Brian Orakpo

There were several former Texas Longhorn players who took part in the NFL action last week, mostly on the defensive side of the ball. Here’s how they did.

Brian Orakpo (Washington Redskins linebacker)

Orakpo recorded three tackles, two for a loss, along with a sack and two quarterback hits. In desperate need of a win to keep pace in the NFC East, the Redskins held a 24-14 halftime lead in Minnesota against the Vikings. But they went on to lose the game 34-27, falling to 3-6 in the season.

Lamaar Houston (Oakland Raiders defensive end)

Houston played a good game for the upset-minded Raiders. His six tackles — one for a loss — and one quarterback hit had the Raiders trailing the New York Giants at MetLife 21-20 going into the fourth quarter. As usual, Giants quarterback Eli Manning made a few clutch throws in the final frame to help the Giants to a 24-20 win.

Michael Griffin (Tennessee Titans safety)

Griffin’s six tackles weren’t good enough for the Titans to avoid the embarrassment of being the Jacksonville Jaguars’ first win of the year. Despite two interceptions by Jaguars quarterback Chad Henne, the Jags pulled this game out in Tennessee 29-27. Ouch.

Aaron Williams (Buffalo Bills safety/cornerback)

Williams tallied five tackles — one for a loss — and a pass deflection against Ben Roethlisberger’s Steelers in Pittsburgh. He and the Bills defense made things tough for the Steelers, as they only gained 300 total yards. Still, Pittsburgh won at home 23-10, handing the Bills a season-ending loss.

Kenny Vaccaro (New Orleans Saints safety)

Vaccaro’s three tackles and a pass breakup led to one of Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo’s toughest career days. The Dallas passing game was totally shut down, producing a pathetic 104 yards. That, combined with the Saints 625 total yards, led to New Orleans steamrolling the Cowboys at the Superdome 49-17.

Last week I circled both the Washington Redskins-Oakland Raiders and the Buffalo Bills-Baltimore Ravens games as the two to watch if you were interested in following some former Longhorn greats. Both of these contests lived up to the hype I put on them in my blog last Friday. Contrary to my predictions, the Redskins earned their first victory of the season, while the Bills upset the Ravens at home. Here’s a look at how some key former Longhorns performed for both teams, and other standout Texas performances from the week.

Brian Orakpo (Redskins defensive end)

I guess Orakpo heard me loud and clear last week. He had to play well and set an aggressive defensive tone for his team if the Redskins wanted to pick up their first win of the season. He did just that by providing suffocating pressure on Raiders quarterback Matt Flynn. Orakpo finished the game with four tackles with two for a loss, and two sacks. He spearheaded the Redskins’ defensive attack as they would tally a whopping seven sacks in the game. Overall his defensive did a nice job of limiting the Raiders to just 298 total yards and 14 points. That’s a nice way to set up a win.

Aaron Williams (Bills defensive back)

This is Williams’ second fantastic defensive week of the season. Quarterback Joe Flacco had possibly the worst game of his career and Williams and the Bills’ defense played no small part in his embarrassing afternoon. The Ravens’ defense forced five — that’s not a typo — five interceptions and from Flacco. Williams claimed two of these picks, while also finishing with two tackles and four pass breakups. Buffalo’s defense is starting to become a stingy unit. Williams has been, and will continue to be a major factor in its success as the season progresses.

Earl Thomas (Seahawks safety)

In typical fashion, Thomas brought energy and swagger to the Seahawks’ heroic defensive efforts in what was a potential Super Bowl preview against the Houston Texans. The defining play of the game was cornerback Richard Sherman’s pick six against quarterback Matt Schaub late in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 20. Thomas contributed on defense all throughout the game prior to that play. He pitched in seven tackles and two critical pass breakups from Matt Schaub. The result: The Seahawks remained unbeaten even after one of their toughest tests of the season. Quarterback Russell Wilson and the offense played poorly and still managed to win this game. That speaks volumes about the quality of Seattle’s defense.

For former Texas Longhorns, Week 2 of the NFL season was collectively one of the most impressive in recent memory.  Here's a recap of some of the great Longhorn performances this week, as well as a look ahead to their teams' matchup in Week 3.

