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Need to Know: Haslett makes case for ‘elite’ Orakpo

Dec 20, 2013, 5:55 AM EST

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Orakpo-vs.-TEN

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, December 20, three days before the Washington Redskins host the Dallas Cowboys.

Nickel coverage

Five notes and quotes from Thursday’s press conferences.

1.Nothing against former Denver center J. D. Walton, who the Redskins claimed off of waivers yesterday. But this transaction makes no sense. “No, I think this is for the future. He would not play this week or next week,” said Mike Shanahan (complete news conference transcript). That might be fine except that Walton’s rookie contract expires after this season. So he will be a Redskin for two games. And he gets to walk in to an environment where distractions are many and playoff possibilities are zero. Strange.

2. I was one of the few who didn’t object when Kyle Shanahan (complete news conference transcript) called a play-action out of the Redskins’ end zone. Even though it ended up being picked off, I liked the aggressive style. “I always feel if you punt when you’re backed up, I look at that as we as an offense just gave the other team three points. All they need to do is go about 10 yards after they catch that punt and they already have a field goal, so I feel it’s very important when you’re backed up to get a first down. We’re not just going to play conservatively to not get a safety.

3. Jim Haslett (complete news conference transcript) made the case that Brian Orakpo is an elite pass rusher. He made a valid point that while he doesn’t have the sack numbers that others do he doesn’t rush the passer on every down. “I don’t know what you’re calling elite, but I’ll say sack-wise, numbers-wise, he’s got 10, and you’ve got [Green Bay linebacker Clay] Mathews has 16 who rushes every down, [Rams defensive end Robert] Quinn who has 15 I think, he rushes every down — I don’t know who else is in between — but I would say that’s fair because he doesn’t rush every down. He rushes every time on third down or nickel, but he does drop into coverage.”

4. Aldrick Robinson has been more productive in the last two games than he was in the first 12 combined. Kyle hopes he can use his speed to open up other things. “Aldrick, everybody knows he’s our fastest player and you usually like to send your fastest player deep over your slower players, but there’s not really a play in our offense that just says we’re throwing it deep. I kind of want them to cover Aldrick deep. Please cover him so we can throw it to open people underneath, as long as we’re sucking up the linebackers on a play-fake.”

5. It seems that most of the players have picked up this message from Mike Shanahan; the effort from all but a few has been solid. “No, it’s not really, not if you’ve got the right guys, you’ve got the right character. You’re getting full-speed effort. They understand that this is their profession and if they don’t handle it that way, then the chances of them being around for any length of time is not very good.”

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Stat of the day

—On first and 10 this year the Redskins have run 179 times for a 3.6 average per play and they have passed 191 times for an average of 7.2 yards.

Timeline

Days until: Cowboys @ Redskins 2; Redskins @ Giants 9; Opening Sunday 2014 262

Today’s schedule: Practice 11:50; Mike Shanahan news conference and player availability after practice (approx. 1:15)

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