Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Brian Orakpo must put his money where his mouth is

Washington Redskins fans have heard outside linebacker Brian Orakpo talk about wanting to be great ever since he came into the NFL in 2009.  And there have been games where he has looked like a great player, and there have also been games where he’s looked like just an ordinary player.

But in order earn a long-term contract Orakpo will have to put his money where his mouth is.  Before the 2013 season began Brian Orakpo stated his goal was to win defensive player of the year, and that’s a lofty goal.  But Orakpo started the season slowly and it became apparent that there would be no DPOY award for him.

But he had an excuse in recovering from an injury in 2012.  However, in the second half of the 2013 season Orakpo began playing like a man possessed.  Was it because he was in a contract year?  Maybe.  But now that he’s signed his franchise tender, he’ll be in prove it mode yet again.

And the Redskins need Orakpo to have the best season of his career.  Orakpo needs that too because he wants to justify the $11.455 million he’s earning this year, and to continue to be paid like a top player in the league.  With a career best sack total being 11 in 2009, the expectation will be that Orakpo will exceed that this season.

And hopefully he will shatter that mark.  And he may the chance to, as Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett has stated that he wants to turn Orakpo loose this season, in ways that he wasn’t allowed to in the past.  So if the reigns will be taken off of Orakpo this season, there shouldn’t be a reason to keep him from having a big year.

Well, maybe only one and that’s injuries.  But if he can stay healthy, and with the recent addition of Jason Hatcher on the D-line to draw double teams, Brian Orakpo will have one last final to prove once and for all what’s he’s said he wants to be.  One of the best elite defenders in the NFL.

But don’t just talk about being defensive player of the year, go out and do it.  Can he become a player on that level?  Yes.  But the question is, will he?


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