The Baltimore Ravens haven’t seemed to be too concerned in recent years about losing pass rushers, whether it was Za’Darius Smith, or more recently Matthew Judon and Yannick Ngakoue. One of the reasons that they rarely panic is because they, more than perhaps any other team, recognize that they have the entire calendar to rework their roster as necessary.
Such as bringing in veteran pass rusher Justin Houston in the middle of training camp, as they’ve done this year. The former Pro Bowler, who admits that he very nearly signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers before they were forced to ‘settle’ for Melvin Ingram, has seemed to fit right into their system, and has already become a mentor to their young first-round edge rusher, Odafe Oweh.
“He’s Yoda, man. He’s like Yoda”, the rookie outside linebacker told reporters recently when he was asked about his relationship with Houston. “He just knows everything, and I try to ask him questions about different sets, how to approach that, how to attack that, and he’ll have the answer right away”.
“I really appreciate that, because like I said, I’m new to the game, so I’m trying to pick up something different every single time”, he continued. “I try to work with him after practice – hands, just learning. Learning stuff and picking every little thing. With film too, how to take care of your body – just that vet mentality, being a pro and everything. So, he’s really helped me with everything”.
Oweh is an athletically elite prospect. Though he failed to register a sack last season in seven games, nobody really questions his ability to get after the passer. He is obviously going to continue to grow, and still has a lot to learn.
And now he has one of the most accomplished pass rushers in the game today at his service, ready to help him master his craft. That’s not a bad place to be at all, and really, that’s probably some of the most important work a young player can put in, is at the feet of a contemporary who has done it at a high level.
While Oweh is an incredible athlete, however, he will have to harness is game in order to really come into his own and live up to the potential that he possesses. For now, he will be able to make an impact with his pure speed and abilities, but he must also be a student of the game. It’s a good thing he has his Yoda.