Fight for Old DC: 2014 Preseason
Last year, the Redskins lost a handful of significant pieces to the injury bug. Starters, like DeAngelo Hall and Brian Orakpo, ended their seasons on IR after suffering major injuries. However, those injuries came during the season. Heading into the season, the Redskins were in decent shape, health-wise. During training camp and preseason, they lost CB Courtney Bridget Jr., WR Jerry Rice Jr., NT Chris Neild, and LB Darryl Sharpton. Additionally, DE Stephen Bowen and WR Leonard Hankerson were battling injuries, and the team placed them on the Reserve/PUP list shortly after the fourth preseason game. (Both returned to the active roster around the mid-point of the season.)
Current State of Affairs: 2015 Preseason
In the past 30 days, the Redskins lost CB Tevin Mitchel, LB Trevardo Williams, RB Silas Redd Jr., TE Niles Paul, TE Logan Paulsen, LB Adam Hayward, and, most recently, LB Junior Galette. The losses are pretty evenly divided among the offense and defense here. Offensively speaking, coaches were expecting contributions from Paul, Paulsen, and Redd, and, when coupled with the loss of Hayward during the Lions game, the special teams unit has taken an especially hard hit from the injury bug. That unit finished in the bottom third of all NFL teams in most facets of its game (even though punting was a bright spot - Tress Way for Redskins MVP!) and can ill-afford the losses of two hardworking leaders from its ranks. On the defense, while Williams was a debatable roster addition, all of the other players held significant value. Mitchel was likely to be the sixth cornerback, a necessary role when you consider the bottom of the barrel the Redskins were scraping for CBs by the end of last season, and fans are still reeling from yesterday's news about Galette's torn Achilles. Clearly, the team is frustrated, too, with DeAngelo Hall saying, "[Galette] was the missing piece to our D. The best pass rusher I've ever been around hands down, and it's not even close."
And the winner is...
the glory days. Clearly, when comparing the number of starters who've gone down this year and how early they've been lost for the season, the 2015 team is in worse shape than the 2014 team was. The question now is whether or not players like RB Matt Jones, LB Trent Murphy, LB Preston Smith, TE Ernst Brun, and newest addition TE Derek Carrier, as well players added during the inevitable roster shuffling that comes with the cut down to 53, can step up and fill some of the holes left by the their teammates.