Monday, October 7, 2013

The Unfair Criticism of Brian Orakpo


So far in four games outside linebacker for the Washington Redskins Brian Orakpo has three sacks in four games and most of the Redskins’ fan base seems to be unsatisfied with his play. I, a die-hard fan of the Redskins, don’t understand the disdain which fans have for Orakpo. He is on pace to get over 10 sacks yet when you listen to DC radio stations covering the Washington Redskins you hear fans complain that he needs to step up. 

Why does Orakpo need to step up? We are talking about a two time pro-bowler. A player who has had a 11 sack season and averages about 10 sacks when he plays a full 16 game season. I say to my fellow Redskin fans…. Where is the love??? 

I have a couple of ideas where the hate or perception of bad play comes from. The first thought I had were his injuries. The last two season Orakpo played a total of six games. He had four sacks within those six games. I’m thinking fans have amnesia. When you don’t see a pro bowl player for awhile you forget how effective that player was or is. So let me remind the people who this guy is. He’s a dude who is limited with pass rushing moves but is a combination of speed and strength as a passer rusher. Orakpo went against double teams and still put up productive sack seasons. Now with an improved Redskins’ defensive front seven it should be even easier for Orakpo, especially with Ryan Kerrigan on the other side. 

Kerrigan is another reason why Redskins’ fans have forgotten the positive play of Orakpo in the past. Kerrigan has made impactful plays within the past two seasons. Last season, Kerrigan made his first pro bowl. Please understand this; I am a big Kerrigan fan. I also believe, at the moment, that Kerrigan is the best player on our defense. However, Kerrigan hasn’t had a 10 sack season and also struggled at times putting constant pressure on quarterbacks when double teamed. Is Kerrigan a better pass rusher than Orakpo? I truly don’t know yet but as a playmaker, yes, Kerrigan is the man. My point is just because Kerrigan made plays doesn’t mean that Orakpo is not valuable. Kerrigan right now has five sacks. He is on pace to have his best season. Why you ask? Maybe it’s because he has a bad man on the other side named Orakpo. 

We know Orakpo is bad in space playing the pass. But what great pass rusher really is? Clay Matthews and Demarcus Ware, both 3-4 outside linebackers (Ware is in the 4-3 now), aren’t good in coverage. The difference is that their defensive coordinators don’t ask them to check tight ends or wide receivers in man or zone coverage. I hate hearing that excuse from fans. They need to let that one go. A legit criticism, in my opinion, is he’s not good within containment. Lesean McCoy, in the first game of the first game of the season, made Orakpo look bad. In fairness he made a lot of Redskins players look bad but Orakpo looked bad because he didn’t stay in his lane. By not staying in this lane, McCoy was able to find openings on the backside of the defense where Orakpo was suppose to be. Orakpo is prone to do that, which I admit. However let’s not use the overrated term with Orakpo because he is a 10 sack guy which is valuable on any team in the NFL. Orakpo still has a chance to become a pro bowler. I just need for fans not to hold Orakpo to Lawrence Taylor or Reggie White standards because he’s not them. He is Brian Orakpo a pro bowl caliber player.