During training camp, Ravens second-year outside linebacker Odafe Oweh looked every part of a player on the verge of a breakout season, using his speed and strength to wreak havoc on nearly every snap.
Oweh’s solid rookie season and preseason performance set him up to be a core piece for a Baltimore defense that hasn’t produced a Pro Bowl player since cornerback Marlon Humphrey in 2017. But through the first two games of the 2022 season, Oweh didn’t. looked like “monster” Humphrey, mentioned after last year’s home win against the Cleveland Browns, recorded just five tackles and zero sacks.
“[Oweh] “We all have to play better,” coach John Harbaugh said. “We’ve got to coach better, play better, and you’ve got to make a name for yourself out there. You’ve got to go do it.”
Oh’s prowess last season was hard to miss. The former Penn State standout contributed to the league’s best run defense, totaling 33 tackles (five for loss), five sacks and 15 quarterback hits.
He stepped up when it mattered most, recording four sacks, eight quarterback hits and three forced fumbles in five primetime games. The first-round draft pick made an immediate impact, forcing running back Clyde Edwards-Hillier late in the fourth quarter of the Ravens’ Week 2 victory over Kansas City. During the Ravens’ overtime win over the Indianapolis Colts in Week 5, Oweh intercepted quarterback Carson Wentz in the red zone late in the first quarter, ending a promising 11-play drive.
after the 15 games of experience and offseason shoulder surgery That allowed Oweh to play without braces for the first time since high school, and he entered his sophomore campaign with high expectations under first-year defensive coordinator Mike McDonald, who Oweh said He lets her be herself.
“He’s got to be a guy that can go to quarterback when we need him,” McDonald said during training camp.
However, the man has not yet appeared.
Oh has yet to record a sack or a quarterback hit through two games, but he’s getting close. In the season-opening win over the New York Jets, Owa had five quarterback hurries as the Ravens sacked Joe Flacco three times. In a Week 2 loss to the Miami Dolphins, Owa had three hurries, but Baltimore sacked quarterback Tua Tagovailoa just once as he led a 21-point fourth-quarter comeback for 469 yards and six touchdowns. Pass to do.
Through two games, the Ravens are near the bottom of the league in sacks (four) and pressure rate (20.4%) while allowing the most passing yards (768) and touchdowns (seven) in the NFL.
When the Ravens need a pass rusher to generate pressure, they often fail. According to On Pro Football Focus, Oweh has 35 rushes this season on “true pass sets” — excluding fewer than four pass rushers, play-action passes, screens, short dropbacks and passes with less than two seconds to throw. There is time – and there are six pressures. Teammate Justin Houston has a pair of sacks on those reps, but only three pressures on 35 rushes in a “true pass set.”
Lacking depth at outside linebacker, the Ravens have asked a lot from Houston and Oh (Steven Manns recently suffered a torn Achilles tendon while Tyce Bowser and rookie David Ojabo are recovering from the same injury. have been). Houston, 33, played 49 snaps (69%) against Miami, while Oweh played 58 snaps (82%).
“It’s a tough blow,” Ooh said of the lack of healthy edge rushers. “But we knew it was going to be like this. We’ve just got to be more conditioned.”
Unlike last year, Ooh said opponents have more film on him, so they can evaluate what he does well and plan accordingly. According to ESPN, Oweh is one of the most double-teamed edge defenders in the NFL, drawing more attention than Los Angeles Chargers stars Joey Bosa and Las Vegas Raiders’ Max Crosby, who combined for 18 1 last season. / worked together for 2 sacks. .
“They know what I’m good at,” Oh said. “But that’s no excuse. You learn to have a counter to everything, so I’m working on that.”
After the Ravens’ loss to the Dolphins, Harbaugh said he had breakfast with Oh, and they had a “great conversation” about working harder and getting ready for Sunday’s game against the New England Patriots.
“It’s really every aspect of the position,” Harbaugh said. “The biggest thing is that process leads to production. Come in every day, take care of business, keep it simple, let’s not overthink everything. Start with our stance and our alignment, and we’ll be there.” will go from
Oweh said he’s hard on himself, but that mentality made him an NFL player. He knows he can be great, and so does Harbaugh.
“He is very determined, [he] Wants to be great,” Harbaugh said.
Sunday, 1 p.m
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line: Ravens by 2 1/2
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