Heading into a game in which the topic of discussion should center around the return of former Redskin Pro Bowl cornerback Champ Bailey this Sunday at FedEx Field, the conversation in the DC Metro area this week centers around key injuries in a season that continues to go south.
Quarterback Jason Campbell suffered a chest contusion while offensive tackle Mike Williams is out 2-4 weeks with a torn ankle ligament and safety Chris Horton was placed on injured reserve with a damaged ligament in his left big toe, ending his season.
Running back Clinton Portis will not face his former team after suffering a concussion this past Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons. Portis was on the ground for a brief period of time after the collision, a sight that his teammates did not want to see, especially after witnessing the same injury happen to Brian Westbrook just two weeks before at FedEx Field. His return is unknown but it will be determined with caution, much like the Philadelphia Eagles are doing with Westbrook.
“It was scary seeing him go down like that. Head injuries are common this year and I am sure Clinton will take his time coming back in full stride when he is ready to,” Andre Carter said.
The injury bug has bit the Redskins hard so far this season but this is something that Carter has experienced before.
“I have been on a team where there have been so many injuries in one year. It was my ‘04 year in San Francisco. I was a part of that group. We had defensive linemen come in and out on that team. [The] majority of the starters were on I.R. It was a terrible feeling that year. When a starter is down, the next man has to fill in those shoes. That’s the NFL.”
Relying on role players is what Campbell has had to do for most of the season since the offensive line has been decimated with injuries.
Levi Jones is expected to make his first start at left tackle for the Redskins this Sunday. This Sunday, he will need to prove why he was taken 10th overall in the 2002 Draft when faced against Broncos linebacker Elvis Dumervil, who is tied for the league lead in sacks with 10.5 and the rest of the surprising Denver defense. Dumervil provides the speed and intensity a lot of defensive coaches look for in blitzing linebackers.
“He is a playmaker. I had an opportunity to work with [Denver Defensive Coordinator] Coach [Mike] Nolan during my last year with the 49ers. In that 3-4 scheme you have to have the right personnel. We didn’t during his time there but obviously his system is working in Denver.”
Speaking of blitzing linebackers, rookie Brian Orakpo, who had two sacks in the loss to the Falcons Sunday and was nominated as a candidate for Rookie of the Week, was very vocal about his displeasure with the team’s status immediately after the loss. He reportedly muttered obscenities to himself that could be heard in other interviews that were taking place, voicing displeasure with the win/loss record that he is not used to, especially considering his college alma mater.
A large majority of the veterans on the team, however, have not outwardly displayed their emotions like the rookie from Texas did Sunday afternoon.
How come the boiling points for the veterans have not become similarly visible at this point in the season?
“Every man expresses himself in different ways. Some [do it] by playing hard to win despite the situation during the game, vocally on the field or off the field. You can throw fists, helmets, slurs and rant all day. We are only human. Emotions can get the best of us. I can’t say why others haven’t reacted in that manner. We all can control our emotions but we all have a boiling point as well. We know what’s at stake however we remain optimistic in ourselves and in our faith that this will turn around somehow,” Carter said.
One player who had trouble controlling his emotions this offseason is wide receiver Brandon Marshall, who, just months after wanting out of Denver, has been in a positive state of mind over the past two months after becoming the catalyst for the their 6-2 start.
The Redskins secondary has had a tendency as of late to give up the big play. How will they be able to stop Marshall on Sunday?
“He is fast and elusive. He can catch passes that might not be retrievable. The only way to stop him is great coverage and leverage depending on the defensive [line],” Carter said.
It’s safe to say very few people expected the Broncos to start off as strong as they have so far but far but Carter says it just goes to show that surprises are a regular occurrence in the league.
“Anything can happen in the NFL. Even though the fans had questioned the hiring of a new young coach, it is evident that the players are winning and playing for each other.”
Under the Helmet:
THN: Based on the shows, movies, songs and albums that have come out this year, who would you say would earn the title of “Best Actor/Actress” and “Best Singer” of 2009?
AC: Best Actor of the Year would be Mickey Rourke. Best Actress would be Meryl Streep. Best Singer of 2009 would be Mariah Carey.
Edit: This blog was archived in May of 2016 from our original articles database.It was originally posted by Jake Russell