Redskins Defense Decimated By Injuries

After facing a Bears team with walking wounded on Monday night, the Vikings will get another shot at a defense that is reeling with injuries.

What else can happen to the young core of the Redskins defense?

Seven weeks after third-year cornerback Carlos Rogers suffered a season-ending knee injury and three weeks after fourth-year safety Sean Taylor was murdered, second-year linebacker Rocky McIntosh tore the ACL and MCL in his left knee in Sunday's 22-10 victory over the New York Giants.

McIntosh, who is Washington's second-leading tackler, will have surgery in the coming weeks, and figures to miss between nine months and a year.

"It's a real negative for us," coach Joe Gibbs said. "He was playing great for us."

McIntosh, who had the most recent of three scopes on his right knee this past offseason, didn't want to believe how bad his left knee was.

"The kid kept saying, ‘Are you sure; are you sure?' ... Because he can stand on it, but clinically, when you test it, you can see the looseness," said Redskins director of sports medicine Bubba Tyer. "He got crushed under somebody, hit his leg and it bent backwards."

So now, the Redskins are without Taylor (fifth overall pick, 2004), Rogers (ninth, 2005) and McIntosh (35th, 2006) and yet they've won their past two games to improve to 7-7 and remain in the NFC wild-card race heading to another showdown Sunday night at Minnesota.

It's unclear whether rookie H.B. Blades, veteran Randall Godfrey or special teams ace Khary Campbell will replace McIntosh for the rest of this season. Blades and Campbell shared the snaps against the Giants. Godfrey was inactive after filling in when strongside linebacker Marcus Washington was sidelined for most of five games in October and November.

Blades had played almost exclusively on special teams prior to the Giants game. The sixth-round draft pick from Pitt had five tackles on defense in the first 13 games, 13 on special teams.

"I'm in most of the regular packages when somebody gets hurt," Blades said. "I was excited to have an opportunity to play so much on Sunday Night Football with our season on the line and everybody watching."

Guess what, H.B? You have a chance at a repeat performance this week against the Vikings.

NOTES, QUOTES

  • Rookie safety LaRon Landry's taunting of Giants receiver Plaxico Burress drew his fourth personal-foul penalty of the season and praise from linebacker Marcus Washington.

    "I like that mean attitude," said Washington. "It kind of strikes a little fear in them when ‘Dirty 30' is back there."

  • Redskins rookie right tackle Stephon Heyer was starting his third career game. Giants left defensive end Michael Strahan was starting his 204th.

    "When I was a kid, I used to watch (Strahan) so it was crazy going against him, but I was up to the challenge," Heyer said. "It was definitely a big step in my career."

  • Think you can top Todd Collins' weekend? He started his first game in more than a decade on Sunday night and quarterbacked the Redskins to a critical NFC East victory over the New York Giants, two days after his wife, Andrea, gave birth to their second son, Jack.

    "Luckily I had some good preparation during the week," Collins said. "The baby was due Dec. 29, but I had a good week of preparation and I got some studying done on the airplane. A lot of good things have been happening and I'm thankful for all of them."

  • RB Clinton Portis' 126 rushing yards against the Giants put him over 1,000 yards for the fifth time in his five full NFL seasons.

  • DE Andre Carter had two sacks against the Giants, giving him 10 1/2, the most by a Redskin since LB LaVar Arrington had 11 in 2002.

  • OT Stephon Heyer, a rookie free agent in his third start, held Giants DE Michael Strahan (nine sacks) sackless.

  • OT Chris Samuels held Giants DE Osi Umenyiora (second in the NFC with 12 sacks) without a sack or a tackle.


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