Redskins outside linebacker Brian Orakpo sat out the last 14 games of the season last year after suffering a torn pectoral muscle in Week Two. He says those 14 games on the sideline made him a smarter player.
Orakpo said on NFL Network that he believes he was able to learn a lot by watching, rather than playing, and he thinks that will help him now that he’s healthy and ready to play again.
“Just watching, missing so many games, and having a different perspective of the game, I was able to actually learn what offenses are really doing instead of just running plays, instead of just getting after quarterbacks,” Orakpo said. “I could kind of sit down and go over what is going to happen beforehand. That is something I picked up a lot. The first day in OTAs that I was able to participate in, I am out there flying around, calling stuff out; it is starting to become natural for me now instead of just going out there being athletic and rushing the passer.”
Orakpo has previously said that he likes his chances of being Defensive Player of the Year this season, and he stood by that when asked on Wednesday.
“Absolutely,” Orakpo said. “You always have to set high goals for yourself. If you don’t strive for the best, there’s no point in playing this game.”
In addition to being a smarter player, Orakpo sounds like he’s a more confident player.