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Saturday, September 24, 2011
Opposing voice: Brian Orakpo

By Todd Archer

IRVING, Texas -- The Redskins would not have been able to move to the 3-4 defense without Brian Orakpo. The UT-ex has the size, speed and athleticism to be the prototype outside linebacker.

He became the first Washington player to make the Pro Bowl in each of his first two seasons and since 2009 he has 20.5 sacks. He has one in the first two games this season as he tries to join the elite outside linebackers, like the Cowboys’ DeMarcus Ware.

“You look at a lot of guys around the league when it comes to the 3-4,” Orakpo said. “You can take Ware; you can take James Harrison; you can take [Clay] Matthews. Everybody looks at each other. Everybody sees what they can get better at. Sees what the other guys are doing to get sacks, to get pressure. Just making themselves better. I try to study and I try to look at everybody that especially when that opponent is next week. I try to look at the film and try to get myself better at getting there.”

While Orakpo would not say whether he was in the class of those linebackers, his coach, Mike Shanahan, did.

“The proof is getting it done week in and week out,” Shanahan said. “But I like what we have in Brian.”