In case anyone missed the memo, the theme for June in the NFL is lists. There’s the top players, top players by position, top free agents, top teams, top coaches, top mascots, top logos–and it gets worse from there.
ESPN recently analyzed the league’s top linebackers, and decided that Brian Orakpo was not worthy of a top-10 designation. While I offered some thoughts on the issue, Orakpo responded to the list on ESPN 980 with Kevin Sheehan and Thom Loverro during “Redskins at 1”:
No, I mean I don’t care about it one way or the other. When I seen it, it was actually like a joke or whatever.
But everybody has their opinions, and obviously they’re gonna be down on this organization because we went 6-10, and we went 4-12 the year before. So they’re not gonna show us a lot of love.
To me, that just added fuel to the fire. More motivation for myself and for other people on this team. We gotta prove to ourselves that we can be a dominant team.
To hear a leader on the team say that they need to prove something to themselves is always a telling statement, and reflects the psyche of the defensive squad. It’s clear that a disappointing 2010 campaign left this squad hungry, and it sounds like Orakpo in particular will be looking to make an impression (pun intended).
Orakpo also had a chance to offer his thoughts on new teammate Ryan Kerrigan, who will look to be his bookend pass-rusher:
I’m really excited to have him on the team. Y’know, we’ll see what he has once this lockout is over with, and once we get to work.
From what I’ve seen so far: athletic guy, a guy who is very humble, who is gonna work hard for this Redskins organization. So I’m excited to have him opposite of me.
It sounds like Orakpo expects big things from himself and his supporting cast this year. I would hate to be the opposing quarterback as he tries to prove his critics wrong in 2011.
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