All preseason, Brian Orakpo proved to be a quick study, playing with speed and ferociousness especially as a pass rusher.
In the Redskins' regular season opener against the New York Giants last Sunday, Orakpo had to slow down.
Just for a moment.
The speed of the game caught up to the Redskins' top draft pick.
"It was very different from preseason because the speed of the game picked up a notch," Orakpo said. "This is where everything counts, wins, losses, stats. Everybody plays harder, runs harder and blocks harder."
Orakpo started his first game, rare for a rookie in a Greg Blache defense, and recorded two tackles.
Greg Blache had warned Orakpo about the speed of regular season games.
"The thing that happened to Brian that happens to all rookies in the first ball game is that the speed of the game is 10 times more than you ever imagined," Blache said. "You play in the preseason and you say I can play in this league but on Sunday of the opener the intensity and speed is at a whole different dimension than he has ever dreamed of before in his life.
"He was nervous and antsy, but I thought for a rookie it was good he got it out of the way. He will play better this week. This is part of his maturity process that is part of him becoming a great pro."
Orakpo expects to play at a comfort level in this Sunday's game against the St. Louis Rams.
"I can slow down and not have so many things going through my head like I did the first game," Orakpo said. "It was the first game of the regular season and there was so much anticipation and anxiety going through my mind.
"This game, I can learn from all that and go out there and make the plays that I expect from myself."
-- BLACHE TACKLES HAYNESWORTH QUESTION
All this week, there were questions about Albert Haynesworth and his playing time in Sunday's game against the New York Giants.
Greg Blache said the defensive tackle rotation, with Haynesworth, Cornelius Griffin, Kedric Golston and Lorenzo Alexander in the mix, was about what he expected.
"In the first ball game, the intensity level is up much higher so you expect to play more guys," Blache said. "The excitement of the first game, the speed of the first game and the guys are antsy before they go, and they are running since early in the morning."
Haynesworth and Griffin both posted four tackles in the Giants game.
-- IN GOOD HEALTH
For the second week in a row, the Redskins are fielding a mostly healthy team.
The team listed just two players on its Thursday injury report after listing two last week for the season opener.
Chris Samuels was limited in practice so that he could give his knee a rest. Anthony Montgomery was also limited after patella tendonitis flared up on him.
"Other than that, we worked through practice pretty well," Jim Zorn said.