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Rookie Orakpo Converting Blache

You didn't expect Greg Blache to mince words, did you?

Here he is, just a couple of days away from the start of his sixth season with the Redskins, and he's got a 23-year-old rookie listed among his starters.

"Personally, I don't like rookies," says the defensive coordinator. "Don't trust rookies usually."

But Brian Orakpo is an exception. Orakpo, the team's first-round draft pick out of the University of Texas, will play his first regular-season game as a professional Sunday at the New York Giants, and Blache seems to have come to terms with the fact that a rookie is poised to make an impact on a defense that ranked fourth in the league last season.


"Out of all the rookies I've ever been around, Mike Brown would probably be the only other guy I could think of who had that type of savvy and maturity about him," Blache said. "I have no reservations about starting him. I'm only concerned with the speed of it all day that he'll see for the first time. As far as having a rookie start, I don't look at him as a regular rookie because of the maturity that he brings to the arena."

Shifting between strongside linebacker and defensive end, Orakpo played more preseason downs than any other starter. He had 15 tackles in four games, second only to safety Lendy Holmes in the preseason. But the offenses Orakpo saw in those four games won't be like what he sees Sunday.

Teams go conservative in the preseason, which doesn't give opposing defenses much tape to study. Still learning the linebacker slot - reading quarterbacks and dropping back into coverage - this could pose potential problems for Orakpo.

"I'm certain they're going to test him and challenge him to see if he's ready to play," Blache said. "But I think he's up to the task. I think they might be surprised what they see if they go after him."

With London Fletcher and Rocky McIntosh, Orakpo completes the lnebacker corps, but in pass russ situations, expect to see lined on the end.Though Orakpo showed more comfort with his hands down and coming off the edge, he did look increasingly better at the linebacker slot as the preseason progressed. Blache says that speaks to the rookie's maturity and his ability to take coaching. He's seen the same thing in fellow rookie Jeremy Jarmon.

"It's a subtle thing," Blache said. "When coach says something, you don't go all to pieces and get upset because your coach said something. You handle it maturely and say, 'Hey, that's going to help make me a better player, and it's going to help make us a better team.'

"They respond to things. They're able to learn things quicker and they adjust to things. They have a sense of things. Where a lot of rookies are wide-eyed and trying to be cool or do different things, the mature guys are here to play football. They understand it's a job for them now. They understand their role has changed from where they were in college and they accept that. I think that's the thing that makes a big difference, more than just an age thing or a suave thing. It's the ability to assimilate into a system."

By Rick Maese  |  September 11, 2009; 12:11 PM ET
 
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Next: Zorn: Tough Roster Calls to Make for Game Day

Comments

Good stuff. You konw Blache always shoots straight.

Posted by: p1funk | September 11, 2009 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Rak, Jarmon, Mitchell, good stuff coming from the Rooks....

Posted by: BeantownGreg1 | September 11, 2009 12:15 PM | Report abuse

FIRST to say 'Rak em up on Sunday #98!

Posted by: brownwood26 | September 11, 2009 12:16 PM | Report abuse

repost:

Kuddos to you pfunk....

My wife is the 5th child, all older brothers (welcome to my hell) all sports (skins at least!) fanatics AND a sports nut dad (bears...gaga). So she was turned off at an early age.

As a girl she broke her arm and her dad made her wait until half time to deal with it. So I have no shot.

Posted by: chrislarry | September 11, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: chrislarry | September 11, 2009 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Sorry...forgot to add some lame "first" reference to my previous post. My bad.

Posted by: p1funk | September 11, 2009 12:16 PM | Report abuse

"I keep reading exhortations to bomb the defense with deep throws... you know that's not how the WCO works, right? At heart, it's a ball control offense, relying on the pass to establish the run rather than the other way round. Deep throws have a place, but they're not the primary method for advancing the ball.

Favre and McNabb are great at throwing deep, but they spend much of the game setting it up with dinks and dunks...

And the running game. WCO teams run the ball a lot, and successfully."

