The Post ran a couple of Redskins columns over the weekend. The first was Mike Wise checking in with Donovan McNabb, regarding his desire to give advice to Robert Griffin III. The second was a Jason Reid piece on Brian Orakpo’s well-roundedness being great and all, but him wanting to rack up silly-good sack numbers this season.
If you haven’t read both columns, you should. This blog post will make more sense after you do.
It struck me that both Griffin and Orakpo are — termed in coachspeak and fanspeak — doing things the right way. A Redskins fan couldn’t ask for a whole lot more out of either player, in terms of how they handle themselves off the field or the effort they’ve put forth on it when healthy.
Yet both players expect more out of themselves, and we onlookers — as part of the superstar treatment — are asking for more out of them.
It might not be fair or right, but that is how it is.
Griffin revived the franchise, led it to a 10-win season and a division title, and he’s hustling back from a devastating knee injury. Off the field, he says all the right things — not in an insincere, tell-you-what-you-want-to-hear way either, but in a way that feels genuine. And while a lot of people have a lot of opinions on his handling of wedding gifts and his offseason public appearances and all, if that’s the worst you hear about your star player, usually you’re in good shape. Here’s a guy who seems more likely to be at a Memorial Day parade deflecting credit from himself than at a club. Is his choice of tweets really worth nitpicking?
Likewise, Reid quotes Orakpo talking about generally creating havoc, and quotes defensive coordinator Jim Haslett praising Orakpo’s run defense. That’s what you want, a well-rounded player who’s dangerous no matter what the offense is doing, more than just a pass-rush specialist? DeMarcus Ware is one of the game’s great rushers, but depending on who you ask, he’s either no good against the run or one of the best. (both blog posts from 2011).
Reid’s column paints the picture that Orakpo already is a well-rounded outside linebacker, so is it a good idea to judge him mostly off sack numbers? There’s more to the job than bringing down the quarterback, like setting the edge on run plays, excelling in coverage responsibilities and drawing so much attention from blockers that other defenders take advantage of their one-on-one matchups. Orakpo recognizes that and wants more. Griffin took the league by storm as a rookie, yet recognizes he hasn’t hit his ceiling.
Do you view the idea that both players, when healthy, leave little to quibble over, yet there are still quibbles as a media- and fan-driven unfortunate reality of stardom? Or is it perhaps an endearing quality in both players that they’re wired to want more even when they do plenty? Isn’t it probably some of both?
Perhaps you don’t agree there’s a parallel — Is Orakpo not quite on the star level as Griffin, and does he have more to prove going into a contract year than the quarterback does, even as they both try to rebound from injuries?
That’s for you guys to discuss — don’t shoot the messenger, I’m just asking a few questions to get you started this fine Monday morning.
Have a Redskins question? E-mail Mike Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Mailbag question” for him to answer it in The Mailbag.