OWINGS MILLS, MD.
Odafe Oweh has already shown he is ready for the big stage.
The Baltimore rookie was fired in his very first NFL game. Then the following weekend, he forced a late fumble – and recovered it – to save the Ravens in a win over Kansas City.
He had another sack last week in a win over Denver, and now Penn State‘s first-round pick is aiming for the Ravens’ next challenge, Monday night’s game against Indianapolis.
“I think I have adjusted quite well for a rookie,” Oweh said. “Obviously I can improve myself, in terms of reading everything and playing a little faster, but I feel like my athleticism helps me in a lot of spaces, where a lot of other rookies should have. bad – stuff like that, but there’s always room for improvement, and I’ll get better as the games go.
The Ravens had two first-round picks this year: Oweh and wide receiver Rashod Bateman. Baltimore is still waiting for Bateman to make his debut. He came out with groin problems.
Oweh was brought in to help Baltimore rush after the Ravens lost Matt Judon, Yannick Ngakoue and Jihad Ward in free agency. Oweh didn’t have a sack during Penn State’s truncated 2020 season, but he had seven in his first two seasons with the Nittany Lions and already has a couple for Baltimore.
“I always tell him to stay humble and keep working,” Ravens linebacker Justin Houston said. “The sky is the limit for this kid.”
In Baltimore’s victory in Denver last week, Oweh knocked out quarterback Teddy Bridgewater from the game with a hit.
“It’s a hard-hitting game, but I had no bad intentions of trying to knock him out of the game or trying to make sure he didn’t play football for the rest of the game,” said Oweh. “There weren’t any bad intentions, but our mentality is basically to try to be the defense of the Ravens – to bring physicality – and to do whatever we need to do safely, without penalties, and just trying to play hard-hitting football. “
Pro Football Focus ranks Oweh 23rd in the NFL among edge defenders, one spot behind fellow rookie – and former Penn State teammate – Micah Parsons of the Dallas Cowboys. Also in that lineup at No.28 is another Big Ten rookie, Colts’ Kwity Paye. Paye, a first-round pick from Michigan, was ruled out of that game against Oweh and the Ravens with a hamstring injury.
Interestingly, Oweh’s PFF ranking is much higher – fourth among edge defenders – against the run. He says it’s important for him to be a player every time.
“This is my goal,” he said. “Since the first year, when they were trying to make me a pass-rush specialist, I hate it. I don’t like doing that. So, I try to make sure I’m good at every phase.
Oweh has certainly been fortunate enough to appear in front of a national audience. Baltimore’s first two games this season were on a Monday night and Sunday night, and now the Ravens are back on Monday night against the Colts.
Not that Oweh seems too preoccupied with attention.
“I think he’s a humble kid, who works hard and tries to improve every day, and I think that’s one of the best traits he has,” said the Ravens defensive coordinator. , Don Martindale. every Sunday, or in this case, Monday evening, to see the rest. But he’s done everything we asked him to do, and he’s reaping rewards (for) executing defenses and rushing passes and everything in between. It was awesome.