All written content in this post is the original content of Chris DeLisi, Redskins.com intern.
With the first day of training camp in the books, sixth-year linebacker Brian Orakpo is setting his sights on a big 2014 season. After recording 10 sacks in 2013, the three-time Pro Bowler believes his defensive unit has moved on from last year and is stressing the importance of getting to the opposing team’s quarterback this season.
“We try not to think about last year all the time, but still we don’t ever want to be at that point again. Last year was a forgettable year,” said Orakpo. “Last year was something we all want to improve on and never experience again. That’s why guys came out here in great shape and are ready to compete, get to the quarterback and give it their all.”
With the additions of Jason Hatcher through free agency and second-round pick Trent Murphy, the pass rush appears on track for greater succes. Last season, the Redskins ranked 21st in sacks and gave up the second-most points in the NFL.
The Redskins still have a few question marks at the middle linebacker position since London Fletcher retired. Perry Riley Jr. has solidified himself in the middle, but the Redskins are looking for another linebacker to help stop the run. A possible replacement for Fletcher is Orakpo’s college teammate and fellow Longhorn, Keenan Robinson. But, the team also signed Akeem Jordan and Darryl Sharpton in the offseason — both with the talent to appear in the starting lineup as well.
Orakpo is approaching this training camp just as he always has–with his mind on individual and team improvement — but unlike last season, he is coming in completely healthy.
Being healthy and participating in a full offseason schedule has helped boost his confidence entering 2014.
“It feels great. It feels good to be back with my teammates to get ready to strive for greatness. We are out here day one and looked pretty good,” he said.” There were some miscues on both sides of the ball, but that’s what it is always like on the first day.”
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