The defensive backfield was a weak spot for the Washington Redskins last year as they marched to an NFC East title, and the team spent three picks on the secondary in April's draft in an effort to bolster that deficiency.
Now, a serious injury will test that newfound depth.
As John Keim of ESPN reported, fourth-round pick Phillip Thomas, who started at strong safety for the Redskins in their preseason opener, will miss the entire 2013 season after suffering a Lisfranc injury during the game.
According to Keim, the initial X-rays were negative, but after meeting with Dr. Robert Anderson (the James Andrews of foot injuries), a second X-ray showed that the Lisfranc ligament in Thomas' left foot was torn.
Mark Maske of The Washington Post reported that the Redskins will place Thomas, who was an All-American at Fresno State as a senior, on injured reserve.
Thomas will be placed on the injured reserve list, according to Shanahan.— MarkMaske (@MarkMaske) August 13, 2013
On one hand, the injury, while unfortunate, isn't devastating, as Thomas wasn't expected to start as a rookie.
However, the 6'0", 208-pound Thomas, who had 88 tackles, eight interceptions, four sacks and four forced fumbles for the Bulldogs in 2012, has impressed in camp and would at the very least have provided some badly needed depth behind the oft-injured Brandon Meriweather and middling talent DeJon Gomes.
Thomas suffered a badly broken leg just before the beginning of the 2011 season, an injury that—at the time—cast doubt over whether he would ever play in the National Football League.
Thomas came back strong from that injury and went on to have a phenomenal senior season, and now the Redskins will have to hope that Thomas can once again return to top form after a devastating injury.
“You lose a guy [and] competition still goes on,” Shanahan said. “These guys are one play away from being the starter. We’ve got a lot of quality players out there.”
The truly unfortunate thing for the Redskins is that this injury happened on the part of the defense where they can least afford them.