December 13, 2009

Snap Judgments: Gano, Orakpo Impress In Win Over Raiders

Graham Gano didn't have to make any key kicks in his first game as the Redskins kicker, but he still made the most of his two FG attempts.

Gano went 2-2 on the day, banging home field goals of 46 and 41 yards on a slick and muddy field. He looked comfortable replacing the enigmatic Shaun Suisham, but we won't really know what we have until he lines up for an important kick.

Meanwhile the star of the show in Oakland this afternoon was rookie DE/LB Brian Orakpo who picked up four sacks, a forced fumble and three tackles for a loss. The entire defensive line dominated as the unit picked up seven sacks (safety Reed Doughty also added one), but Orakpo was the brightest star.

Orakpo now has 11 sacks on the year putting him four shy of breaking the rookie sack record of 14.5 set by Jevon Kearse. Orakpo has been a bit shaky at linebacker, a position he is adapting to, but at defensive end he has shown the ability to not just get to the QB, but to contain him.

Several times this year Orakpo has been able to keep the QB in the pocket and force him to run up the middle only to corral him as he passes by. In addition, Orakpo has also shown he can work his way down the line to make stops against the run.

He'll be in the running for defensive rookie of the year along with Clay Matthews and Brian Cushing.

And today should have resolved a big question for Dan Snyder. Jason Campbell should be the guy in 2010. Campbell has played extremely well the past month in a lot of different situations. His line has been patchwork and yet he has adjusted his game in order to make things operate more smoothly for the offense.

Campbell isn't a classic WCO QB, but he has shown he can make quick throws and his ability to progress through his reads has increased tenfold as of late. Of course there is still concern regarding his struggles to make big plays in key situations, but as Campbell continues to grow, expect him come through on potential game-winning drives.

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