Thursday, August 30, 2012
Ojo makes case for spot on crowded D-line
By Kieran Darcy
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- In the ugliest of games, Adewale Ojomo gave Giants fans reason to smile.
The rookie defensive end continued his outstanding preseason, making the biggest play of the night -- a strip-sack of New England quarterback Brian Hoyer late in the fourth quarter, leading to the game-winning field goal in the New York Giants' 6-3 victory over the New England Patriots.
Adewale Ojomo racked up four sacks in the preseason.
"I don't consider myself a surprise," said Ojomo, who went undrafted out of the University of Miami. "Maybe to the coaches, but not to myself. I believe in God, first and foremost, and I believe in myself. And once you believe in those two things, it'll all work out for the best. That's my motto."
The Giants are well-stocked at defensive end, with three veteran stars at the position: Justin Tuck, Jason Pierre-Paul and Osi Umenyiora. But with those three sitting out the final game of the preseason, Ojomo took advantage of his opportunity, likely securing a spot on the Giants' 53-man regular-season roster.
"We had a chance to evaluate a lot of people," coach Tom Coughlin said. "Ojo continues to do some very nice things out there."
The 6-foot-4, 270-pounder is on one heck of a roll. After recording two sacks against the New York Jets on Aug. 18, he added another one against the Chicago Bears last week. Now he has a team-leading four, after his latest highlight-reel clip -- bursting off the line of scrimmage from the right side to force a fumble, recovered by teammate Marcus Thomas deep in New England territory with less than three minutes remaining.
"It's an Osi Umenyiora move," said Ojomo, when asked to describe the play. "Chop, club, then come around the edge."
It turns out Ojomo has been studying Umenyiora's moves since high school. "I don't want to make him feel old, but sometimes I make him feel kinda old," said Ojomo, laughing.
All jokes aside, Ojomo said he has benefited a great deal from being around the Giants' veteran D-line stars. "I just pay close attention to what those guys do, and try to model my game after those guys," he said. "Those guys are the best defensive line in the NFL, so it's hard not to take from those guys and be able to make plays."
The Giants must make their final roster cut down, from 75 players to 53, by Friday. Coughlin & Co. will have tough decisions to make, particularly on the defensive line.
Adrian Tracy -- the team's sixth-round draft pick in 2010 -- has also been compared to Umenyiora, even earning the nickname "Yosi" (Young Osi). But he missed the team's final three preseason games due to a hamstring injury.
Meanwhile, Ojomo and fellow rookie free agent Matt Broha (3.5 sacks) have taken full advantage of the situation. Broha had 1.5 sacks against the Pats on Wednesday night.
"Yeah, those two kids have really done a nice job the entire preseason," Coughlin said of Ojomo and Broha. "They played hard, they get after the quarterback pretty good, they have done a nice job in practice. ... They don't miss a thing. They have been a very pleasant surprise."
Ojomo said it would be "a great honor" to make the team. But don't be mistaken -- this confident 23-year-old, who only started 14 games in college, believes he belongs.
"I'm confident in myself, I'm confident in my abilities," Ojomo said. "I don't think I'm a fluke. I think I can go out each and every week, every Sunday, and do what I need to do."