Washington Redskins outside linebacker Brian Orakpo finds himself on one of the most productive stretches of his five-year career and aims to continue that run Sunday against the New York Giants.
After recording three sacks in the first four weeks of the season (one against Green Bay, two against Oakland), Orakpo experienced a three-game drought. But he has broken out of that slump, recording 3.5 sacks in the last three weeks. He had one against Minnesota, 1.5 against Philadelphia, and one against San Francisco.
Orakpo – who is tied with Ryan Kerrigan for first on the team with 6.5 sacks – also recorded two additional hits on the quarterback in the Minnesota game, two more against Philadelphia and another against San Francisco.
He attributes the increase in production to improved comfort and rhythm after missing nearly all of last season because of a torn pectoral muscle.
“Just really getting my groove back as far as the way I’m playing,” the fifth-year veteran said. “That’s all, just getting my feet wet again. Stuff is starting to jell a lot better. The beginning of the season was getting the rust off. Whenever you’re coming off of injury, you’ve got a lot of rust on you and a lot of kinks you have to work out as far as getting the feel. Now I’m getting back in my playing style.”
Orakpo admitted that it took him a little longer to knock off the rust. He said the bulk of the season has proven frustrating, particularly as he struggled to regain his effectiveness. But now he feels more capable of making an impact for his team.
“Just everything, man. Running game, rushing and everything. It’s coming along like I’d expect,” Orakpo said. “I’m glad it is. Obviously, we’re struggling right now, but, you know, as far as individually, you can kind of be satisfied with something.”
Orakpo will be a free agent following the season, and he would like to return to Washington. Although the Redskins’ season appears to be lost, he says he still has plenty of motivation beyond individual to continue to play well.
“You’ve got to fight for pride, do the best you can and hopefully turn things around in these next five games,” Orakpo said. “Everybody has to be held accountable. You don’t want to be that guy on film that’s causing problems and being that weak link. And that goes for everybody – offense, defense, special teams. So, these last five games, It’s going to be important for all of us to go out there, not give up, not quit and hold ourselves accountable out there on the field.”