Battered Redskins deal with short work week
Sep. 22, 2014
ASHBURN, Va. (AP) — Brian Orakpo had an appointment with a hand specialist, just one of many comings-and-goings involving injured Washington Redskins players and various doctors. A diagram of it all would've made a flea flicker look simple.
"We're losing guys left and right," Orakpo said. "Football's a tough game. Look, if you've got kids and can't stand injuries, don't let 'em play football."
The Redskins had a particularly bruising game at the wrong time. Not only were DeAngelo Hall (ruptured left Achilles) and Duke Ihenacho (broken left foot) lost for the season in Sunday's 37-34 defeat to the Philadelphia Eagles, but battered players such as Orakpo, Jason Hatcher and Shawn Lauvao have little time to recover because there's another game on Thursday.
"Nobody in the league likes Thursday night games," Orakpo said. "I don't know why they have them."
In a game that included a fourth-quarter brawl, 201 yards in penalties and a career-high 427-yard passing day from Kirk Cousins, the Redskins (1-2) put up a valiant showing against the reigning NFC East champions. That would be fine if Washington wanted the season to be about rebuilding and improvement without much concern about the win-loss record, but no one thinks that way — at least not this early in the season.
That makes Thursday's game against the New York Giants loom large. A loss would put the Redskins three games in the loss column behind the Eagles (3-0). Not to mention the fact that Washington hasn't won a division game since 2012.
"Sometimes football's about playing when you're not quite 100 percent," coach Jay Gruden said. "The guys are going to have to buckle up, strap it up, because the Giants are in the same boat we are. We're both 1-2, and it's a very important game for both of us."
The Redskins held a late-afternoon walkthrough and listed 17 players — nearly one-third of the roster — on the injury report.
"Obviously this is a week that I would rather not have a Thursday night game," Gruden said.
The coach paused for a beat, then smiled and added the obvious: "Probably any week would be a week I would rather not have a Thursday night game."
Gruden lumped most of the injuries into the "day-to-day" category. The more important ones, as far as Thursday's game is concerned, appear to belong to defensive end Hatcher (hamstring), linebacker Orakpo (left middle finger) and guard Lauvao (right knee).
There was optimism that all three could play. Hatcher sounded upbeat, Orapko will probably just to play through pain, and an MRI on Lauvao revealed no structural damage — just swelling and bruises.
There's also a chance the NFL will take action against one or more of the players involved in the fight that began when nose tackle Chris Baker blindsided Eagles quarterback Nick Foles after an apparent interception. No flag was thrown for the block, but Baker and Eagles left tackle Jason Peters were ejected during the ensuing melee.
Gruden conceded that Baker's hit on Foles "looked malicious on tape," but that wasn't the intent.
"I don't know what to tell him," Gruden said. "We obviously don't want any ill-will towards the quarterback, no cheap shots. We don't preach any cheap shots, but in the heat of battle in the football game, sometimes things like that will happen. The league will take care of it, I'm sure."
Baker said he had watched the replay "over and over" and feels he did nothing wrong.
"I know what my intentions were, and my intension was to get a block," Baker said. "If I really wanted to hit him hard, I could've changed speed and really exploded into him."
AP NFL websites: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL
Follow Joseph White on Twitter: http://twitter.com/JGWhiteAP