If the NFL turns to replacement referees this fall, its possible Brian Orakpo will be affected more than most players on the Redskins roster.The league locked out 121 officials in June 3 when negotiations on a new labor contract broke down. The league has since begun the process of hiring replacement officials to work preseason games and, if necessary, regular season contests.Obviously its a messed up situation that they cant get something done, Orakpo said this week at his second annual youth football camp in Fairfax. Hopefully, theyll get something done before the start of the season.But if not, the two time Pro Bowl selection continued, we got to play ball.Orakpo is one of the leagues most feared pass rushers, having racked up 28.5 sacks in his first three seasons. He also draws more holding flags than most.Replacement referees, according to an article in Wednesdays Los Angeles Times, are more prone to missing infractions, such as holding, meaning its possible Orakpo could be subjected to more bear hugs, take downs and clotheslines than before.From The Times:According to referee Ed Hochuli, when replacement officials worked games in 2001, they threw between one and five penalty flags per game. He said there were between 12 and 14 penalties called in a typical game last season.With training camp set to open Thursday, and the Redskins first preseason game a mere three weeks away, Orakpos concern over the impasse is growing. But he also said he wont allow the prospect of replacement referees alter the way he plays.It doesnt change the way I will approach the game at all, he said. Im going to treat them like theyre a regular ref. Fans didnt come to see referees, so we just got to go out there and play ball.The impasse between the league and referees is over pay and benefits.
Kendall Fuller could be held out until training camp later this summer as he recovers from a knee injury that cut short his junior season, Jay Gruden said.
The Redskins selected the Virginia Tech cornerback in the third round (84th overall) on Friday night.
“We feel good about his progression from his injury,” Gruden said at Redskins Park. “We think he’s going to miss rookie minicamp [next month], but there’s a chance he could be back for the OTAs [in late May]."
Gruden added: “Worst-case scenario, we think he’ll be back for training camp [in late July].”
Fuller suffered a torn meniscus in his right knee last preseason. He attempted to play through the injury for three games before opting for surgery. As it turned out, though, he injury required a season-ending microfracture procedure.
The operation was performed by famed orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews, who is also a senior medical consultant to the Redskins.
Asked if the relationship with Andrews helped the team make its decision on Fuller, Gruden downplayed the connection.
“I think every team has that information on the kid, and we felt good about his recovery,” Gruden said. “We really do. We know he’s a hard worker. We know where he is in his rehab. We’ll get him down here and help him along the way. But he’s a hard worker and he’s going to get himself ready to go.”
Gruden added: “He was too talented of a player to pass up. He can play nickel, obviously, which is a big hope for him. He can play outside. He’s got great natural football instincts at the nickel or corner position. Obviously you got great bloodlines, and I think it’s a great pick."
After the Redskins signed Josh Norman, Scot McCloughan told everyone that he would not hesitate to draft another cornerback this week.
Nobody really believed him. But he made believers out of everybody in the third round tonight when he took Virginia Tech cornerback Kendall Fuller.
He immediately jumps into a cornerback depth chart that has gone from shaky to strong in the last week. Norman and Bashaud Breeland will be the starters. Fuller could come in for nickel situations. Chris Culliver is still on the mend from a knee injury he suffered last November and his status for training cap is very much up in the air. Second-year player Quinton Dunbar will work
Spinning it forward to 2017, Fuller should be able to fit in with Breeland and Norman to form a formidable starting group of cornerbacks.
Many had Fuller rated as a first-round talent before he suffered a knee injury last season. Even after that, some thought he might be talented enough to be worth a late second- or early third-round pick. Fuller is a solid value as a late third-round pick.
Scot McCloughan continued to bolster the Redskins' secondary late Friday, selecting cornerback Kendall Fuller out of Virginia Tech in the third round.
Fuller, who is listed at 5 foot 11, 187-pounds, recorded eight interceptions for the Hokies during his first two seasons in Blacksburg, Va. A knee injury, however, cut short his 2015 season, limiting him to three games as junior.
He'll become the fourth Fuller brother to play in the NFL, joining Corey, Kyle and Vincent. He's also joins fellow Hokies DeAngelo Hall and Kyshoen Jarrett in Washington's secondary.
More important, though, Fuller becomes the second significant addition to the Redskins' remodeled defensive backfield, joining All-Pro corner Josh Norman, who was signed to a five-year, $75 million contract a week ago today.
Before attending Virginia Tech, Fuller also played at Good Counsel High in Olney, Md.