Rookies, especially undrafted ones, tend to be a bit understated this time of year.
Not Adewale Ojomo, he of the three sacks in the past two preseason games.
“I wouldn’t say surprised. I just believe in myself, believe in the coaching I get from (defensive line) coach Robert Nunn and what these guys are teaching me,” the Giants’ defensive end said yesterday when asked about his production. “I wouldn’t be surprised if I went out and had a couple more sacks this week.”
It’s the final week of the preseason, when roster hopefuls such as Ojomo become the story while the starters slip into the background and get ready for the regular season. Given Wednesday’s matchup with the Cowboys is the earliest opening game in NFL history (as far as the day of the week, that is), the Giants’ starters will probably take it as easy as they ever have.
That means more time for Ojomo, who has been one of the more impressive third- and fourth-quarter players for the Giants this preseason and is pushing for a roster spot along with fellow undrafted free agent Matt Broha.
“Good effort players, young, very green, but show flashes of talent and have done that in games, with consistency, too,” Tom Coughlin said yesterday of the two players, adding this about Ojomo: “He’s been around the ball, yeah, he’s got to the quarterback. And Broha pretty close much of the time, too.”
Ojomo had two sacks against the Jets and, according to defensive tackle Carlton Powell, his constant pressure was the main reason Tim Tebow started screaming at his blockers. On Friday against the Bears, Ojomo recorded another sack when he chased down a scrambling Jason Campbell.
All of this production might only be good enough for the former Miami Hurricane to land on the practice squad, especially if the team holds onto Adrian Tracy, the impressive former sixth-round pick who is currently sidelined with a hamstring injury.
Ojomo isn’t exactly doing the math on the available jobs to be had.
“Well, once you start noticing those numbers and pay attention to those types of things, that’s when your production goes down and that’s when things don’t go right,” Ojomo said. “So you just keep going, people want to see consistency, people want to see what you’re going to do. They don’t want to see a flash. There are plenty of guys who flash and don’t continue doing it.”
Ojomo had only 1½ sacks in his final season in Miami after recording five in 2010. He missed the previous season because of jaw surgery.
Now, he’s getting after the quarterback, thanks to an unselfish group of veteran pass rushers who don’t mind sharing tips and tricks.
“The mentality you’ve got to have,” Ojomo said when asked what he’s learned from those players. “When to be aggressive, when not to be aggressive, when to use certain moves in certain situations.”
Such as when he hesitated for a moment on a stunt against the Jets. The pause resulted in his going unblocked all the way to a sack of Tebow for a 15-yard loss.
“He’s in with a group of defensive linemen very much akin to getting after the quarterback,” Coughlin said of Ojomo’s budding pass-rush skills. “You hear the banter between those guys and you can’t help but want to be excited about maybe being a part of that.”