With 28.5 sacks in his first three seasons, it is safe to say that the Redskins have been happy with what they’ve gotten from linebacker Brian Orakpo.
That doesn’t mean they don’t want more from him, however. Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett wants to see Orakpo wreak even more havoc on the quarterback than he did on that caveman while playing Scrabble. Haslett knows that offenses design ways to limit Orakpo, but he doesn’t think that’s an excuse.
“He’s got to learn, like the other great rushers in the league, the Jared Allens or the [Dwight] Freeneys, they’re always going to have two guys on them,” Haslett said, via Rich Tandler of CSNWashington.com. “He’s not going to get around it and he’s going to have to learn how to beat two guys.”
Orakpo is fully recovered from offseason shoulder surgery, so health shouldn’t be a factor in stopping him from taking another step forward in 2012. It would help if Ryan Kerrigan’s presence on the other side forces offenses to balance their blocking, but Kerrigan’s 7.5 sacks as a rookie didn’t do much to loosen things up for Orakpo.
That may continue to be the case in 2012, but Haslett’s message is clear. There aren’t any excuses for Orakpo jumping into the elite tier of edge pass rushers and leading the Washington defense.