The WCO is merely a playbook and terminology, but the philosophy is all coach. Andy Reid runs about a 60/40 pass to run ratio, the Holmgren Seahawks ran a 48/52 pass to run ratio, and the McCarthy Packers run a 55/45 pass to run ratio. Shanahan ran a 62/38 pass to run ratio last year, but in 2005 ran a 46/54 pass to run ratio.

Likewise with YPA, McNabb's career YPA is around 6.8, but he's gone as high as 8.3 and 8.4 in a season (one of which happened to coincide with his most successful season, by far). One year it's dink and dunk, another it's get the ball downfield quickly. Those years depended on his personnel groupings.

There is no set philosophy with the WCO. Some dink and dunk, some stretch the field, some run heavy, some pass heavy. The WCO is no more than a playbook and terminology.

And watch for it. The Skins will be stretching the field this season. Big time.

Posted by: psps23

Posted by: psps23 | September 11, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

GETTING PSYCHED!

Posted by: chrislarry | September 11, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

repost:


Kuddos to you pfunk....

My wife is the 5th child, all older brothers (welcome to my hell) all sports (skins at least!) fanatics AND a sports nut dad (bears...gaga). So she was turned off at an early age.

As a girl she broke her arm and her dad made her wait until half time to deal with it. So I have no shot.

Posted by: chrislarry | September 11, 2009 12:16 PM | Report abuse


Sounds like an uphill battle.

You have to counteract years of hard-heartedness towards the sports scene.

My wife's family was from NY/NJ area but she's one of 2 girls, so there wasn't alot of sports baggage there - only a very mild allegiance to the Giants that came from dad. I took care of that early on with some subtle, yet swift and effective manuevers.

Now she hates Eli's dumb-looking mug as much as I do...

Posted by: p1funk | September 11, 2009 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Rak, Jarmon, Mitchell, good stuff coming from the Rooks....

Posted by: BeantownGreg1 | September 11, 2009 12:15 PM

And you can thank Vinny for that...

Posted by: 4thFloor | September 11, 2009 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Cant wait to see Jarmon and Rak as our bookends!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: BleedBurgandGold | September 11, 2009 12:25 PM | Report abuse

repost:

cL, this Oct. Liz and I will have 25 years of marriage and she is finally sitting down to watch FB w/me. Early in the marriage I had to plan out what games I wanted to watch and did the family thing. Several years ago I took up doing the laundry on Sundays (we have two kids, so it was almost an all day job) and have enjoyed Sundays from that day forward. At least as much as the Skins allowed me to enjoy Sundays.

[the draw back is that laundry last 52 weeks per year as opposed to 19 weeks of football. it's been worth it!]

Posted by: Curzon417 | September 11, 2009 12:19 PM

Posted by: Curzon417 | September 11, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse

One more wife story....

I took her (pre-marriage) to the Sunday Night Skins/Eagle game in '04 that Ramsey started in (and over threw Cooooley for the win in the 4th QTR). It was cold as SJK out there. By the 4th QTR, we (fans) were screaming on the top of lungs standing the whole time and every thing. We were extremely loud. I look to my GF/future wife, and she is sound asleep. Knocked out cold. I was SMH the whole time cuz I wanted her to feel what I/we/the stadium was feeling......

Posted by: 4thFloor | September 11, 2009 12:29 PM | Report abuse

My predictions:

3-3 against the nfc east
4-0 against the afc west (the chargers will be resting players)
2-2 against the nfc south
2-0 against the rams and lions

11-5 overall wins a wildcard

2008: 1st yr coach with the players still learning system, OL falls apart halfway thru the season, Jason Taylor

2009: players on board w/system, QB in contract year, more weapons on offense, Phillip Daniels.

This Year:

Posted by: ccwbambam | September 11, 2009 12:31 PM | Report abuse

One more wife story....

