Friday, October 08, 2010

Brian Orakpo Was Not Held as a Child

Becoming unstoppable

Last Sunday night my game partner lifetime Eagles fan, season ticket holder and Curly R reader/lurker Wilbert Montgomery and I got back to Alexandria from the Eagles game in Philadelphia around 11:30 pm, the wife was there to help me pour the boys into bed and to see Wilbert Montgomery off on the last leg of his trip back to Fredericksburg, after he left she gave me her impressions of the game as she saw on TV, culminating with the humorous comment from one of her friends that Brian Orakpo must not have been held as a child. Because he is getting all that attention now. (Ed. note: The missus tells me the friend says she heard it from a caller on a radio show. -Ben)

In the season opening game one against Dallas Brian drew a holding penalty against replacement right tackle Alex Barron, after the initial euphoria wore off there was some amusing talk around the league, particularly among butthurt Cowboys fans, of a hometown call and how OMG they could call holding on every play OMG and this was the league wanting Mike Shanahan to get the opening win.

Turns out despite drawing another four holding penalties in the next four games, replays regularly are showing Brian being held behind the line.

The guy simply is turning into a force already in his second year, he has the traditional speed move, the ability to get outside the tackle off the snap, forcing the tackle to play from behind and either push Brian around the play or commit the hold.

As John Keim observes in the Washington Examiner today, Brian also can engage the tackle straight on, get inside his pads then redirect quickly around the side, forcing the tackle to make a lateral move, and most tackles cannot match Brian's side to side speed so they end up holding.

Brian does not have the club or the feint-swim moves of a freight train Reggie White type defensive end, and he may never have them, he is not that size and he may never need them, he can just take you on and beat you around the play.

These types of observations, that a guy like a Brian is drawing a high number of holding penalties, also have the effect of working the referees, now that it is in the open that this is what Brian does, the Ron Jaworskis and Pat Kirwans of the world are going to talk about it openly, if I was head of the Redskins video shop I would as we speak be preparing a tape of all the holding penalties on Brian that have not been called and I would deliver that tape with a big burgundy bow to the league office before Sunday's game.

Brian Orakpo being held by Dallas right tackle Alex Barron on the last play of the Cowboys game: AP photo from here.




Ben - I heard the comment via a text that was submitted to Chick et al. on Redskins postgame live. They all got a big kick out of it too. I was listening to LaVar and Dukes today and LaVar was saying the a pro bowl player would break those holds. He said (and of course I sum up) that if he was getting held like that he'd punch the guy in the stomach. Dukes was like, isn't that illegal? And LeVar was all, well, holding is illegal too, what's he gonna do, complain to the ref? Basically LaVar's feeling was that Orak needs to break those holds somehow, and can't say I disagree. Just weighing in. -Sarah