In the wake of two major losses on defense — the season-ending injuries to linebacker Brian Orakpo and defensive end Adam Carriker — three guys on defense and one on offense have a chance to make a difference this season: lineman Kedric Golston, linebacker Rob Jackson, linebacker Chris Wilson and wide receiver Josh Morgan.
So many believe that the loss of Orakpo and Carriker debilitates this defense beyond repair. I say they are wrong.
Jackson and Wilson are high motor guys who can rush the passer as well as anyone else on this team. There are concerns about their ability to drop back in pass coverage and play the run. But I think Jackson has the chance to not only fill in for Orakpo, but build a name for himself. He’s more talented than people realize.
Golston slid down the depth chart, most likely because of injuries and changes in the coaching staff. He is more than capable of stepping into the defensive line rotation and doing a good job. The defense seemed to forget how to reach the opposing quarterback in last week’s game. I’m eagerly anticipating this week’s contest against the Cincinnati Bengals to see whether defenders can bring it better than they did last week.
On offense, the one guy I think will have a special game, and perhaps an exceptional season, is Morgan. This has been a very tough week for him after the penalty he committed at the end of the Rams game, which cost the Redskins a good chance to tie or win the game. Everyone seems to have a strong opinion on what he did, and Morgan actually received death threats on Twitter.
Well my strong opinion is he can play some football. I see him having a bounce back game this week. Morgan is one of those guys who gets it. He knows he made a mistake, but what isn’t mistakeable is Morgan’s ability to make plays. I look for him to redeem himself in some way, either in this game or as the season continues.
As sports fans, we have long seen that special things sometimes happen after disaster strikes. I remember when Antonio Pierce, an undrafted free agent, got his chance when a starter wasn’t able to get healthy. Need I tell you how things went with him? He led a top 10 defense in Washington and then went on to lead the Giants’ defense to a Super Bowl title.
It can happen again. In sports, it happens all the time. A man goes down, another steps up.