October 19, 2009
Baltimore Ravens rookie tackle Michael Oher(notes) has played exceedingly well so far this season. Yesterday, though, he faced a very stiff challenge from Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jared Allen(notes), who's in the conversation for 2009 defensive MVP, if not outright MVP.
How'd it go? Well, let's ask the competitors. What say you, Michael Oher? From BaltimoreSun.com:
"In the second half, I feel like I shut him out," Oher said. "There is nothing really special about him. I think if we played them [in Baltimore], it would make a big difference. The false starts were just mistiming the snap." [...]
"I think he found out I'm an OK player," Oher said. "Guy makes like $100 million. I think I did all right."
Care to retort, Mr. Allen? Via Pro Football Talk:
"Well that's just some idiot trying to talk himself up," Allen said. "I beat that dude like a red-headed stepchild, let's be honest. If he was so good why did they have to chip me all day? Ask him that.
"That's just a rookie trying to build his self-confidence up. Besides, you lost and your quarterback spent his whole day on the back of his head until the fourth quarter. That guy [Oher] will watch film today and realize. Everybody else in the world saw me abuse him."
So what's the truth of the matter? Most observers, I believe, would give the individual matchup to Allen, but it sort of depends on how you're judging. Allen had six-and-a-half sacks in five games previous to this one, and Oher allowed him just one. Oher did commit a couple of false starts, though, and Allen did spend his share of time in the Ravens' backfield.
When you consider Allen's dominance so far in 2009, though, I think it would also be fair to say that Oher played him better than a lot of tackles out there would have. Factor in that Oher's a rookie, and that that was just his second game at left tackle, and I say he grades out fan-freaking-tastically.
Then again, I'm biased, because I find Oher about 750,000 times more likeable than Allen. Really, I wish they'd both pipe down. Oher eventually will be the kind of tackle who can completely house anyone, but he's not there yet. Allen is currently the kind of defensive end who can dominate anyone, so he can calm down about beating a rookie.
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