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Fan Mailbag: Why Continue to Play Orakpo At Linebacker?


Wondering about a player's status? Trying to recall a past game? Want some insight on the Redskins?'s Gary Fitzgerald opens up the mailbag on Tuesday and answers fan questions.

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Question: Why do the Redskins continue to play Brian Orakpo at linebacker? He has seemed to struggle in coverage. He is best suited to line up as defensive end.

-- Joshua L.

Gary: One reason: Moving Orakpo back and forth between defensive end and linebacker keeps the offense guessing, Redskins defensive assistant Jerry Gray said. "I think we are a lot more comfortable with him and what he can do, because his job was a lot harder when he first came in. He was a defensive end, now he is standing up playing linebacker. We know he can pass rush. What you have to do is move him around. You can do a lot of things to create pressure on their side. Now the offense has to figure out where he is and then they have to figure out if he is going to be [pass rushing]." As Orakpo continues to mature, I believe he will play more defensive end. Right now, he could get worn down quickly defending against the run as a defensive end. Give him some time in the Redskins' off-season strength and conditioning program so that he adapts to bigger NFL offensive linemen.

Question: I was at a USC game recently and I was wondering if we should get Taylor Mays in next year's draft. What do you think about the tandem of LaRon Landry and Mays, also rotating in Chris Horton or Reed Doughty? I think that is the answer.

-- Ronald C.

Gary: Wow, time for draft questions already? Mays, 6-3 and 230 pounds, plays free safety for the Trojans, so drafting him would allow the Redskins to move Landry closer to the line of scrimmage, where he can be more of a playmaker. Mays has drawn comparisons to the Arizona Cardinals' Adrian Wilson and the late Sean Taylor. Mays is projected as a high first-round pick. Looking ahead, the Redskins have plenty of needs--offensive line is chief among them-- and adding another defensive back in the first round would be a luxury. For that reason, I don't see Mays coming to Washington.

Question: How do I go about joining the Redskins Marching Band? I have six years of experience in marching bands playing the tuba/sousaphone.

-- Broderek S.

Gary: Spots in the prestigious Marching Band are not easy to come by. There are approximately 126 members and usually 4-6 slots open per year, depending on how many members decide to leave after a season ends. Personnel director Tony Cardenas sets up the auditions. Approximately 25 people try out each year. Qualifications are simple: you must be 18 years of age, you must play an instrument well and you must be able to march.

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