ASHBURN — The Washington Football Team ruled out safety Landon Collins (foot), guard Wes Schweitzer (ankle) and running back J.D. McKissic (concussion) ahead of Sunday’s game against the Las Vegas Raiders on Friday because of injuries.
All three had not practiced this week after getting hurt in Monday’s win over the Seattle Seahawks. Their absences are a blow to a surging Washington team, which has rattled off three straight and is back in the playoff race.
Collins, in particular, had been playing well in recent weeks. After being moved to a hybrid linebacker-safety role, the three-time Pro Bowler started regularly making an impact for the team — and Washington‘s defense found a groove with its three safety package in Collins, Kam Curl and Bobby McCain.
Coach Ron Rivera said the team would fill Collins’ role with a variety of players, though did not specify. Asked if he had any more information about the severity of Collins’ injury, Rivera said he did not.
McKissic took a hard hit in Monday’s win over the Seahawks and did not finish the game. The team announced he was in concussion protocol after Wednesday’s practice. McKissic has been an important piece for Washington the last two seasons as he serves as the team’s primary receiving back and a complement to starter Antonio Gibson.
With McKissic out, practice squad running back Wendell Smallwood could be in line to take McKissic’s place. While the team has undrafted running back Jaret Patterson already on the 53-man roster, Rivera said Smallwood can fill a lot of the McKissic’ duties.
“I think the guy that’s going to be able to step up and help us as well will be Wendell,” Rivera said. “I think his skill set is similar in a lot of respects to what J.D. does well.”
This is Smallwood’s second stint with Washington. The six-year back spent the 2019 season with the Burgundy and Gold, appearing in 15 games. He ran for 81 yards on 22 carries and caught nine passes for 64 yards. Smallwood, 27, has also spent time with the Philadelphia Eagles and the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Schweitzer, who started at center last game, will be replaced by either Keith Ismael or Tyler Larsen, the latter of whom is questionable with a knee injury. Schweitzer has spent the majority of the season at guard, though filled in at center after Larsen went down during the team’s win last month in Carolina.
Larsen is one of four players questionable — joining guard Ereck Flowers (foot), wide receiver Curtis Samuel (groin) and tight end Ricky Seals-Jones (hip).
Rivera said he had a “pretty good” feeling that Flowers would be able to play through the foot injury.