As he returns to his home state of Texas to play for the third time in his career, Washington Redskins outside linebacker Brian Orakpo looks to make a significant impact and help his team win its second consecutive game, and begin a 12-game post-bye stretch on a strong note.
Orakpo, who grew up in Houston and played for the University of Texas, will play in front of a host of family and friends. He’d like to put on a show for them, but weighing most heavily only his mind is Washington’s need to take another step toward turning its season around.
“Mindset is just to get back on track. We got through the first quarter of the season, so now, let’s start all over,” Orakpo said. “We really control our own destiny the rest of the season, so we really have to come into this game with a great mindset. We’re still in the picture and all of our goals are still in place. We have to take it game by game, and Dallas is the first step.”
Two weeks ago, Orakpo recorded two sacks, three tackles and two pass deflections as the Redskins defeated the Raiders 24-14. It represented the seventh multi-sack game of Orakpo’s career.
Orakpo remains in search of his first sack against Tony Romo and the Cowboys. Romo has eluded him in six games over three full seasons. (Injured for the bulk of his fourth season, Orakpo didn’t play against Dallas last year.)
Although he would like to finally get to Romo, Orakpo said the quest for a sack doesn’t consume him.
“Nah. I don’t think about it at all, really,” Orakpo said. “It’s just what it is. Sacks are hard to come by and Tony’s just a guy that I haven’t gotten down. It’ll come. But I’m not going to be out there with that as the first thing I’m thinking about because I have a lot of areas to worry about. But we’ll see what happens this game.”
Orakpo does have a great sense of urgency and understanding of the magnitude of the game, however. With a victory, the Redskins would improve to 2-3 and capture a tie for first place in the NFC East.
“It’s huge, man. It’s huge,” Orakpo says. “Gives us more confidence – especially a great win. Any win is a win, but to go in there, in their home place, get a victory within the division, it really means a lot for our morale, our confidence and for the bigger picture. So, we really have to take care of business.”