring strike for RGIII’s first touchdown. Garcon would only play in one of the Skins next eight games with a nagging foot ailment leaving the Redskins’ without their primary receiving target.
A healthy Garcon put instant pep in a previously sputtering Redskins offensive attack, averaging 30.0 points per game following his return.
The former Indianapolis Colt declined surgery on the foot this off season, opting for alternative methods. It has also been reported that Garcon had chest surgery this off season and may not be 100% for some time.
Garcon is the Redskins best receiving option and clearly, the offense can struggle without him.
4. Fred Davis
The Redskins have been waiting for Fred Davis to emerge as one of the premier tight ends in the NFL since drafting him in 2008. Whether it has been Chris Cooley starting ahead of him, being suspended four games for smoking pot or rupturing his Achilles tendon last season, Davis has yet put together a full season of All-Star caliber play.
Returning to the Redskins this season playing on his second-straight one-year deal, Davis has one more year to prove he is the Redskins tight end of the future. Last season proved that the Redskins could be successful offensively without Davis, relying on Niles Paul and Logan Paulsen to fill in. The Skins also drafted Jordan Reed from Florida last season, throwing another tight end in the mix.
Davis is certainly the most talented player at that position on the roster. But coming off major surgery (and being one bong rip away from a year long suspension), he needs to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is the player the Redskins want or else.
5. Adam Carriker
The life of a 3-4 defensive end is one full of responsibility but of little recognition. For Adam Carriker, it’s no different. He stuffs the run. He also draws double teams to make life easier for blitzing linebackers. So it is understandable that while Brian Orakpo’s injury hindered the defense, Carriker’s absence due to a torn quad tendon that sidelined him the majority of the season may have been almost equally detrimental.
Carriker’s replacement Jarvis Jenkins did an adequate job, his departure from the D-Line rotation was missed in the trenches. Carriker being gone meant Jenkins had to devote himself full time to replacing him, taking Jenkins away from his nose tackle duties. While the Redskins reshuffled the line several times to compensate for Carriker’s loss, no combinations seemed to work just right. Pass rush suffered as did run defense, especially in the Seahawk game.
to reports, Carriker suffered a setback this offseason which could actually
cost him his training camp.