When the Tennessee Titans signed Brian Orakpo last year, it was to help shore up what had become an anemic pass rush.
Last season, Orakpo had seven sacks in his first season in Tennessee, a solid season, but nothing compared to the pace he is on this season.
In just six games, Orakpo has already equaled last year’s total with seven sacks.
His highest sack total came as a rookie with the Washington Redskins with 11 in 2009.
So why is Orakpo on pace to obliterate that number this year?
“I still felt like I had a solid season last year, but you have to remember that I was coming back off an injury from the year before. I was still getting my feet wet and still getting comfortable with my body,” Orakpo said.
Orakpo missed nine games in 2014 when he had only a half sack and missed nine games due to a torn pectoral muscle.
What is Orakpo doing differently than he was last season?
“Nothing. I’m just playing my game,” Orakpo said. “I’ve told y’all that from day one. I just play my game and stuff will come about. I never put any pressure on myself to make plays; they just come.”
Orakpo might not be doing anything differently in terms of his approach, but he does admit to being more comfortable in the scheme.
“(I’m) a little bit more comfortable in the same scheme, freelancing a little bit more as far as our scheme and personnel is able to do a lot of different things,” he said. “That’s why a lot of things are coming about as far as trying to make plays.”
Titans coach Mike Mularkey said Orakpo is taking full advantage of LeBeaus’ scheme.
“If you watch the games, especially third down, he’s moving. He’s all over the place. A lot of those guys are. Jurrell’s (Casey) coming from all different directions,” Mularkey said. “Really, Dick’s done a good job of just mixing it up. What you see on third down with our defense, there’s no drawings of that in any playbook. It is exotic. It is very difficult. You better be good with communication, especially if you’re at our place.”
Tight end Anthony Fasano and nickelback Brice McCain were both out of practice on Wednesday with ankle injuries sustained in Sunday’s win over the Browns.
Nose tackle Al Woods was back on the practice field after missing three games with a calf injury. Cornerback Cody Riggs practiced fully and is on track to play this week after being out three games with a hamstring.