After making the Pro Bowl his first two years in the league, Brian Orakpo was not named to the squad when it was announced earlier this week. Few if any analysts called Orakpo’s omission a snub.
His sack total has been declining annually. Orakpo posted 8.5 last year and 11 as a rookie in 2009 and he has seven this year with a game to go. That is not the direction anyone wants to see his numbers heading.
But Jim Haslett said that Orakpo’s game has improved in areas that do not necessarily show up on the stat sheet. “I think he’s gotten better [against] the run and his coverage has been excellent.”
Still, Orakpo has to get sacks to be effective. Haslett said that he will be one of the best pass rushers in the business if he learns to beat double teams.
“I think he has got to understand that no matter where he lines up, they’re going to have two guys on him,” Haslett said. “Either they’re going to chip him or they’re going to have two guys on him because they’re going to slide to him. And that’s kind of the way it’s been and he gets frustrated.”
Shanahan said that players like Jared Allen of the Vikings and Dwight Freeney rack up sacks despite having to beat two blocker virtually every time.