Brian Orakpo: Roughing the passer should be reviewable

In the midst of the Texans’ win over the Redskins on Sunday, there were two roughing the passer penalties, one of which altered the course of the contest.

This got Brian Orakpo thinking.

“Maybe we should start reviewing those types of hits,” the Redskins linebacker said, via Sports Radio 610 in Houston. “Because those are real momentum type plays. Maybe we should review them and see where the target initially is.”

Both teams were flagged for roughing the passer — Texans safety D.J. Swearinger for hitting Robert Griffin III and Washington defensive lineman Jarvis Jenkins for popping Ryan Fitzpatrick.

The penalty on Jenkins proved costly, as it allowed Houston, up 14-6 in the fourth quarter, to burn clock and tack on a field goal, cementing victory.

Orakpo, impressively unbiased, doesn’t believe either hit should have drawn the laundry.

“Even the one for the Texans I thought wasn’t even a dirty hit,” he said.

It’s a good point, and something the NFL needs to consider rectifying. Roughing the passer penalties are momentum-shifting and game-changing in nature, and should only be called when it’s flagrant beyond a reasonable doubt. As Orakpo and the Redskins found out, it could mean the difference between winning and losing.

(Photo credit: AP/Richard Lipski)

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Zack Kelberman
An award-winning sportswriter, reporter and blogger, Zack currently serves as the Miami Dolphins live correspondent and Team Stream curator for Bleacher Report. He's also a freelance NFL writer and the founder/editor-in-chief of Helmet2Helmet. His work has appeared on media outlets such as ESPN, Sports Illustrated, FOX Sports,,, and Zack can be reached on Twitter (@ZackKelberman) or via email (