Los Angeles Rams outside linebacker Obo Okoronkwo put together a bit of a breakout performance in the 24-10 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 8, earning his first career sacks.
The Rams have noticeably shorthanded on the defensive side of the ball after suffering multiple key injuries in recent weeks. As a result, they have essentially been forced to rely on the younger depth on their roster with linebacker Clay Matthews, cornerback Aqib Talib and safety John Johnson III all sidelined.
Fortunately, Okoronkwo certainly did his part to help pick up the slack in place of Matthews on the edge after registering two tackles and 1.5 sacks against the Bengals. It appears he also managed to earn the praise of defensive tackle Aaron Donald in the process.
Donald was happy to see Okoronkwo’s efforts in practice finally show up for him in the game, via Gary Klein of the Los Angeles Times:
“He’s just relentless,” defensive tackle Aaron Donald said. “He’s a fast guy and gets off the edge with speed. He’s relentless on stunts and he’s going 100 miles per hour.
“That’s how he goes at practice and that’s how you do it in a game. It paid big for him.”
Okoronkwo added that playing alongside the likes of a player like Donald’s caliber helps make his job a bit easier.
“I got to rush with some of the best pass rushers I’ve watched,” he said. “Being down there with them definitely slows the game down and makes it a lot more fun.”
It is certainly encouraging to see that Okoronkwo seems to be finding his footing thanks to the recent uptick in playing time. His career got off to a rocky start after he was sidelined with a foot injury and placed on the physically unable to perform list prior to the 2018 NFL season, which made it difficult to etch out any kind of role on defense during his rookie year.
However, the 24-year-old has managed to take full advantage of his opportunities this time around after dialing up the first sacks of his career. If he can continue to produce at a consistent level, Okoronkwo could very well maintain a healthy dosage of snaps even when Matthews makes his return.
It is safe to say that Donald is also happy to see his teammates capitalize on the attention that he garners from opposing offensive lineman. That was certainly the case this time around after he and Okoronkwo helped bring quarterback Andy Dalton down five times.
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