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I know I raised some eyebrows recently when I suggested that defensive tackle Jared Odrick might very well be this team’s MVP over the first half of the season. But I truly believe it. I look at this player and I see a measure of consistency that few have shown and a level of productivity that is impossible to ignore.
Bottom Line: You watch Odrick each game, you carefully evaluate the impact he is having, and you quickly come to the conclusion that he is enjoying a beast of a season. Pro Bowl? Could very well happen.
So let’s visit the world of Jared Odrick. It’s usually a nice world, a fun world, certainly an interesting world. He is having his best season in the NFL, has adjusted so well to the move from defensive end to defensive tackle and seems to be playing with a real sense of confidence and purpose.
This is a former first-round pick (2010) who has proven well worthy of that status. But look past the numbers and what you’ll see is a very unusual man, a likeable man, a man who runs the gamut of descriptions: Intense. Light-hearted. Committed. Diverse. Fun-loving. Intellectual. Introspective.
Sometimes he’ll look at you with those deep eyes as if he’s burning a hole through your question. Then, the next minute, he’ll make you laugh, make you think about something you just said, make you believe that Jared Odrick may just be the smartest person in the room.
So what was is it like sacking Tom Brady, not once but two times up in New England.
“Brady?” Odrick responded, a few days before the Cincinnati game. “I’m just thinking about Andy Dalton. I’ve already forgotten about that game.”
A heartbeat later, he’ll look you in the eye and smile. “Yeah, sacking Brady was fun.”
Given how well he is playing this season – the 3 ½ sacks, the way he devours running backs — I asked Odrick how much better he can get. “I don’t like placing ceilings on myself,” he responded.
So I turned to his Pee Wee Herman routine, the one he does after each sack, and asked him if that’s the kid in him coming out.
“Let’s get this straight,” he said. “We just went from how good am I going to be to tapping into my childhood. Where are you going with this?”
Suddenly, I was playing defense. I wasn’t sure if I was being scolded or teased until Odrick scratched his beard and mumbled, “just kidding.”
But what about the Pee Wee Herman routine? A man as creative as Odrick can’t stay with the same celebratory shtick for too long, can he?
“I’m not sure what to do with that,” he said. “I’ve been thinking about switching it up a little. Don’t get me wrong. I like doing it, but I also want to keep people guessing. I’ll do it as long as I enjoy dong it. I have no idea what’s next, but I may switch it up in a year or two.”
It really isn’t any great secret as to why Odrick is performing so well this season, his fourth in the league. He is at home again at defensive tackle. While he didn’t complain playing defensive end, it is clear this is where he wanted to reside, where he feels most comfortable, a position where he can use his strength, his speed and his smarts.
“It’s all about putting a person in the right situation for him,” Odrick said. “I have felt comfortable at defensive tackle my entire life. They asked me to move back inside and I was gung-ho. Why wouldn’t I be?”
Odrick’s impact can’t be measured by statistics. You need to look closer. You need to see how many times he forces a play in a different direction, how many times he sets up a tackle for a linebacker, how many times he disrupts a quarterback’s rhythm. There is so much more to this player than a menacing look and a playful sack dance.
Said Odrick: “If you ask any of my friends or family they will tell you that I don’t like talking about stats. I don’t like hearing what people say about me. I don’t read the articles or watch the shows. I just go. I just do my thing. I just keep fighting until the whistle blows. That’s what I’m about. That’s what I’ve always been about.”
An interesting man, that Jared Odrick. And a very important player on the Miami Dolphins defense.
On Friday, AC in the AM takes a look at some of the NFL’s more interesting first half storylines.
The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed by The Finsiders Blog represent those of individual writers, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions, policies or desires of the Miami Dolphins organization, front office, coaches and executives. Writers' views are formulated independently from any inside information and/or conversation with Dolphins officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.
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