From Comcast SportsNetASHBURN, Va. (AP) -- The early glow from Robert Griffin III's fast start faded quickly for the Washington Redskins on Monday when defensive starters Brian Orakpo and Adam Carriker were declared out for the season.Two-time Pro Bowl linebacker Orakpo tore the pectoral muscle near his left shoulder, and defensive end Carriker tore the quad tendon in his right knee in the first quarter of Sunday's 31-28 loss to the St. Louis Rams.The injuries rob two players from a team that has allowed 63 points and more than 800 yards in its first two games, tempering the early promise by Redskins (1-1) have shown with rookie quarterback Griffin."It's an opportunity for somebody else now," linebacker London Fletcher said. "We're a no-excuse football team."Orakpo had surgery on the same shoulder after a suffering tear in the final game of last season, then damaged some scar tissue in the shoulder during a preseason game last month.Coach Mike Shanahan said the latest tear is in a different part of the muscle. Orakpo will have surgery and require four months of recovery time.Orakpo, a first-round draft pick in 2009, had at least 8 sacks in each of his first three NFL seasons. He was injured Sunday while making his first -- and only -- sack of this season. He returned to the game twice but was unable to keep playing."He's obviously everything you look for in a Pro Bowl player," Shanahan said. "And we'll miss him."Shanahan said Rob Jackson and Chris Wilson, a pair of career backups without an NFL start between them, will compete to take Orakpo's outside linebacker spot.Carriker was hurt on the Rams' second offensive play and did not return. The fifth-year veteran, who had 5 sacks a year ago, will require five months of rehabilitation after his surgery.He will be replaced by Jarvis Jenkins, a 2011 second-round pick who missed his entire rookie season with a knee injury."A real big opportunity," Jenkins said. "Coming off the knee injury, I get a chance to prove I'm a hard worker and just make plays."Two other defensive starters also are nursing injuries. Cornerback Josh Wilson left Sunday's game with a concussion and will be reevaluated Wednesday, and safety Brandon Meriweather hopes to play this week against the Cincinnati Bengals after missing the first two games with sprained ligaments in his left knee.
Programming note – Sharks-Avalanche coverage starts today at 7:00 on CSN California with Sharks Pregame Live
WHERE THEY STAND
Sharks: 28-16-2, 58 points, 2nd Pacific Division
Avalanche: 13-29-1, 27 points, 7th Central Division
PREGAME NEWS AND NOTES
***Not only are the Avalanche buried in last place in the Central Division, but they are just 2-14-0 in their last 16 games, including losses in their last four. Colorado has not won a game in regulation since Dec. 11 in Toronto, getting just a pair of overtime wins since then.
The Sharks visit Pepsi Center on Monday for the second of a back-to-back. It should be four points in the bank, but, predictably that's not the approach they’re taking.
“You don’t look at where they’re at in the standings,” Logan Couture said. “They’ve got some very good players, some top end skill up front. So, we know it’s going to be a tough game. They can create a lot off the rush, those guys. It’s going to be a challenge.”
The Sharks have won three straight, and are 5-2-0 in their last seven.
Pete DeBoer said: “For me, this more of a mindset game. We've been playing some very solid hockey the last few games against some tough opponents, and we have to bring that mindset in here again tonight."
***In goal, Martin Jones will return after it was Aaron Dell in net for Thursday’s win over Tampa Bay.
The Sharks netminder has struggled after taking a game off, going 1-5-0 with a 2.85 goals-against average and .890 save percentage in six games. Last season, he was just 5-10-1 with a 2.54 GAA and .899 SP the game after not starting.
Colorado will go with Spencer Martin, who will be making his NHL debut. A third round pick in 2013, Martin is 15-9-2 with a 2.62 GAA and .915 SP in 27 games for San Antonio (AHL).
“Obviously, we don't want to make it easy on him,” DeBoer said. “We want to fire pucks and get traffic and get lots of action around the net, but we're not spending a whole lot of time on that.”
***The Sharks will ice their same lineup from Thursday, other than the goaltender change. Timo Meier remains out with an upper body injury.
KEEP AN EYE ON...
