Since 2009, no Washington Redskins player has recorded more sacks than outside linebacker Brian Orakpo. In 2-1/2 seasons, the Texas product has 25 sacks (11 as a rookie, 8.5 last season and 5.5 through nine games this season).
The only problem: Of those 25 sacks, only half a sack has come in his 15 games against divisional opponents. The other 24.5 sacks have come against teams outside the NFC East.
“In the division, sacks are a lot harder to come by,” said Orakpo, who hopes to reverse that trend starting this Sunday, when Washington hosts the Dallas Cowboys. “Once I get out the division, I get sacks. But in the division is where I’m really lacking as far as getting there. We play each other twice and they know what they’re dealing with.”
Orakpo said he also has good familiarity with the Cowboys and their personnel for the very same reason, and admits he needs to increase his production.
“I’ve just got to keep grinding through it,” said Orakpo, whose team owns a 3-12 record in the NFC East since 2009.
Redskins coach Mike Shanahan downplayed Orakpo’s lack of production against divisional opponents and said it would increase as he continues to become more experienced.
“Those things come in bunches,” Shanahan said. “He’s been very close and everybody looks at the end results and he probably missed four or five sacks this year that he had guys right in the grasp of his hands. As he gets older, I think he’ll have those sacks. But he’s there, he’s putting pressure on the quarterback, and hopefully it comes this season.”