1. How will ROLB Brian Orakpo’s absence affect the defense? Not only did Orakpo lead the Redskins in sacks the last two seasons, he also developed into a formidable run stopper. Backups Rob Jackson and Chris Wilson aren’t as multi-dimensional. LOLB Ryan Kerrigan might receive more attention from blockers now.
2. Can the defensive line withstand DE Adam Carriker’s season-ending injury? Second-year end Jarvis Jenkins hasn’t played with the same explosiveness since tearing the ACL in his right knee last August. He played mostly passing situations against the Rams, while Kedric Golston played in base defense. Anchoring against the run is Jenkins’ and Golston’s greatest challenge.
3. Has the Redskins’ secondary solved its coverage problems? Rams QB Sam Bradford ripped them apart last week with quick, well-timed, well-placed throws. The Redskins tackled poorly and were victimized by a double move for the second straight week. Second-year QB Andy Dalton and WR A.J. Green present a challenge.
4. Will the offensive line protect Robert Griffin III better? Griffin was sacked only once last week, but he was disrupted in the pocket way too often because protection, particularly on the right side of the line, broke down. Bengals DE Carlos Dunlap is expected to return from a knee injury.
5. How much will Griffin run? Griffin has been contacted to the ground 26 times in two games. The Redskins want to limit his exposure to contact, but winning is a greater priority. If they need him to carry the ball — and so far they have — he will.