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Brian Orakpo Seems To Get It

Posted by Matt Terl on November 9, 2009 – 2:01 pm

Brian Orakpo is not good at losing. That much was made clear to me earlier in the season, when he got his first sack and immediately explained how little he cared, because it came in a loss. The point was re-emphasized today in Mike Wise’s column in the Washington Post, which featured this little locker room vignette:

Brian Orakpo’s baritone voice emoted a one-word expletive in the corner of the locker room, so thunderous many of his teammates turned around.

“I’m tried of this [stuff]!” the rookie added, muttering to no one in particular as he sat by his cubicle. “Every week you come out and this same [stuff] happens. We prepare, we work hard and then this. I can’t deal with it . . . I can’t deal with it.”

What he IS good at, apparently, is getting sacks. He picked up two more yesterday, to bring his season total up to 5.5, one behind team leader Andre Carter and tied for sixth in the NFC.

“I’m gonna try to catch [Carter],” he said today. “He’s been trying to get away from me, so I’m tryin’ to get ahead of it. I just wish we could translate it to wins, but it is a good individual accomplishment. And I’m trying to continue to add on, man. Somebody told me I’m ahead of some of the premier guys in the NFC East right now, with Osi [Umeniyora, of the Giants] and [Dallas’ DeMarcus] Ware, so that’s a good thing.”

And those totals come despite having to learn a new position, one that doesn’t always put him where he’s most comfortable. Not that he was complaining. “I think they’re utilizing me to my strength: gettin’ there,” he said. “You know, taking me out of situations and doin’ a lot of coverages and stuff and just being able to put pressure. But bein’ down, it’s kind of hard to pin your ears back, ’cause you still give [the opponents] a dual threat of running and passing. I just wish we had leads to where we could really get after them.”

Which is what I really like best about Orakpo so far: he’s much, much more concerned about the team losing than about putting up impressive rookie numbers. “When we’re down,” he said, a sack is “like gettin’ a home run when you’re down 10 to 3. There’s really no point in celebratin’ when you’re down. Just play the next play. If we had a lead or anything like that, then I’ll do my Rak dance or something, but not right now. Not when we 2-6.”
Photo courtesy of Brian Murphy.

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