ASHBURN, Virginia -- The Washington Redskins did not need to see this sight: starting running back Samaje Perine heading to the sidelines after a drill in which he tweaked his groin. He sat out the rest of practice.
Considering the number of injuries suffered by the Redskins this season, they can’t afford many more player losses. Fortunately for Perine and the Redskins, coach Jay Gruden said “it was a minor thing based on what I’m hearing. He still had good flexibility and movement.”
The Redskins held him out just to be safe. But if for some reason Perine can’t play against Denver on Sunday, or tweaks it again during the game, the Redskins would be down to two running backs: Kapri Bibbs and LeShun Daniels. They have played a combined 16 games in the NFL (12 by Bibbs). Bibbs spent parts of three seasons with Denver, playing 12 games for the Broncos last season. He was signed to the Redskins’ active roster last week and scored on a 36-yard screen pass.
But, still, losing Perine would further limit what was a good offense only several weeks ago. Now, however, the Redskins are without their best pass-catcher (tight end Jordan Reed), their best offensive lineman (left tackle Trent Williams) and their most explosive running back (Chris Thompson). Williams said it would take an “emergency situation” to play in the final two games.
That will make it difficult when facing the NFL’s top-ranked defense in yards allowed per game. Even if Perine can play, it’ll be difficult. The Redskins’ offensive line will include two players who opened the season as reserves (tackle Ty Nsekhe and center Chase Roullier) and a third signed off Buffalo’s practice squad (guard Arie Kouandjio).
In the first five games, before the injuries started to hit hard, the Redskins owned the sixth-ranked offense. As of Week 11, they were ninth. But now they’re 18th overall.
Losing Williams, Thompson and Reed is catching up to Washington. It has forced the Redskins to play -- and therefore learn more about -- some backups. Perhaps in the future that will help; it’s not doing that now.
“Those three players are dominant players and hard to replace,” Redskins coach Jay Gruden said. “It’s made other people step up. It’s made us coaches adjust our game plan a little bit so it’s made us better depth-wise, but those three guys are pretty tough to replace.”