Odom on a tear
September, 23, 2009
By James Walker | ESPN.com
Posted by ESPN.com’s James Walker
CINCINNATI -- For most of us, packing on an extra 30 pounds is rarely a good idea.
But for Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Antwan Odom, it was exactly what he needed.
|AP Photo/Mike Roemer|
|Bengals defensive end Antwan Odom is crediting his extra muscle for his high sack total this season.|
After a disappointing, injury-plagued season in 2008, Odom took it upon himself to get bigger to increase his strength and durability. Now listed at 280 pounds, Odom credits the added bulk and muscle as the biggest reason he’s on a tear this season and leading the NFL with seven sacks in two games.
"It helped me a lot and I can tell a big difference in my performance," Odom said. "It was something that I wanted to do on my own, because last year I was getting pushed around and I stayed banged-up last year. A little weight helps."
Odom says it’s his goal to try to get two sacks per game. So far he’s hit that number and is averaging 3.5 sacks per game, although no one expects Odom to continue that type of torrid pace.
Odom physically dominated the Green Bay Packers during last week’s 31-24 Bengals victory. He registered five sacks and the performance earned him NFL Defensive Player of the Week honors.
The Bengals (1-1) will need another great performance Sunday against the reigning champion Pittsburgh Steelers (1-1). It appears to be a favorable matchup as Cincinnati leads the NFL in team sacks with nine and the Steelers allowing six sacks in the first two games. But Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is listed at 241 pounds and is very good at extending plays for big gains.
"You just can’t get frustrated," Odom said. "It’s just his physical build. And he’s pretty athletic and knows how to avoid the pressure. He also makes plays outside the pocket."
How well the Bengals pressure Roethlisberger this week could play a big factor in Sunday’s game.