Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE
Remove RG3 from the equation for a second, as well as the fact that it's a rookie year for the Redskins' quarterback. Who would you least like to lose?
If I had any money whatsoever, I would bet that Brian Orakpo figures highly in those thoughts.
In his Redskins blog, Rich Tandler made reference to a question posed to defensive coordinator Jim Haslett last year. Haslett was asked what Orakpo needed to do to rise to the level marked “elite”.
Haslett’s response was matter-of-fact, and right on the money:
I think he's got to understand that no matter where he lines up, they're going to have two guys on him. Either they're going to chip him or they're going to have two guys on him because they’re going to slide to him. And that's kind of (the) way it's been and he gets frustrated.
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. He's not going to get around it and he's going to have to learn how to beat two guys.
What Jared Allen does particularly well is combine old-fashioned brute strength with a studious knowledge of modern pass-rushing techniques.
This ensures that he is never predictable, and can beat two players and battle through coverage to get to the quarterback—something that Orakpo certainly has the ability to emulate.
Now that Ryan Kerrigan is maturing, he and Orakpo should dominate games, and Orakpo should look to record double-digit sacks in 2012.
Orakpo should be entering the best years of his career, so any injury in 2012 would delay his ascent, affecting the ascent of the Redskins in the process.