I took her (pre-marriage) to the Sunday Night Skins/Eagle game in '04 that Ramsey started in (and over threw Cooooley for the win in the 4th QTR). It was cold as SJK out there. By the 4th QTR, we (fans) were screaming on the top of lungs standing the whole time and every thing. We were extremely loud. I look to my GF/future wife, and she is sound asleep. Knocked out cold. I was SMH the whole time cuz I wanted her to feel what I/we/the stadium was feeling......

Posted by: 4thFloor | September 11, 2009 12:29 PM | Report abuse


Ouch.

Posted by: p1funk | September 11, 2009 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Mitchell was M. Brown...

Orakpo was sorta obvious

BUTT I give Vinny props on Jarmon suplamental pick. That was a very savy and shrewd move.

Posted by: chrislarry | September 11, 2009 12:34 PM | Report abuse

how did you know it was morocco?

what other finds does he not get credit for?

Posted by: follybeach | September 11, 2009 12:36 PM | Report abuse

From the Times:

Redskins 360
For the first time I can remember, the Redskins have had all their players practicing all three days. And I've been covering this team for most of the last two decades.

That should bode well for Sunday's opener at the New York Giants

Definetly good news....I'm all jacked up for this game......

Posted by: BeantownGreg1 | September 11, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Ouch.

Posted by: p1funk | September 11, 2009 12:33 PM

right! But I think she was knocked out because she was drinking Remy MArtin with me the 1st half to stay warm. My wife thinks she can hang with the guys sometimes. And I always have to dispel that notion.

Posted by: 4thFloor | September 11, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

anyone else notice comments missing on the non-RI write ups?? computer gliche?
Or, did danny pull his six flags Ad account from the wash post...?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/09/10/AR2009091004123.html

Posted by: SkinsneedaGM | September 11, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

folly, I believe that Morocco handles the late rounds of the draft, as well as UDFA, so you could technically give him Edwin Williams as well.

Posted by: BeantownGreg1 | September 11, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

follybeach, it has been stated by Vinny/Team many times that back end of draft and subsequent undrafted FA scouting is M. Brown.

But hey big ups to Vinny for getting a young, hungry junior GM type to do that work.

Posted by: chrislarry | September 11, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Just a quick glance at the last 2 drafts:

08: Horton, Jackson, Brennan, Moore, Brooks, Tryon, Rinehart, Thomas, Davis, Kelly

09: Orakpo, Jarmon, Barnes, Glenn, Henson, Mitchell, Eddie Williams

OK, now let's take glance at Vinny's 17 picks and where they sit.

3 are starters. Horton, Kelly and Orakpo
2 are likely to be significant contributors (Thomas or Mitchell, Moore)
7 are likely to be limited contributors (Davis, Tryon, Rinehart, Jarmon, Henson, Barnes, Thomas or Mitchell)
2 are on the practice squad (Williams, Jackson)
2 are gone (Brooks, Glenn)
1 is on IR (Brennan)


Out of 17 guys, 5 should have an impact for this team, this year. Ironically, 3 of those 5 could be picks from the 6th or 7th round picks.

Its the group of 7 that will ultimately determine whether Vinny deserves a few cheers and a few less jeers. Guys like Davis, Barnes and Jarmon all have potential to make Vinny look astute. GASP!!

Posted by: zcezcest1 | September 11, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

ccw,

I like your thinking, I had us at 10-6 wasnt thinking Chargers having stuff wrapped up, but they might be playing for homefeild?

Posted by: BleedBurgandGold | September 11, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Wow we cant talk nice about Snyderato, can we. I would put those two drafts against anyones!!

Posted by: BleedBurgandGold | September 11, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Mooch "Eagles have been knocking on the door for 10 years"

Primetime "They bruised their knuckles knocking on the door"

hahahahahahahahahahaha Well said

Posted by: skinztattoo89 | September 11, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

good article but the other paper had a far more in-depth article on Orapko this morning that was posted much earlier

Posted by: nativedc | September 11, 2009 1:03 PM | Report abuse

zcezcest1,
That's interesting. I guess Vinny hasn't been all bad. I think he has made a few astute picks. The flip side is, what could he have done with the picks he traded for Jason Taylor? Probably the one decision that burns me is that there was no good plan for offensive tackle this year. I think that is an error on Vinny's part that will have serious implications later in the season.

