The Redskins say they’re making plans for Rob Jackson and Chris Wilson to split playing time Sunday at the outside linebacker spot left vacant when Brian Orakpo was placed on the injured reserve list this week.
The two said this week they’re fine with the time-sharing arrangement and are awaiting the opportunity eagerly.
“I think we’ll both get playing time,” Wilson said. “I’m always up for the challenge. The season is just beginning…. I’m looking forward to it… You hate to see it be under this kind of circumstances. But that’s what the depth on your team is for, times like this. We’ve got a job to do. We’ve still got to go out there and win a football game.”
Said Jackson: “The NFL is a physical game. Injuries happen. You’ve just got to keep working. Hard work always pays off. I’ve been working hard since I’ve been here and we’ll see what happens…. [Orakpo has] always been the guy that says there’s no drop-off when him or Ryan [Kerrigan] comes out. So we plan on going out there and showing him that there’s really going to be no drop-off.”
Orakpo suffered a torn left pectoral muscle in last Sunday’s loss at St. Louis. According to Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan, this injury was to a different area of the same muscle that Orakpo had hurt previously. Orakpo underwent offseason surgery after suffering a partially torn left pectoral muscle in last season’s finale. He missed the final two preseason games after aggravating the injury in the second exhibition game but was in the Redskins’ lineup for their season-opening triumph at New Orleans.
“It was a re-occurring injury,” Jackson said. “It’s never been 100 percent. It was just being prepared and ready to go [as Orakpo’s backup]…. I feel like I’ve been working hard. Since I’ve been here, I’ve been preparing for this opportunity.”
The Redskins are ranked 28th in the NFL in total defense and now must play the rest of the season without Orapko, their leader in sacks last season, and defensive end Adam Carriker, who also was placed on the IR list this week because of a torn quadriceps tendon near his right knee.
Wilson said his goal is to contribute to a winning defensive effort Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals, not necessarily a performance that is overwhelming from a statistical standpoint.
“Just winning the football game,” Wilson said. “That’s the most important stat there is—wins. We know the areas [in which the defense must improve] and we know how to fix them. It’s just about winning, about finishing and focusing, really. The good thing about it is, it’s nothing anybody else is doing. As long as we handle our business, do what we’re supposed do and have a great week of preparation, then we’ll be fine.”