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Is tagging Orakpo a better move than a long-term deal?

Is tagging Orakpo a better move than a long-term deal?

Some notable websites are weighing in who teams might/should tag as their franchise players and two of them agree that the Redskins are likely to designate Brian Orakpo in that category.

Our corporate cousins at Pro Football Talk don’t think that the situation requires much thought.
If anyone gets tagged, it’ll be linebacker Brian Orakpo, who rebounded from a lost 2012 season with 10 sacks and a third career Pro Bowl berth.  If the team can’t sign him to a long-term deal, the tag should be a no-brainer.
On NFL.com, Gregg Rosenthal doesn’t put tagging Orakpo in the “no brainer” category but he believes that the Redskins will decide to do it.
After years of overpaying other teams' free agents, it'd be crazy for the Redskins to let a rare homegrown product get away.
At this point in time, in fact, the franchise tag might work better for the Redskins than a long-term contract. He was healthy all of last year until he missed the season finale with a strained groin but there have to be some lingering health concerns after he suffered two torn pectoral muscles in span of about 10 months in 2012. Keeping him for one year to see if he is truly healthy guaranteeing him $20 million or more would be a wise fiscal move by the Redskins.

It would also be a good idea to make sure that he can be a consistently high performer. He had 11 sacks as a rookie in 2009 and then went for three years without recording double digit sacks (including his injury-shortened 2012 season). Although he hasn’t fallen flat in his “off” seasons, if he wants elite long-term money the Redskins should take advantage of this one-year window to see if he’s worth it.

While Orakpo almost surely would rather have the security of a long-term deal in his pocket, he might have to settle for a guaranteed $11 million this year and the possibility of the big deal down the road if he stays healthy and performs well.

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Want to beat the Cardinals? Bring down Carson Palmer

Want to beat the Cardinals? Bring down Carson Palmer

Many considered the Cardinals a Super Bowl contender this season, though the team has not performed to that level so far in 2016. One huge problem for Arizona - protecting quarterback Carson Palmer. 

In its last four games, Arizona has given up 16 sacks on Palmer, including a staggering eight sacks against the Carolina Panthers. In the last two games, Palmer has gone down six times, and both games have been losses. 

With weapons like wideout Larry Fitzgerald and running back David Johnson, Palmer has lots of options to move the ball. That's why Jay Gruden knows how important it is for his front seven to get home.

"It’s going to start with the pass rush," Gruden said. "If Carson [Palmer] has all day to throw and give Larry time to do double moves and stem you inside and vertical and then get back out or break it back across, I don’t care how big you are or how fast you are, it’s going to be hard."

In all six Cardinals losses, Palmer has been sacked at least two times, and in four of the losses, Palmer has gone down at least four times. Beyond the Panthers' eight sacks, the Bills brought down the Cards QB five times, and both the Seahawks and Vikings got to Palmer four times.

While the sack totals stand out, Washington's Preston Smith knows each week is different in the NFL.

"Every game you’re fired up because you feel like it's an opporttunity to get out there and get sacks," Smith said. "You don’t think about what another team did, they’re going to play us different."

Talking on the latest #RedskinsTalk Podcast, Redskins linebacker Trent Murphy acknowledged that the defense knows how beat up the Cardinals' offensive line is. Murphy, who has seven sacks on the season, added that he's 'drooling' for this matchup and the opportunity to take advantage of the Arizona vulnerabilities up front. (Listen to the full podcast below.)

Bruce Arians knows his team is undermanned on the line, and the Arizona offense will be creative to protect Palmer.

"You have to help them," Arians said of his O-line. "You have got to stay balanced and hopefully not get into a situation where it’s a throw, throw, throw game because then you’re putting them in harm’s way and your quarterback in harm’s way."

It doesn't help that in his 14th season, Palmer is probably one of the least mobile quarterbacks in the NFL. After matching up against Aaron Rodgers and Dak Prescott in their last two games, the Redskins defense knows Palmer won't move nearly as much, though that doesn't mean he's neccesarily easier to get down.

"You’re not going against a mobile quarterback but you still got to get to that spot," Smith said. "Carson’s a good quarterback."

Linebacker Mason Foster said that sacks aren't as important as consistent pressure. 

"On a great quarterback like that you want consistent pressure all day long. Make things tough on him, you don’t want a clean pocket," Foster said. "If you have pressure in his face all day and you don’t get no sacks, I think that's a success."

Even at 36, Palmer is still a dangerous quarterback. He's thrown for nearly 3,000 yards this year with a beat-up offensive line and missing one start. But numbers are numbers, and the data shows that if the 'Skins pass rushers can get Palmer to the ground, the chances of a Washington win shoot right up. 

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

 

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Poll: What is your approval rating for Redskins coach Jay Gruden?

Poll: What is your approval rating for Redskins coach Jay Gruden?

As always, hit the poll and then head to the comments section here and talk about your answer, or reply on Twitter.