Orakpo: "We still have fight in us"
In five seasons with the Washington Redskins, Brian Orakpo has been lots of things. At times, Orakpo has been the dominant pass rushing force the team expected when he was drafted No. 13 overall in the 2009 draft. At other times, Orakpo has vanished, not registering sacks and looking lost in pass coverage.
With his rookie contract coming to an end, Orakpo presents a unique challenge for the Washington defense. When healthy 'Rak creates pressure in the backfield, but he has not always been healthy, missing most of last season with a pectoral injury. His best season came as a rookie, when he registered 11 sacks. But in the subsequent years, Orakpo did not break double digits with his sack totals, and was noticeably absent in divisional games.
Now fully healthy, Orakpo looks to be on the verge of a new career high in sacks. In a loss against the Giants, he brought down Eli Manning twice, giving Orakpo 5.5 sacks in his last four games. But the sack totals don't matter to 'Rak.
"I don’t really care about my numbers. It’s all about wins and losses with me," Orakpo said. "I don’t care about what type of game I had. It didn’t help us to win the game."
Regardless, the numbers place Orakpo among the sack leaders in the NFL. With 8.5 sacks this season, Orakpo ranks tied for 15th in the league, but his recent success getting to the quarterback could suggest a late season sack run. The Redskins have little to play for at 3-9, eliminated from playoff contention, but Orakpo said that won't impact his game.
"It’s not going to be a winning season for us, but we have four games to show that we’re not going to lie down for anyone," he said. "Hopefully, we can ruin other teams’ playoff chances. That’s our motivation right now."
Orakpo is unlikely to discuss his contract scenario, but an impressive season would provide leverage going into the offseason.