“I’m very excited,” says Washington Redskins defensive standout Brian Orakpo, “we finally got that quarterback that we needed.” Orakpo was speaking of course about 2012 first round draft pick Robert Griffin III. Griffin, who won the 2011 Heisman trophy last year. Griffin was selected second overall after the Redskins swapped first round picks with the Saint Louis Rams in this April’s draft. The Redskins also sent two future first round, and one second round, draft picks to the Rams in the deal.
“Our defense is great,” Orakpo continued, “We need to fill that void in the quarterback (position).” What a void it’s been, since the Redskins won their last Super Bowl in 1991 under Mark Rypien the Redskins have started 21 different quarterbacks. To make matters worse, apart from Rypien himself (26 games) only Gus Frerotte (46 games), Brad Johnson (27 games), Mark Brunell (33 games), and Jason Campbell (45 games) have started more games since Rypien, who started a total of 72 games in his Redskins career. It’s a list that doesn’t impress and has the names of players who where either past their primes by the time they got to Washington, or never had one to begin with.
Orakpo and the rest of Redskins Park are counting on Griffin to be that quarterback the Redskins have sought for so long. “There’s no time for rebuilding in the NFL,” Orakpo asserted. “You gotta come in there prepared to win, and that’s what he’s capable of.” But those are the expectations for a player the team gave up so much to trade up for.
The Redskins have a long history of free agent, draft, and trade debacles under current owner Dan Snyder. From overpaying aging stars like Bruce Smith and Deion Sanders, to firing Charley Casserly to make room for Vinny Cerrato, or the myriad of draft picks they’ve sent out in trades for questionable acquisitions. Everyone is holding their breath to see if Bruce Allen and Mike Shanahan have finally gotten a major Snyder Era decision right, or if the Curse of Jack Kent Cooke is alive and well.
One thing is for sure, like Orakpo says, there won’t be any time to rebuild, and the Redskins will need Griffin to play strong out of the gate as they will go on the road to face the Saints and Rams to open their season. Orakpo says his only real advice for the rookie it to “have fun… act like your back at Baylor.”
If Orakpo and the rest of the Washington Redskins are to contend this year then Griffin will have to have a very fun year.
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