So Antwan Odom is out. Oh no. How will the Bengals ever recover? Is it even possible to come back from such a loss? How did the Texans find his one weak spot? After all, this guy was the breakout star of a breakout defense. The story for the Bengals had always been "Great O, No D." Now, their defense was playing well. When outsiders came to search for a reason, this guy they'd never heard of who had eight sacks through or four, or as the case may be, five games seemed like the most likely candidate.
Well, I'm here to say, this team can certainly survive without Antwan Odom. I know he's far from the best source, but check out this article only 7 months ago by ESPN.com's James Walker. He calls Odom the fifth worst signing in the history of the AFC North. Honestly, it looked as bad or worse. Odom wasn't a star in Tennessee. That title fell on Albert Haynesworth and Kyle Vanden Bosch. Odom faced single teams every week, and wasn't exactly able to take advantage often. He had 12.5 sacks in 52 games, or about a quarter of a sack per game. Last year, he had three sacks in 12 games.
Ohhh, but this year was different, right? He added 30 pounds! He was over his foot injury! He was leading the league in sacks! All true. He did have eight sacks in five games, but five of those came in one game. Those five sacks didn't come against a Pro Bowl left tackle. They came against Daryn Colledge, who is a left guard forced into playing left tackle due to injury. Take a look for yourself. Five sacks is five sacks, and it's impressive. But did any of those sacks look like a dominating effort? Think of Dwight Freeney, Jared Allen, DeMarcus Ware, and other similar great pass rushers. They use a combination of speed, power, finesse moves, and nonstop effort to get to the quarterback. Can you honestly say that Odom is anywhere in their league?
Really, if I had told you before the season started that Bengals fans would bemoan the loss of Antwan Odom, would you have believed me? What if Chad Clifton doesn't get hurt, and Odom gets two sacks against the Packers instead of five? He'd have five on the season, including one in the last four games. Does anybody even discuss his injury then? I'd imagine the case is no.
The Bengals can survive without Antwan Odom. They'll miss him, but they'll miss him a lot less than national media hacks and a lot of others realize it. So file this away, just in case the Bengals go 7-9 and we hear certain front office people talk about just how darn unlucky the Bengals got in '09 and how '10 will be different.