Saturday, September 10, 2011

Redskins-Giants and the injury factor

Here's a look at the injury report for Sunday's game against the Giants, followed by comments on which injuries I think can have the biggest impact on the outcome.

DE Osi Umenyiora - Out
MLB Johnathan Goff - Out
CB Prince Amukamara - Out
DE Justin Tuck - Questionable
TE Travis Beckum - Questionable

Obviously it’s great (for us) that Osi Umenyiora won’t be on the field, but that doesn’t mean the Redskins line is out of the woods. For years now the Giants pass rush has been known not only for it’s quality but for it’s quantitiy. Justin Tuck is a dominant player; if he doesn’t play it will be very helpful. But Matthias Kiwanuka and Jason Pierre-Paul are still pass rushers we should be rather worried about, especially given the Redskins' “just okay” tackles.

The significance of the Goff injury is a big question mark. My concern is that I’m not sure the Redskins have the center to properly exploit it. If Will Montgomery can get off the line and put a hat on the backup MLB, he should open some big cutback lanes for Tim Hightower. But based on preseason action I am skeptical that Montgomery can do that.  So this injury is either a huge advantage or a non-factor. The latter would be frustrating. In this regard, the most helpful absence on the Giants' line may be former tackle Barry Cofield (heh).

SS LaRon Landry - Out
FS Oshiomogho Atogwe - Questionable
KR/PR Brandon Banks - Questionable
TE Chris Cooley - Questionable
WR Donte Stallworth - Questionable
RB Ryan Torain - Questionable

I am only mildly concerned about Chris Cooley, because it is about time we see if Fred Davis can be a big part of this passing game. It’s his contract year so it’s time to fish or cut bait.  Davis should be able to compensate for Cooley’s absence. If he can’t it will be frustrating, but we will have learned something important.

The safety situation is worrisome, not just for Sunday but for the season. The bright side is that Landry’s injury seems to be the worse of the two. That’s nothing against Landry, it’s just that what he does can be more effectively replaced by other guys on the roster. Reed Doughty is not nearly the physical freak that Landry is, but if you keep blockers off him (which Jim Haslett isn’t always good about) he is great at diagnosing plays and can be a force against the run. Dejon Gomes should also get playing time, and if the potential he reportedly showed in camp is legitimate then I’m excited to see him. So losing Landry would hurt but wouldn’t be a death blow. 

Playing without Atogwe would be a real problem. Doughty is the next best coverage safety on the roster (including the PUP’d Kareem Moore) but we all know he is limited athletically, and even though Atogwe isn’t exactly a shutdown coverage guy he makes up for it with playmaking ability that Doughty can’t replicate.  And since the book on Gomes is that he has great athletic upside but is very raw, I certainly wouldn’t want to trust him downfield. This brings up one of the Giants' injuries that I didn't mention above: given the dicey safety situation it's good that the Giants lost TE Kevin Boss in the offseason, and that his primary replacement Travis Beckum may not play. If Atogwe is out or his effectiveness is limited, at least the Giants probably won't have a tight end who can really threaten the seam. Hopefully.

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