Redskins linebacker Brian Orakpo confirmed Monday afternoon that the X-ray and MRI exam on his shoulder revealed no significant damage.Coach Mike Shanahan, though, said he does not anticipate Orakpo suiting up again during the preseason as a precaution.I feel better today, Orakpo said. We got some good news, so Im very optimistic about it. It wasnt as serious as I thought and I should be ready to roll.Orakpo was injured in the first quarter of Saturdays 33-31 loss in Chicago as he attempted to arm tackle Bears wide receiver Devin Hester.As he lay on the field, Orakpo feared the worst. The sharp pain he felt was in the same pectoral muscle that he tore in the season finale last season.I worked this hard trying to get back, and I actually felt it pop, Orakpo said. I thought it was done, to be honest with you. It felt very similar, thats why it took a long process to get off the field. Thats what scared me the most.Orakpo was examined Saturday night by renowned surgeon Dr. James Andrews, who happened to be on the sidelines. Andrews performed the original surgery.There was no tear, Shanahan said. They felt like it was a little scar tissue, but nothing that serious. So he should be okay. Everyone is relieved.
So what happens in the front office when a player like Alex Smith is injured in the middle of a game? Former Washington Redskins general manager Charley Casserly spoke to NBC Sports Washington about what happened in his experience when a player was injured.
Every Friday, I would have a meeting. I would go through scenarios for every position on our 53-man roster. If we lost any player, what was our scenario?
This isn’t done in a vacuum – every day, certainly in the offseason, your coaches are involved with personnel. Grading players. You’re talking to your head coach almost every day about players so you know how he thinks. Now, I was never with a head coach that wanted to discuss an emergency list on Friday so I had a pretty good idea of where his thinking was, where our scouts' thinking was going into the game.
I remember one time when we were in Houston. We lost a nose tackle in the first half and we had his replacement on the plane by the end of the game because it was that cut and dry. We knew who we would sign. And you’re in competition with 31 other teams so you can’t wait around.
Now, sometimes, it’s not cut and dry. You didn’t have a guy in training camp, or you didn’t have a guy who you had worked out earlier in the year.
We’d do that sometimes – we’d bring in guys to work out even though we didn’t need anybody. So we would have the workout done and we would just bring them in. We’d make sure they were still in shape, but we didn’t have to have a tryout of three or four people. So with the Redskins, I’m sure you’re sitting there, you have an emergency list and you go to the emergency list. You talk to the coach right after the game, in this case, and get the coach’s opinion. He may want to get their opinion. And then you’re on the phone and the potential replacement’s on the plane that night.
They’re operating on a short week, so they have to bring a guy in on Sunday and have him working out on Monday so you can sign him and put him right in the meeting room. Normally, you could do it on Tuesday for a Sunday game.
Someone from the operations staff picks them up from the airport in a regular car and nobody ever had an issue with that. You bring them in the right before. We give them a written schedule. We put him through a workout – we usually had our coaches work him out. Sometimes if the coaches weren’t available, it would be the scouts. Then he would meet with the position coach. They would at least see the head coach – if we signed him, of course, he’d meet the head coach.
We filmed the workouts, so we could take a look at him. We’d have scouts grade the workouts and write a report on him. The coaches would get a copy of the schedule, they get bios and scouting reports of the players coming in so they would know a bit about him when they met him.
There’s a simple reason why you work him out. These guys, they have to go right out and practice. We had guys that would come in on Tuesday that couldn’t get through a practice and you want them to go out in practice, so they’re not going to be any good to you – let alone play them in a game.
Most of the time we’d have him run a 40 and really the second 40, if it was far off his first, it would tell us something about his conditioning. We knew we wouldn’t get top performances because while they were out of camp, you’re not sure what kind of shape he was in. We knew they were all training, but the question is, how hard were they training?
So that’s the procedure. You talk to the agent, usually, there’s not much negotiating in the deal. Who called them varied – oftentimes it was who knew the agent the best. Or it could be the contract negotiator. Or sometimes, when I was the general manager, it could be me.
You sign them to a one-year contract.
It’s usually cut-and-dry because they want to play and many times you don’t have extra money to fool with and they understand that.
When you bring in a lot of guys to try out, it tells you that it's a true tryout. If you're bringing in two guys, you may bring in two just to bring one in. You may bring in two because you want to be covered in case the one you think you're going with doesn't work out.
So when you bring in multiple guys (like the Redskins did), it tells you it's true tryout.
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After the injury to Alex Smith, the Redskins shifted Colt McCoy to the top of their quarterback depth chart. A fan favorite that put out a good showing in relief against Houston, McCoy knows head coach Jay Gruden's offense inside and out.
Still, it's been a long time since McCoy got significant playing time. In fact, it's been a long time since McCoy got any playing time.
Kirk Cousins took every single snap of the 2016 and 2017 seasons. Every single one. In 2015, Cousins played the whole year, up until the second half of a Week 17 win in Dallas after the Redskins had already clinched their NFC East title.
So to get a decent sample size to set expectations for McCoy, travel all the way back to 2014. That season was a dumpster fire for Washington. It was Gruden's first year as head coach and he was trying to figure out what do with Robert Griffin III, Kirk Cousins and McCoy. After RG3 got hurt, Cousins got the call, but he eventually got benched in a Week 7 game at home against the Titans.
McCoy came in and led the Redskins to a 19-17 win. The Redskins trailed 10-6 at halftime, but on just the second snap of the second half, McCoy connected with Pierre Garçon for a 70-yard touchdown.
He started the next four games for Washington before hurting his neck against the Giants and RG3 returning to the starting role. McCoy hasn't started a game since that season, but the numbers are worth digging into.
In four starts in 2014, McCoy averaged a little more than 250 yards passing to go with four TDs against three INTs. He completed 71 percent of his passes while averaging more than 8.3 yards-per-attempt.
Washington went 1-3 in McCoy's four starts that year, but remember two things: He brought the Redskins back for a win against the Titans in a game he didn't start, and he didn't finish the second half of his fourth start after injuring his neck.
Obviously the 2018 Redskins are quite different from the 2014 squad. This year, the 'Skins are in first place of the NFC East and have a real opportunity to host a playoff game, even after losing Smith to injury.
In 10 starts this season, Smith averaged about 218 yards passing-per-game and completed 62.5 percent of his throws. He threw 10 TDs against five INTs, and averaged 6.6 yards-per-attempt. Washington had a 6-4 record in Smith's 10 starts.
Compare Smith's numbers with McCoy from 2014, and it could be reasonable to believe the offense will move the football a bit more with Colt at QB. Of course, the teams are very different, and much of 2018, the Redskins have been a run-first offense.
The comparison isn't exact, and it shouldn't be viewed as such. Regardless, the numbers exist to provide a baseline for expectations.
The most memorable game of the 2014 season probably came when McCoy led the Redskins to an improbable win in Dallas on Monday Night Football. The Cowboys were 6-2 and Washington was on their third-string QB. Few thought the Redskins had a chance in that game, but McCoy delivered an accurate performance, completing 25 of 30 passes and a few key runs, and led his team to victory.
On Thursday, McCoy again gets a chance to lead the Redskins into JerryWorld on national television. Dallas has won two games in a row, and while Washington is a game ahead in the standings, oddsmakers have installed the Cowboys as 8-point favorites.
Looking at McCoy's 2014 numbers to Smith's 2018 numbers, the backup has a chance to outproduce the starter.
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