Sharks: Ryan Carpenter. The 26-year-old center opened the scoring in the Sharks’ win over Tampa Bay on Thursday, and is making his case to stay on roster at least while Tomas Hertl remains out. Carpenter, who has two goals, eight shots, and a plus-three rating in five games this season, will play in his third straight game tonight after getting recalled early in the week.
Avalanche: Matt Nieto. After he was pushed out of the Sharks’ lineup, Matt Nieto was waived by San Jose and promptly claimed by Colorado on Jan. 5. Wearing his familiar uniform number 83, Nieto scored his first goal with the Avalanche on Tuesday against Chicago, and has two points and eight shots on goal in five games with his new team.
Patrick Marleau – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Joonas Donskoi – Logan Couture – Mikkel Boedker
Kevin Labanc – Chris Tierney – Joel Ward
Melker Karlsson – Ryan Carpenter – Tommy Wingels
Paul Martin – Brent Burns
Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun
Brenden Dillon – David Schlemko
Martin Jones (starter)
Mikko Rantanen – Nathan Mackinnon – Rene Bourque
Gabriel Landeskog – Matt Duchene – Matt Nieto
Blake Comeau – Carl Soderberg – Jarome Iginla
Joe Colborne – John Mitchell – Mikhail Grigorekno
Fedor Tyutin – Tyson Barrie
Cody Goloubef – Nikita Zadorov
Francois Beauchemin – Eric Gelinas
Spencer Martin (starter)
Sharks: Timo Meier (upper body), Micheal Haley (lower body), Dylan DeMelo (broken wrist) and Tomas Hertl (right knee sprain) are out.
Avalanche: Semyon Varlamov (groin) and Erik Johnson (broken fibula) are out.
“It’s a bittersweet moment. Selfishly, you’re upset that you’re not going to be on the same team as him anymore and you’re not going to see him every day, but the other part of you is happy for him because he’s going to get an opportunity somewhere.”– Logan Couture, on Matt Nieto getting claimed by Avalanche earlier this month
The 49ers were willing to be patient in securing their next head coach.
Depending on the outcome of the Atlanta Falcons’ game Sunday against the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship game, they could be required to wait another two weeks.
The other five organizations with vacancies after the regular season have filled their head-coach positions with four assistants from teams that did not qualify for the playoffs and former Miami Dolphins defensive coordinator Vance Joseph, whom the Denver Broncos hired after his team was bounced in the AFC wild-card round.
Early in the 49ers’ search to replace Chip Kelly, the top targets appeared to be Josh McDaniels and Kyle Shanahan, the offensive coordinators for two of the top-three scoring teams in the NFL.
The coach-general manager team of McDaniels and New England Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio was the runaway favorite to be the package deal, according to sources close to the 49ers’ coaching search.
But when Caserio chose to remain as Bill Belichick’s top personnel lieutenant – just has he has in the past when other opportunities presented themselves – the job became less attractive to McDaniels, according to those sources. McDaniels announced on Monday he would remain with the Patriots for at least another year.
With McDaniels out of the picture, Shanahan became the clear favorite over Seattle assistant Tom Cable. And once Cable publicly stepped aside due to suspicions he was only being used to secure a commitment from Shanahan, only one candidate remained for the job.
Since the middle of this week, Shanahan has been the presumptive coach of the 49ers. Falcons coach Dan Quinn was the Seahawks’ defensive coordinator two years ago when he was officially hired just hours after the Super Bowl. He knows he drill. And this week he announced to the Falcons staff that Shanahan would be the next coach of the 49ers, according to the NFL Network.
Regardless of the outcome of Sunday’s game, the 49ers will be allowed to interview Shanahan next week – most likely, Tuesday in Atlanta. Shanahan will be involved in the process to hire the next general manager. Minnesota assistant general manager George Paton appears to be the favorite. The 49ers expect the general manager position to be filled early in the week.
If the Falcons lose, the 49ers would be able to hire Shanahan on their own time frame. It would not be expected to take long.
But if the Falcons win, the 49ers would have to wait until after Feb. 5, when the Super Bowl will be played in Houston, to hire Shanahan.
There is an advantage of being forced to wait. In the long term, the 49ers could benefit from their next head coach gaining the experience of a Super Bowl week and calling a game on the biggest stage in all of sports.