In a season marred by a seemingly neverending series of injuries, Sunday’s 38-30 loss to the Vikings brought the Skins two more serious losses. Injuries are par for the course in this sport; it’s a rough game filled with violent collisions. But the sheer quantity of players who have been hurt this season makes the team’s current 4-5 record seem like an accomplishment rather than a disappointment. The latest losses affect both sides of the football.
Feature back Rob Kelley is done for the year after being placed on injured reserve. His production had been low to this point, with a paltry 194 rushing yards on 62 rushes and 3 touchdowns through seven games. Kelley’s absence means that rookie Samaje Perine will take on that feature back role, and his numbers through nine games look very similar, with 210 yards on 66 rushes and no touchdowns. He’ll get a lot more touches now and it remains to be seen if he can grow into his new responsibilities.
Inside linebacker Will Compton is also heading to the IR, his season done just as it was starting to look up. After taking over for the also-injured Mason Foster, he had a great performance in the team’s improbable victory in Seattle, notching seven tackles and his first pick of the year. It looked like he and Zach Brown (who is also banged up with an Achilles injury and is currently considered limited) would be a good fit together for a defense that put on a show against a very good Seahawks club.
What a difference a week makes. That same defense looked feckless against Minnesota, giving up touchdown after touchdown and unable to do much of anything against bubble starter Case Keenum. Now Compton is out for the season and may have played his last game for the Burgandy and Gold, as he hits free agency at the end of the year.
This week the Skins take on the NFC South leading Saints armed with a motley crew of tough veterans (I’m looking at you, Trent Williams), rookies being asked to step up (Hi, Samaje!), and newly signed players who have barely had a chance to crack open the playbook (welcome to town, Caraun Reid and Byron Marshall). This is a game they should lose, but as we saw in Seattle two weeks ago, anything can happen on any given Sunday. The Redskins have a great history against New Orleans, having won 17 of the 25 games the teams have played. It will be interesting to see if they can overcome such a bevy of impactful injuries and come away with an unlikely W.