Get Down with O.P.B (Orakpo for the Pro Bowl)

Ed SheahinCorrespondent INovember 21, 2009

LANDOVER, MD - NOVEMBER 15:  Brian Orakpo #98 of the Washington Redskins defends against the Denver Broncos at FedExField on November 15, 2009 in Landover, Maryland. The Redskins won 27-17. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)
Larry French/Getty Images

Many predicted a grand season from the 2009 Washington Redskins, myself included.  But, with great expectations comes greater dissapointment. 

Why wouldn’t a team that finished 8-8 the previous season improve with the roster additions made during the offseason?

When one touts and praises the potential fortunes of a football team, and ultimately miscalculates, it has a way of messing with your manhood. If there is one lesson to be learned this year, it is to never underestimate the importance of chemistry to the success of a football team.

As much as I was wrong about the Redskins success this season, or lack thereof, I was dead-on about the skills sets and ability rookie linebacker Brian Orakpo would provide for the team this season (Read my article “Washington Redskins Rookie Brian Orakpo is the Real Deal” published Aug. 18, 2009).

Nine games into his rookie season, Orakpo has done very little to disappoint Redskins fans.  With seven sacks, Orakpo not only leads all rookies in this category, he leads all NFL linebackers.  Not to mention, he is quietly closing in on Jevon Kearse’s rookie record of 14.5 set in 1999.

Although he is currently trailing Kearse’s pace, Orakpo has been—for lack of better words—“on the warpath” here of late.  He has registered at least half a sack in each of his last six games.

Orakpo has just scratched the surface of his potential.  Playing for an “old school” defensive coordinator in Greg Blache who loves to lean on veterans, he’d be the first to tell you he’s not a big fan of rookies.  

“I won’t speak to them (rookies) in training camp.  I can’t afford to get too attached.  They may be loading groceries at Wal-mart tomorrow,” Blache said this summer.

Little by little Blache is letting go of the Orakpo harness, and in return he is responding with a stellar rookie season.  As Orakpo continues to impress, it is important for Redskins fans to support and recognize his efforts.  Take the time to submit your NFL Pro Bowl ballot and let the world know about Washington’s newest prized jewel in linebacker Brian Orakpo.