Posted by: RedSkinHead | September 11, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Is it 4:15pm Sunday yet?

Posted by: kjhealey | September 11, 2009 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Brandon Jacobs vs. Laron Landry, part II.

Posted by: Chia_Pet | September 11, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Here's to a full speed hit on little Eli by either Rak or Big Al, preferably early in the game...

Posted by: chasgiffen | September 11, 2009 1:26 PM | Report abuse

...and preferably blindside...

Posted by: chasgiffen | September 11, 2009 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Eli will pick his spots. Getting that full speed hit on him will be a challenge.

Expect to see the Giants hammer away chunk by chunk.

Posted by: Chia_Pet | September 11, 2009 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Must...hit...Eli....early...often

Posted by: chrislarry | September 11, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Historically, Vinny's draft issue hasn't been the ability to get talent. He's been more than decent on that front. The draft issues are different. First, he's undervalued draft picks in making trades and second, he ignores needs.

I'm glad Marko Mitchell is panning out. But if I drafted OL guys instead of Henson, Glenn, Mitchell and Barnes, that I might have found an OL gem instead of a WR gem. And that would have more impact on this team.

Posted by: zcezcest1 | September 11, 2009 1:34 PM | Report abuse

I want to see Orakpo bring the hurt to Eli and then say, "I'm going over here to huddle with my friends, but I'll be back to see you in 45 seconds..."

Posted by: RedSkinHead | September 11, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse

My predictions:

3-3 against the nfc east
4-0 against the afc west (the chargers will be resting players)
2-2 against the nfc south
2-0 against the rams and lions

11-5 overall wins a wildcard

2008: 1st yr coach with the players still learning system, OL falls apart halfway thru the season, Jason Taylor

2009: players on board w/system, QB in contract year, more weapons on offense, Phillip Daniels.


I like everything except the win at SD. Don't forget, this is a team that would've been in the playoffs with wins over Cincy and St. Louis, so its not out of the realm we drop a couple of those "cupcake" games.
With that being said, Redskins 24 Giants 23!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Why are people so high on the Giants? Eli had one decent playoff run and doesn't scare anybody. The running game lost a 1000 yard back in Ward and their receivers are neither consistent nor gamebreakers. The D-line is A+, but you have to make plays to win division games. You put 8 in the box and force Manning and Steve Smith and Hixon to beat you. Is Blache and co. losing sleep about Hixon and Smith? Child please.

Posted by: rich20ssu | September 11, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse

JReid, can you post an update on how CR's calf is holding up after going full speed at practice yesterday?

Thanks!

Posted by: Curzon417 | September 11, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Eli will pick his spots. Getting that full speed hit on him will be a challenge.

Expect to see the Giants hammer away chunk by chunk.

Posted by: Chia_Pet
________________________

I agree it's all about stopping their run game. Just sayin...

Posted by: chasgiffen | September 11, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Wanna see Eli driven into the ground so hard by AH (a la Tom Brady 2 games ago) that he's actually below field level. I don't think that's asking too much.

Posted by: chasgiffen | September 11, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

I'd love to see the Skins bring in a true SAM backer next year, and let Orakpo and Jarmon become the next Mann and Manley.

Posted by: cecathcart3 | September 11, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Orakpo and Jarmon become the next Mann and Manley.

Posted by: cecathcart3 | September 11, 2009 1:46 PM |

Or -- even better -- let Mann and Manley be known ad the first Orakpo and Jarmon.

Posted by: talent_evaluator | September 11, 2009 1:49 PM | Report abuse

I really like all the Skins young DEs Jarmon, Orakpo, Wilson and Jackson. It kind of makes you wonder why they kept Renaldo Wynn. He's taking away valuable snaps plus he's not making any big plays.

I'm going to guage all the supporting lineman around Haynesworth by how disruptive they become. No one is going to see a double team with a healthy Phat Albert.

