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‘Ker-rakpo’ Among League’s Best Tandems

Posted by Brian Tinsman on April 9, 2012 – 3:33 pm

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It took most of the 2011 season, but the rest of the league has finally caught on to the fact that the Redskins are doing something special at outside linebacker.  It’s interesting what a difference 12 months can make.

In ProFootballFocus.com’s analysis of the most productive edge-rushers in the NFL, the Redskins are one of exactly two teams (Eagles) with a pair of edge rushers in the Top-20.  This stands in stark contrast to last offseason, when the Redskins forewent a franchise quarterback in the first rounds in order to secure a pass-rush complement to Brian Orakpo.

So, what determines a player’s pass rushing productivity?  The folks at PFF have developed a complicated formula (Sacks + 0.75 (Hits + Hurries)/ Number of Pass Rushing Attempts * 100 = PRP), which highlights the 4-3 defensive ends and 3-4 linebackers that are able to disrupt the offense with the greatest frequency.

Redskins veteran Brian Orakpo blitzes from the blindside of a right-handed quarterback, and is the 11th-ranked edge rusher in football.  Redskins rookie Ryan Kerrigan blitzes into the grill of right-handed quarterbacks, and was ranked 20th in the league for edge rush production.

After only a year together on the job, this devastating duet has big potential for the future.  Here are just a few of the reasons why:

1. Brian Orakpo can finally draw single coverage on the rush.  In his rookie season, Orakpo took the league by storm, collecting 11 sacks and earning a Pro Bowl nod.  He didn’t suffer from a sophomore slump in 2010, but the lack of a legitimate pass rush  from the opposite side led to double teams and down statistics.  He rebounded with nine sacks in 2011, including three in the last three games.  The offense can’t double-team every pass-rusher, and Kerrigan’s development is Orakpo’s paradise.

2. Ryan Kerrigan overcame long odds to start in Week 1.  Regardless of the success that Kerrigan had in 2011, it came in spite of the fact that he was: A.) a rookie drafted during a lockout, B.) in the process of changing positions in training camp, and C.) overcoming a knee injury at the start of training camp.  Kerrigan is a poster child for the success of “mental reps,” and showed that he was durable and athletic enough to battle from the two-point stance.  He is the only player on defense that did not miss a single snap in 2011.

3. Redskins brass can focus on other areas for the foreseeable future.  Knock on wood, because nothing is certain in football or life.  But with the success (16.5 sacks, five fumbles) and durability (32 combined starts) exhibited in 2011 are any indication, the Redskins brass can focus on other areas of need for now.  The team still has depth at the position in case of injury, with fellow 2011 draft pick Markus White able to develop behind Lorenzo Alexander and Rob Jackson.  If all goes according to plans, an area of need has transformed into a major strength in just 12 months.

Redskins history has been marked by strong defensive teams, with an emphasis on getting after the opposing quarterback.  Not since 1983–when the Redskins drafted Charles Mann to join Dexter Manley–have the Redskins had this type of presence at edge rusher.

Whether or not they live up to the production of Mann and Manley will take years determine, but the pair is off to a good start.

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Posted in Uncategorized | 12 Comments »

12 Responses to “‘Ker-rakpo’ Among League’s Best Tandems”

  1. By 007 on Apr 9, 2012 | Reply

    And with JENKINS set to return, CARRIKER in the house and GOLSTON newly signed, it appears the only q-marks in the front seven are FLETCHER and FOX. I’m betting FLETCHER stays and FOX goes. In that case, we should draft an ILB in the fourth round, especially if all top eight OT’s are off the board by #69. Then we trade back from three for another five. I would take JAMES-MICHAEL JOHNSON Nevade with our third fourth-round pick.

    I would go after PHILLIP BLAKE C from Baylor #102 in a trade back scenerio. A FS AARON HENRY at #109 then an ILB

  2. By redskinz4life on Apr 9, 2012 | Reply

    Yesssiiiir, with Bowen and Cofield inside and our two bookends hopefully we resign Fletcher. Also the return of Jarvis Jenkins, who was set to have a big impact before his injury and some new blood at safety. We should have a real defensive presence this year… Let’s go skins!!!HTTR

  3. By Jimmy on Apr 9, 2012 | Reply

    I called this tandem “The Brian and Ryan Show” during the season, but I really like Ker-rakpo!

  4. By ALLinSKINS on Apr 9, 2012 | Reply

    Why not just keep it simple and call them The KnockOuts or KO Conection. All rights reserved 2012 lol

  5. By Gutzolabrother09 on Apr 10, 2012 | Reply

    I believe this defence is already set. Of course if they stay heathy. The idea of drafting RG3 is so exciting. With the free agents at receiver sighned, look out. Here we go. Watch out NFL. SKINS are back in 2012 baby.

  6. By redskinz4life on Apr 10, 2012 | Reply

    I say we call it Ker-rak-nophobia…. trademarked, copyrighted and stamped!lls

  7. By Spitfire71 on Apr 10, 2012 | Reply

    Forgive me for being negative, but I’m not quite seeing the production that justifies these claims. I believe it can happen, but there’s one thing I feel that’s holding Orakpo in particular back. He’s still something of a one-trick pony as a pass-rusher, so a lot of tackles that get beat by him off the snap will just hold (knowing that an alarming number of holds against Skins players don’t get called, but that’s another conversation). I don’t hold Kerrigan quite to the same standard since he was a rookie that had just made the switch to LB last year. He pleasantly surprised me. I was a bit concerned about him at first because he’s about one steak dinner away from 270 and I was wondering if he was a little bit too big and lumbering to play the standup LB well. But he’s done a heck of a job. As for Orakpo? He’s a very good pass rusher, but he’s not great. Not yet. Once he crosses the threshold to where he’s averaging double-digit sacks a game, Kerrigan will follow. Then again, the Redskins’ offense has hardly ever given the defense comfortable leads to the point where the pass rushers could just pin their ears back and go.

  8. By ALLinSKINS on Apr 11, 2012 | Reply

    Orakpo does need to add to his bag of moves. I think we saw some of that last year. But Kerrigan makes Olines keep it honest and not double team Orakpo every down. Plus Kerrigan having one pro season under his belt and better production from the offense = a defense able to play down hill in the 4th quarter instead playing cautious from behind.

  9. By poppyshoes on Apr 10, 2012 | Reply

    Here’s hoping they all stay healthy, and Mr. Fletcher gets signed to finish his career here. This d can make things happen.
    I like K.O. and KER-RAK-NOPHOBIA. Got to get some of these done, and on shelves soon. HAIL!

  10. By Hail91 on Apr 10, 2012 | Reply

    @Spitfire71 if Orakpo starts averaging double digit sacks per GAME, we might as well call him Bobby Boucher! 🙂

  11. By Bob_Marley on Apr 10, 2012 | Reply

    if Orakpo had double averaged double digit sacks he would have 32 to in a year. You realize how ridiculous that sounds.

  12. By weslee on Apr 11, 2012 | Reply

    there both amazing but we need to get london fletcher resigned immediately and quit playing around already

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