Earl Thomas - Safety, Seattle Seahawks

Along with Seattle's deafening home crowd, Thomas was a large part of a phenomenal defensive effort against the potent 49ers' offense. He recorded three tackles and intercepted the 49ers’ Colin Kaepernick. This week the Seahawks will host the Jaguars. Expect Thomas and the Seahawks' secondary to perform well against struggling Jags quarterback Blaine Gabbert.

Brian Orakpo - Defensive End, Washington Redskins

Orakpo filled out his stat sheet nicely this week against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. Despite the Skins' 18-point loss, Orakpo's never-ceasing motor earned him five tackles, two for a loss, and a sack.This weekend he'll face another relatively immobile quarterback in the Lions' Matthew Stafford.

Aaron Williams - Cornerback, Buffalo Bills

The Bills fought hard for new head coach Doug Marone's first NFL victory against Carolina last week. Aaron Williams made a pretty bit difference in the Bills' secondary, as he made a game high 12 tackles including one for a loss. He's always been a lock down corner but sometimes had issues tackling. It appears he's corrected that problem since he left Texas.  This weekend, Geno Smith and the New York Jets await Williams, a great matchup.

Jermichael Finley - Tight End, Green Bay Packers

Finley had an effective outing last week against the Redskins. With Greg Jennings gone, Finley figures to be a bigger target for Rodgers going forward. His six catches for 65 yards and a touchdown last week certainly validates that claim. He and Rodgers will face a tough Cincinnati secondary next week.

Jamaal Charles - Running Back, Kansas City Chiefs

Compared to Charles' standards, last week's results weren't all that impressive: 16 carries for 55 yards, 3.4 yards per carry, is far below his career averages. But he made big runs when the Chiefs needed them the most. He ran for a key first down late in the fourth quarter to keep Dallas' offense off the field, sealing the win.

Former Longhorn Brian Orakpo, a two-time Pro Bowl outside linebacker, speaks to participants at his youth football camp at St. Michael’s Catholic Academy.

Photo Credit: Pu Ying Huang | Daily Texan Staff

For two days this past week, two-time Pro Bowl outside linebacker and former Longhorn Brian Orakpo held what he hopes to be the first of many youth football camps in Austin.

“I was really happy that we had such a good showing for my first camp in Austin,” Orakpo said. “I plan on continuing to sponsor camps and letting it grow.”

Safely tucked away among the rolling hills at St. Michael’s Catholic Academy, just west of the city limits, Orakpo offered his time to roughly 100 kids from the ages of 7-18 eager to soak up his vast football knowledge.

While he spends his time on the defensive side of the ball in the NFL, Orakpo was still able to assist young offensive-minded players as well.

“They’re able to run drills and have a good time, and that’s what it’s all about is the kids,” Orakpo said. “It’s a great thing to put on because it allows the kids to get better through practice and work on their technique.”

After splitting players into groups by position, Orakpo and several other coaches from around the state didn’t waste any time setting the tone of the camp. Orakpo could be seen taking a literal hands-on approach with many of the defensive linemen drills while offering them advice on techniques that have helped him in his time playing football at the highest level.

But for Orakpo it’s not only about helping kids better grasp the game of football.

“At the same time I’m out there helping out, I can work with coaches and other professionals to improve myself as well,” Orakpo said.

For the kids, however, it wasn’t all about work. Orakpo took a short intermission from drills and sprints and signed autographs for everyone in attendance.

While he rested his hand in between signing footballs and posters, Orakpo took a moment to talk about the upcoming NFL season. After finishing last season with a 5-11 record, Orakpo and the Washington Redskins are looking to make a move in the NFC East and make the playoffs for the first time in five years.

“I’m excited about the future of the Redskins,” Orakpo said. “We’ve got a lot of young guys in Washington, it’s like our own youth movement.”

Part of that youth movement includes former Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III who was selected second overall in this year’s NFL Draft. Orakpo and Griffin have a bit of history playing against each other, with Orakpo and the Longhorns claiming bragging rights with a 45-21 win at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium back in 2008.

“Robert is ready for the season to start and to get out there with the rest of us,” Orakpo said.

This will be the first season that Orakpo and Griffin play on the same team, but another former Longhorn also joins the Redskins’ defensive ranks this year. Keenan Robinson was selected in the fourth round and will likely find himself backing up Orakpo.

“All the guys are ready and amped up about this year,” Orakpo said. “July 26 is when we start training camp and the entire team is ready for the new year and what it has to offer.”