Both DeSean Jackson and Duke Ihenacho suffered injuries during the season opener against the Miami Dolphins and will miss at the very least the next few weeks.
The Washington Redskins will be without a key starter on each side of the ball in the coming weeks, as head coach Jay Gruden announced on Monday that wide receiver DeSean Jackson and safety Duke Ihenacho will each miss extended time with injuries.
Jackson – who suffered a hamstring injury in the first quarter of Sunday's game against the Dolphins – could be out three to four weeks depending on his recovery.
"Possibly could be shorter, but you never know with hamstrings," Gruden said at his Monday afternoon press conference. "I don't know if it had a lot to do with him missing the preseason, it could very well have. But we don't know that. He just went for a deep ball and pulled it."
Losing the three-time Pro Bowler affected the Redskins' offensive plan against the Dolphins, as Gruden admitted that there were "seven or eight more" plays built in for him.
"Any time you lose a guy of his caliber, he's one of our stars, you hate to lose a star," Gruden saod. "And especially with his speed. We feel good about the receivers that take his place. But nobody can substitute him for that burning speed that gets down field and scares safeties and corners to death. It backs people up."
Even if the ball isn't going his way, teams "play a little tighter coverage" when they see No. 11 on the outside.
"Safeties [are] going to creep up a little bit, and it's a big loss for us, he's a great player no questions about it," Gruden said. "But now we're going to have to ask [Rashad] Ross to come in here and play and Ryan Grant's got to step up, and Andre [Roberts] and [Jamison] Crowder."
Ross made the active roster after a superb preseason, leading all NFL receivers in receptions, yards and touchdowns, but was inactive on Sunday, while Grant saw more action than he did during his rookie season and Crowder, a fourth-round draft pick, made his debut.
Check out images of veteran safety Duke Ihenacho during the 2015 offseason.
Ihenacho, meanwhile, suffered a fracture and dislocation in his wrist that will require surgery.
Gruden does not yet know of a timetable for his return or whether or not the team will place him on short-term Injured Reserve, but he does understand the impact it has on the secondary.
Ihenacho was primarily a special teamer last season after being claimed off waivers the week before the season opener, but was lost for the season Week 3 with a foot injury.
He returned healthy and hungry during the offseason, taking full control of first-team strong safety duties.
Playing in his place in Sunday's game was Trenton Robinson, but Gruden believes several different players can fill in for the San Jose State product while he's gone.
"Trenton came in and played fairly well," Gruden said. "Obviously we have Jeron [Johnson] who is a veteran guy, was a backup with Seattle and has got some playing time here. He missed a lot of camp with his hamstring issues, too. But we're okay there and obviously Kyshoen [Jarrett] moved around and played some free and strong and nickel. We have three other guys in place there that are capable to step up and play and one of them will. Looks like it could be Trenton, could be Kyshoen, could be Jeron. All four of them will play, including obviously [Dashon] Goldson."