Ti­tans line­backer duo rank 2nd in NFL with 17 com­bined sacks

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -


Der­rick Mor­gan is hav­ing the best sea­son in his sev­enth year in the NFL, while Brian Orakpo on the other side of Ten­nessee’s de­fen­sive line is just two sacks shy of match­ing his ca­reer high. To­gether, the Ti­tans lineback­ers are tak­ing down quar­ter­backs as good as any duo in the NFL. Mor­gan has eight sacks, while Orakpo has nine for a to­tal of 17. Only Cliff Avril (10) and Frank Clark (71/2) of Seat­tle have more com­bined sacks, and that’s by just a half sack.

“Those two guys right there are game-chang­ers, and when those two are rolling there’s no­body out there that can stop them,” Ti­tans de­fen­sive line­man Jur­rell Casey said. “So it’s re­ally hard for an of­fen­sive line to con­tain ei­ther one of them. And when you get guys like that rush­ing off the edge, it makes the game a lot eas­ier for the guys in the mid­dle and for the se­condary, makes the game 10 times eas­ier for them.” Mor­gan, the Ti­tans’ first-round pick in 2010 out of Ge­or­gia Tech, and Orakpo now find them­selves in a race to see who can be­come the first Ten­nessee player to pile up dou­ble-digit sacks since Casey had 101/2 in 2013.

“That’s any edge de­fender’s goal is to get to dou­ble dig­its,” Mor­gan said. “That’d be some­thing spe­cial if we were both able to get to dou­ble dig­its and fin­ish off the year strong.” Orakpo had 11 sacks as a rookie with Wash­ing­ton in 2011 and had 10 in 2013 also with the Red­skins. This al­ready marks his best sea­son since then, and Orakpo al­ready has 32 quar­ter­back pres­sures with five games left - five shy of what he to­taled all of last sea­son. Padding the sack level to 10 or higher is much more spe­cial since the quar­ter­back winds up on the ground. “Oh, that’d be huge not only for me and him be­cause of how hard we work to­gether since day one, but for this fran­chise and or­ga­ni­za­tion.” Orakpo said. “I love work­ing with the guy. We both bring it. We both com­ple­ment each other very well.” The Ti­tans (5-6), who visit Chicago (2-8) to­mor­row, haven’t had this kind of pro­duc­tion from a de­fen­sive duo since 2010 when Jason Babin (121/2) and Dave Ball (seven) com­bined for 191/2 sacks. De­fen­sive end Jevon Kearse (141/2) and line­backer Ed­die Robin­son (six) com­bined for 201/2 sacks in 1999 when this fran­chise reached its lone Su­per Bowl. — AP

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