Posted by: elfreako | September 11, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

beep x 2

Posted by: Curzon417 | September 11, 2009 2:01 PM | Report abuse

chasgiffen, I like that... "while you're down there, Elisha, say hello to Jimmy Hoffa for me"

Posted by: NateinthePDX | September 11, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

slow much today?

Posted by: RedDMV | September 11, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

The entire NFC East seems to be much more even than last year. The champs are still very good, but clearly without plax, they took a step back. And Toomer, a decent WR is also gone. They have 1 less RB, injury issues affecting their depth and are more vulnerable in the secondary.

philly seemed liked it was going to surge, but they lost 3 key pieces in Dawkins to Denver, MLB bradley to injury and sadly, Jim Johnson's passing.

The team in texas may have improved. Hard to tell, but this was an offseason where they tried addition by subtraction. They were pretty banged up at key spots last year -- including several starts by a 3rd RB and a way over the hill backup QB.

Meanwhile, the Skins appear better, especially at WR, DL and P.

It wouldn't shock me to see 11-5 winning the east -- with all 4 teams going 3-3 in the division.

Posted by: zcezcest1 | September 11, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

assimilate into our system?? wow is that what happens when you draft your own players instead of taking everyone else's rejects??

Posted by: chwilli9 | September 11, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

"The WCO is merely a playbook and terminology, but the philosophy is all coach. Andy Reid runs about a 60/40 pass to run ratio, the Holmgren Seahawks ran a 48/52 pass to run ratio, and the McCarthy Packers run a 55/45 pass to run ratio. Shanahan ran a 62/38 pass to run ratio last year, but in 2005 ran a 46/54 pass to run ratio.
Likewise with YPA, McNabb's career YPA is around 6.8, but he's gone as high as 8.3 and 8.4 in a season (one of which happened to coincide with his most successful season, by far). One year it's dink and dunk, another it's get the ball downfield quickly. Those years depended on his personnel groupings.
There is no set philosophy with the WCO. Some dink and dunk, some stretch the field, some run heavy, some pass heavy. The WCO is no more than a playbook and terminology.
And watch for it. The Skins will be stretching the field this season. Big time. Posted by: psps23"

There is an approach generally deemed WCO, and it implies more reliance on the pass than the run. Not just the pass alone, but the short passing game in particular.

No law that says a coach has to stick to it, and as you note, many don't. But at some point in the stretching process, it's no longer a WCO. It's something else.

A statement like "the WCO is no more than a playbook and terminology" is not meaningful, because you could say it about any scheme, from the Wing T to the I to the Spread to the Triple Option, and it would teach you absolutely nothing about the differences between these very different approaches. That's not to say there is one specific style that qualifies as WCO -- the variations are extensive.

My point was simply that Zorn's background is in a system that doesn't rely primarily on the deep passing game, and we might not see a dramatic change in that in the coming season.

No matter how much the fans would like it.

Posted by: Samson151 | September 11, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

I'd say west coast offense is the line of thinking where you pass to set up the run, instead of the more traditional method of running to set up the pass.

Posted by: ecale25 | September 11, 2009 2:40 PM | Report abuse

On the general subject of the WCO, here's a link to a brief article from 2006 by a member of the Football Outsiders group...

http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/story/5913880/West-Coast-Offense-Simplified

Posted by: Samson151 | September 11, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

BARAKPO:

"THE CITY OF WASHINGTON DC HAS THE VERY BEST HYBRID LBs/DEs. NO OTHER CITY, ESPECIALLY THE LIMPLY WRISTED ONES FROM NEW OF YORK, HAS THE BEST PLAYERS AS OUR COUNTRYMEN. THEREFORE WE MUST DO BATTLE WITH OUR WRISTLY MEN FROM THE NORTH, AND WE MUST PUSH THEIR FACES IN THE DIRT. AGAIN AND AGAIN I TELL YOU, ELI MANNING WILL ASK HIS SISTER TO HELP HIM ARISE FROM ANOTHER HIT. BUT SHE WILL BE BUSY..."

Posted by: ElYeah | September 11, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

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