Football Team

Injuries to WFT's mainstays means chances for these backups

Football Team

The Washington Football Team's Week 4 victory over the Atlanta Falcons came at a price.

Just one day later, head coach Ron Rivera told reporters that cornerback Torry McTyer will be out for the season with a torn ACL, while starting linebacker Jon Bostic will "probably" miss the remainder of the year as well with a pectoral injury.

Since arriving in 2019, Bostic has started 35 of a possible 36 games for Washington and led the team in tackles last season. Rivera is looking at a trio of guys -- Jamin Davis, Khaleke Hudson and David Mayo -- as potential options to replace Bostic.

"Jamin is going to get a little more opportunities, obviously," Rivera said. "We'll take a look at our other linebackers. Khaleke should get more of an opportunity as well to add on and play some. David Mayo may get some more opportunities as well. We'll see how we figure those things out as we progress into this week."

With Bostic out, Rivera was asked if he'd consider looking for outside help. The head coach didn't shut down the idea, saying he and his staff will consider all options, not just at linebacker but at every position Washington is currently depleted at.

"We're going to look at our options. Not just [at linebacker] but at several other positions," Rivera said. 

On the offensive side of the ball, both star guard Brandon Scherff and tight end Logan Thomas left Sunday's game with injuries. Rivera did not give a timetable for either player, citing the need to speak with the team doctors, but it sounded as if the head coach is preparing to be without the two players for at least next week.

 

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that Scherff will likely miss 2-3 weeks with a strained MCL, while Thomas' hamstring ailment will be week-to-week.

With Thomas' status up in the air for the foreseeable future, Rivera will lean on all three of Washington's other tight ends to fill the void. That starts with Ricky Seals-Jones, who played 62 offensive snaps (93%) for the Burgundy and Gold against Atlanta.

Asked about Seals-Jones on Monday, Rivera praised the 26-year-old and said he's excited to see more of him moving forward.

"We've seen some tremendous growth, we really have, from Ricky, in terms of his development as a tight end, as a complete tight end," Rivera said. "He does a great job with his routes. He's learning to run those even better. He's got good hands. He's a pretty sure catcher. His blocking has come a long way. We're excited to see even more of him."

Thomas' injury also paved the way for rookie John Bates to play more offensive snaps, as he was on the field for 16 of them Sunday against the Falcons. Rivera was impressed with how the rookie handled his expanded role.

"I thought John Bates, it really didn't seem too big for him," Rivera said. "He really seemed to handle it well as a young player and showed some promising things."

Bates, who also plays on special teams, earned significant praise from his head coach for the block he made on DeAndre Carter's kick return touchdown, one that opened up the hole for No. 1 to take the kick the distance.

Washington's No. 4 tight end, Sammis Reyes, will be active against New Orleans for his NFL debut, Rivera said on Sunday. The Chilean-born tight end has impressed his head coach in practice, a sign that Rivera believes shows him his tight end will be ready for the opportunity come Sunday.

"He's got the body for it. He also has the mindset. When you watch him and see him the way he prepares, the way he studies, the way he gets himself ready to do things, he's done it the right way," Rivera said. "He's done a nice job. He gives you great looks in practice. He doesn't back down from anybody, either. It's going to be interesting to watch and see how he does."

While potentially replacing Thomas will require expanded efforts from the rest of Washington's tight end room, filling Scherff's void is the responsibility of one lone player: Wes Schweitzer. The 28-year-old started 13 games for Washington in 2020 and "did some really good things" for the club, Rivera said.

"He's a very powerful, stout guy who does a heck of a job," Rivera said. "He's always prepared, always ready to roll. I think we'll be fine, I really do. I've got a lot of confidence in Wes. Going forward, whenever Brandon's ready to roll, we'll go from there. But in the meantime, we're going to give Wes every bit of support we can to help him out as he prepares and gets ready to play football."

 

While Schweitzer will be the team's starter at right guard until Scherff returns, Rivera did say that second-year pro Saahdiq Charles will be active next week for the first time this season. Charles played just two snaps last season.

"He'll get himself ready to play and help out in any capacity that we need him," Rivera said.

"Next man up" is a phrase constantly used in the NFL. Washington will have to take that cliche to heart Sunday when New Orleans comes to town.