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.
As the Redskins settle into the offseason without both an offensive and defensive coordinator, JP Finlay and Rich Tandler debate who will get the jobs, and when they will be announced.
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The Redskins have interviewed some high-profile candidates for their open defensive coordinator position. When it was reported that they will meet with former Raiders defensive coordinator Jason Tarver, the reaction among the fans was, “Who?”
Let’s take a look at what Tarver’s qualifications are to get the job of running the Redskins’ defense.
Before becoming a coordinator: At the age of 22, Tarver took a coaching job at West Valley College in California, and did that while earning his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Santa Clara. After that he was a graduate assistant at UCLA for three years before getting into the NFL in 2001, when the 49ers hired him as a quality control coach. Tarver worked his way up to outside linebackers coach in 2005 and did that job until 2010, when he was let go went Mike Singletary was fired as the head coach. After a year as the defensive coordinator at Stanford, Dennis Allen hired Tarver to run the Raiders defense in 2012.
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Note: If you want more complete stats on Tarver’s defenses check out his page on Pro Football Reference. DVOA stats via Football Outsiders. A negative DVOA percentage is better than a positive number. Zero is average.
For players, * designates Pro Bowl selection, + designates first-team All-Pro
2012 Raiders (4-12)
Rankings: Yards 5,672 (18th), points 443 (28th), takeaways 19 (26th), 3rd down 39.1% (20th), DVOA 12.5% 29th
Notable players: DT Richard Seymour, DE Lamarr Houston
It should be noted that Allen had a defensive background so he had a hand in these numbers. This team just wasn’t very good as indicated by the fact that Seymour, at age 33, was one of their best defensive players.
2013 Raiders (4-12)
Rankings: Yards 5,918 (22nd), points 453 (29th), takeaways 22 (21st), 3rd down 43.1% (28th), DVOA 10.3% (26th)
Notable players: S Charles Woodson
They did make an effort to shore up the defense by bringing back Woodson and drafting cornerback D.J. Hayden in the first round. But Hayden only played in eight games and Woodson could only contribute so much at age 37. The pass defense struggled, ranking 29th in DVOA.
2014 Raiders (3-13)
Rankings: 5,721 (21st), points 452 (32nd), takeaways 14 (30th), 3rd down 38.5% (14th), DVOA 6.3% (26th)
Notable players: LB Khalil Mack, S Woodson
Allen was fired after an 0-4 start and Tony Sparano took over as interim head coach the rest of the way. Sparano has an offensive background so perhaps Tarver is more fully accountable for these results than those in other seasons. They did draft Mack with the fifth overall pick but his impact as a rookie was limited as recorded four sacks. Hayden again missed half of the season and, again, the defense was near the bottom of the NFL.