ASHBURN, Va. — The Washington Redskins keep adding players to a list no one wants to join. And the fact that the number of players on injured reserve continues to grow will end up as one reason their season won’t end the way they want.
The Redskins, who didn’t have a lot of margin for error this season before the heavy injuries, added four more names Tuesday. Here’s the list of injured players with their number of full games missed in parentheses and the impact of their absence:
Running back Chris Thompson (zero games): Thompson, who broke his right fibula against the Saints, is their most dynamic running back and entered last week leading the Redskins in both rushing and receiving yards. He’s no longer ahead in the former, but that doesn’t diminish his value. Thompson excels in pass protection, too. He is a good route runner and can align wide and be effective on multiple patterns. He is also a highly respected player in the locker room. He might be the hardest player to replace on offense considering no one else can do what he does.
Running back Rob Kelley (one): He was inconsistent this season, in part because of multiple injuries to his ribs and ankles. Kelley was Washington’s starting back and had progressed in the passing game. In an ideal situation, he’s a strong backup. But he also ran with toughness, endearing him to coaches. Even if Samaje Perine finishes strong, the Redskins would still miss Kelley because they now have two inexperienced backups.
Receiver Terrelle Pryor (zero): He never made the impact anyone had hoped to see as their No. 1 X receiver. Some of that stems from his own abilities, whether inconsistent with routes or his hands or tracking ability. Some of that stems from a bottom-line fact: The Redskins have other targets, something Pryor didn’t deal with in Cleveland. Pryor’s ankle injury hurt his explosiveness; he needed to maintain that to help set up other routes. He lost his starting job to Josh Doctson.
Defensive lineman Jonathan Allen (five): In addition to Thompson, Allen’s injury is the toughest to overcome. He was producing as an interior pass-rusher, helping to collapse the pocket. He also allowed others to play fewer snaps and, therefore, be more effective. The Redskins allowed 4.0 yards per carry in Allen’s five games; they have allowed 4.58 without him. There’s still a chance he’ll return late in the season.
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Linebacker Mason Foster (four): He started the season fine, but injured his shoulder in Week 2 and that limited his effectiveness. When healthy, Foster was solid and could help all around. He knew the defense. But it enabled Washington to maintain depth in areas such as special teams where the backups played.
Linebacker Will Compton (one): Compton has also been hurt most of the season with various leg injuries. But with Foster and Zach Brown ahead of him, he helped on special teams. And he was a smart, experienced backup if nothing else when everyone was available. The linebacker play has been spotty, at best, the past two games (see: last six minutes and overtime against New Orleans). Would Foster and Compton have solved those problems? Impossible to tell, but their losses hurt the overall depth at the position.
Center Spencer Long (three): He did play against Minnesota, but sparingly as his quad tendon proved too much to overcome. Long was playing fine and did a good job pulling when needed (it was obvious against Minnesota he couldn’t do this as well). Backup center Chase Roullier has a good future, but he’s inexperienced and now he’s also hurt and will miss at least one game with a broken hand.
Kicker Dustin Hopkins (five): He was having an OK season when he was hurt having made 9 of 11 field goals. His replacement, Nick Rose, has been solid with eight makes in nine attempts. In five games, Hopkins recorded touchbacks on 20 of his 27 kickoffs. Rose has recorded a touchback on 16 of 28 kickoffs.
Linebacker Trent Murphy (10): He was placed on IR in the preseason. Murphy recorded a career-high nine sacks last season. He would not have started, but he would have helped as a reserve pass-rusher, able to play outside linebacker or rush along the line in various nickel packages — and over the nose in their speed rush. The Redskins’ backup outside linebackers — Junior Galette and Ryan Anderson — have combined for one sack (two half-sacks by Galette). Galette has been applying more pressure of late, but the Redskins miss what Murphy would have added.
Nose tackle Phil Taylor (10): It’s hard to rely on someone who missed two years of football due of injuries like Taylor. But he had played well this summer and would have helped at a position the Redskins are still trying to solve. Had Taylor made it to the season and stayed healthy — a big if — he would have freed Ziggy Hood to play end and help in nickel rushes, which are both areas where he’s better suited.
Safety Su’a Cravens (10): He’s not on injured reserve, but he is another player who was lost. He had a knee injury this summer, but then told the team he was retiring and has since been placed on the reserve/left squad list. It’s hard to measure his impact because he never played safety in an NFL game. But the Redskins did have him starting. His loss, combined with impressive rookie Montae Nicholson’s recurring injury issues, has hurt the secondary.
Running back Keith Marshall (10): He did not look good in 2016 training camp as a rookie, before he was lost for the season with an elbow injury. But the Redskins entered camp with some excitement over what they felt he could do. Then he got hurt again. He might not have made a substantial impact, but given how the running back situation has played out they could have used another body.