There are still two games remaining, but linebacker Brian Orakpo may see his sack numbers dip for the second year in a row. Orakpo had 11 as a rookie in 2009, 8.5 last year and has 7 through 14 games this season.
“He’s done a great job on the run,” Haslett said. “He’s done an excellent job in coverage this year. His totals aren’t where he wants it to be -- he’s missed a lot, he’s taken some bad angles when he’s been free -- but I think he’s a heck of a football player.”
Several of Orakpo’s other numbers are up this year. He has 32 quarterback pressures, and he’s on pace to have career-highs in tackles, passes defended and forced fumbles. And Haslett said Orakpo is slowly figuring out how to fight through the double-teams that hamper him at times.
“Even the game last week, he probably got chipped 6-7 times, he got doubles 6-7 times. We even started moving him on the other side of the field and they slid the line to him a couple of times,” Haslett said. “So they know where he’s at, and they’re going to take care of him.
“Now he’s got to find ways to combat that. If they’re going to chip him, then he’s got to go chip the chipper. If they’re going to slide his way, then he’s got to find a way to beat them. I think his next progression in being a great football player is he knows they’re going to look for him, knows they’re going to take two guys and work him, he’s got to find ways to overcome those. And he has. He’s getting better at it every time.”