The Redskins sacked New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees twice in last Sunday’s season-opening win, but they could have had at least three more if Brees weren’t so elusive. Washington also missed an opportunity when cornerback DeAngelo Hall and Brian Orakpo got tangled up as they closed in on Brees during a third-quarter pass that went for 25 yards.
“I told D that was on me,” Orakpo said this week. “It was a blitz, and he came in. I was supposed to stay up, but the line slanted down. The fullback stayed on me, so I’m thinking straight pass-rush mode, so I made an inside move. D was coming in the same hole. We ran into each other, so I owe him a sack.”
Let’s break down the play using images from the FOX broadcast and the coaches’ film purchased from NFL.com
1. Orakpo lined up as the left outside linebacker, not on the right side as he does in the base defense. (The Redskins frequently flipped Orakpo and OLB Ryan Kerrigan.) Hall lined up to Orakpo’s left in the slot over TE Jimmy Graham. ILB Perry Riley showed blitz but dropped immediately after the snap.
Orakpo said his role on the play was to get upfield against fullback Jed Collins, who on this play lined up at tight end. Orakpo wanted to occupy Collins and create a lane for Hall to get to Brees.
2. Orakpo engaged Collins’ inside shoulder, securing a lane for Hall to blitz through inside.
3. Orakpo lost focus about his role on the play. Instead of pushing upfield to open the lane for Hall, he ripped inside Collins to try to get to Brees. “The fullback stayed on me, so I’m thinking straight pass-rush mode, so I made an inside move,” Orakpo said.
Hall, meanwhile, ran through a lane that Orakpo at first created but then obstructed.
4. Orakpo and Hall got tangled up as they closed in on Brees.
5. Orakpo spilled to the turf and Hall stumbled, allowing Brees to escape to the right. He connected with Marques Colston for 25 yards.
6. Here’s a view from video shot from the end zone camera, thanks to coaches’ film purchased from NFL.com. You can see Orakpo pushing upfield while Hall begins to blitz inside him
7. Orakpo rips inside Collins to close the lane he initially opened.
8. Brees escapes as Orakpo and Hall collide.