“This is something you don’t want to go through, but it is pro football, and you have to go through it,” Redskins Coach Jay Gruden told reporters. “Fortunately we have a very good offensive line coach in Coach [Bill] Callahan, and we’ll figure it out and make it work.”
Left tackle Trent Williams is expected to be out another two or three games after thumb surgery. Morgan Moses is day-to-day after injuring his knee in Sunday’s loss to the Falcons. Callahan deserves a significant raise if he can prevent Washington’s decimated offensive line from derailing a promising season like it did last year.
“I don’t get it, man,” Santana Moss said Monday during his weekly appearance with Chad Dukes on 106.7 The Fan. “Every year for the last, what, three years now? . . . It’s just hard to see these guys be consistent. We keep preaching consistency, consistency, consistency. We want to see these guys be consistent, but it’s hard, because they’re not even healthy enough to be out there with all the guys. All we can do is pray for them. Bow your head. Moment of silence right now.”
“There has never been a weather day more suited to the mood of this football fan base than today,” The Team 980′s Steve Czaban said on a rain-soaked Monday.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter said he considered Washington’s rash of injuries more noteworthy than running back Le’Veon Bell’s continued absence from the Steelers' facility or Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green’s foot injury.
“You’re talking about four offensive linemen who are basically down and out, that they either have lost for an extended period, or for the season,” Schefter said on “NFL Live.” “It’s hard when you’re fighting for first place in the NFC East to lose four starting offensive linemen for an indefinite period of time and maintain the level of consistency you’ve had all year long. The Redskins losing so many players to such big injuries, to me, is the biggest development here."
“It’s been the identity of their team,” ESPN analyst Tim Hasselbeck said. “One of the biggest surprises this season has been Adrian Peterson playing the way that Adrian Peterson has played for the Washington Redskins, being in sole possession of first place in the NFC East. I think in some ways, it changes the identity of who that team is. That offensive line is a very good offensive line that they have been investing in in Washington."
Peterson, who was limited to 17 yards on nine carries in Sunday’s loss, will be in the running for Comeback Player of the Year honors and is the main reason the Redskins are 5-3. The 33-year-old has praised Washington’s offensive line all season, but there’s a chance he couldn’t name the five guys who will be tasked with creating holes for him Sunday at Tampa Bay.
“You can’t lose four out of your five starting offensive linemen and expect to be good,” former Patriots linebacker and NFL Network analyst Willie McGinest said on “NFL Total Access.” “They run the ball, predicated on their offensive [line’s] physicality. This is bad for AP. [When Peterson has] 15 or more carries a game, they’re undefeated. Now they’re not going to be effective running the football. They don’t pass the ball down the field."
The Redskins' remaining schedule is favorable, and according to FiveThirtyEight′s projections, they still have a 43 percent chance to make the playoffs and a 35 percent chance to win the division.
“They stumbled today; that happens. But the Redskins, collectively, are the best team, to me, in the NFC East,” Deion Sanders said Sunday night, before all of the injuries were announced. “They will bounce back.”
“They’re better than Philly?” Shannon Sharpe asked.
“Yeah, I ain’t stutter,” replied Sanders, who has been driving the Redskins' bandwagon all season.
After the Titans defeated the Cowboys on “Monday Night Football,” which was perhaps the one piece of good news for Washington in Week 9, the “NFL Total Access: Endgame” crew shared their predictions for which team would win the NFC East.
“[I] would’ve said the Redskins, but they just had to put three players on IR, down for the rest of the year, [including] two offensive linemen,” Maurice Jones-Drew said. “That was their strength on offense, that offensive line. So, with all that being said, the Eagles are the team we haven’t talked about that won a big game in London. They’re coming back, they’re getting healthier."
“We had about 20 dudes go on IR, and we won the Super Bowl,” former Packers wide receiver James Jones said of Green Bay’s 2010 team, which overcame a number of injuries en route to a title. “I’m going with the Washington Redskins. Yes, they had three guys [go on IR], especially on the O-line, but listen: They play defense, Alex Smith does not turn the ball over, and they run the ball well. That’s a formula for winning."
Jones neglected to mention that the 2010 Packers were led by quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Smith doesn’t have to be Rodgers, but it’s clear he will have to do more than “not turn the ball over” in the second half of the season if Washington is to qualify for the playoffs for the first time since 2015.
“It’s going to be a slog from here to the finish line for this team, and it was going to be challenging anyway, because of the not-so-dirty secret that in a league designed to score, in a league that begs you to pass, our passing game is a shark sandwich,” Czaban said. “It’s just bad; it’s not good. The Alex Smith problem is looming like a larger and larger elephant in the corner of the room, that up until now we had the luxury of kind of ignoring and whispering around. ‘We’re running the football. Old-school football. This style of play is going to be great once the weather turns.’ Yeahhh, not exactly. You have to be able to pass your way back into games."
“I know this offense can be better and I know they will be better, but at some point we’re going to run out of time of saying, ‘They have time; they have time,’ " DeAngelo Hall said Monday on 106.7 The Fan. “I like this team, I like the defense, but it scares me, because at some point, teams are going to score 21, 24 points."
The Falcons, of course, scored 38 on Sunday. The Buccaneers are only 3-5, but they’re averaging 29 points, seventh-best in the league.
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