Washington brings back familiar defensive face amid COVID-19 breakout
By Jerry Trotta
It’s tough times for the Washington Football Team right now.
We’re not even referencing the loss to the Dallas Cowboys. I mean, sure, a win would certainly help fans feel better about the current state of the club, but it’s starting to feel like injuries and COVID are going to derail the season.
Though Washington is far from the only team that’s been rocked by the recent spike in positive cases around the league — 75 tested positive between Monday and Tuesday — they’re one of the few that’s in enhanced protocols.
Washington’s defense, in particular, has been absolutely ravaged.
As of this writing, the likes of Jonathan Allen, Kendall Fuller, Montez Sweat, Tim Settle, James Smith-Williams, William Bradley-King, Khaleke Hudson, Temarrick Hemingway, David Mayo and Casey Toohill are all on the COVID list.
Long story short, Washington is in desperate need of reinforcements before Sunday’s game in Philadelphia.
While more moves can be expected in the near future, the team brought back a familiar face in defensive end Nate Orchard.
The Washington Football Team signed Nate Orchard to the active roster.
The fact Washington signed Orchard off the Packers’ practice squad and right to the 53-man roster proves just how short-handed the defense really is. He’ll only get a few days of practice to prepare for the Eagles’ run-heavy offense, but you have to think the seven-year vet will see the field this weekend.
Having spent parts of the 2019 and 2020 seasons with Washington, he should be somewhat familiar with Jack Del Rio’s (who was hired as defensive coordinator before 2020) system and what he expects from his DEs.
Ironically enough, Orchard’s best game for Washington came in a 2019 victory over the…Ron Rivera-led Carolina Panthers when he notched a sack and recovered a fumble in what proved to be Rivera’s last game in Charlotte.
Funny how things come full circle, right?
Orchard hasn’t quite lived up to his billing as a former second-round pick. In fact, outside of his rookie year in 2015, when he recorded 36 tackles (four for loss), three sacks, four pass breakups, four QB hits and a forced fumble in 11 starts, he’s appeared in just 35 games, making two starts, both with Cleveland.
While Orchard’s consistency leaves a lot to be desired, Washington didn’t sign him to be an impact player. At this point in his career, he’s a solid practice squad stash and emergency fill-in capable of making the occasional splash play.
It’s unclear how much Orchard will be used against Philadelphia, but with the WFT likely to be down their top four defensive ends based on the Week 1 depth chart, they’ll need the 28-year-old to be on the top of his game.