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BJ Ojulari beefed up, changed some running techniques entering Year 2

Second-year outside linebacker BJ Ojulari is a player the Arizona Cardinals hope to count on to improve in 2024 after a slow-progressing rookie season.

He finished 2023 with four sacks, all after Week 7, and saw his role increase by the end of the season.

Entering his second season, he is bigger, stronger and runs a little differently.

He was listed at 248 pounds as a rookie and was challenged by head coach Jonathan Gannon to “get a little stronger and stay healthy.”

He did that.

“I think he’s added a little bit of muscle, a little bit of weight,” Gannon said on Monday. “The strength staff has done a good job with him.

“He’s done a good job of beefing up a little bit. I think that’s helping him at the point of attack. The more force you can apply into the ground or into your opponent, you’re better off and he’s doing a good job of that.”

Ojulari said he “definitely gained more weight,” noting he is in the 250-pound range and even got close to 260, although he is “dialing back a little bit” so he is both more comfortable and can “have that power aspect” of his role as an edge defender.

He said it was probably 8-10 pounds he added.

After dealing with injuries last offseason that kept him off the field mostly during the offseason program, he followed his program in the weight room to stay healthy and has even changed his running style. He was a “long strider” and the staff has worked on him shortening that because long striders tend to be more susceptible to hamstring injuries.

With the growth, Ojulari believes he can be a double-digit sack player.

After the team leader had only six last season and the team only had one total sack over the final six weeks, if Ojulari can make that happen, it will be big for the team.

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Story originally appeared on Cards Wire