Odafe Oweh shouldn't be a difficult name to pronounce. It takes five whole syllables from beginning to end.
The rookie Baltimore Ravens defensive end and reigning AFC Defensive Player of the Week decided on draft night to no longer go by his middle name, Jayson, but instead embrace his Nigerian roots and be known by his real first name.
And if folks are still finding difficulty in saying his name, that's on them.
"I wanted to make a statement where you're going to have to learn to pronounce my name," Oweh told me by phone Thursday before practice. "So people are going to go through the beginning stages struggling to pronounce it, but hopefully by God's grace when I continue to make plays, it becomes a name where it comes to a point where if you're mispronouncing it, why don't you know? So by God's grace I hope that's the situation in a few years."
I don't think it's going to take a few years at this rate.
Through two games Oweh has a sack, a quarterback hit that led to an interception and a forced fumble on "Monday Night Football" that shifted the game in favor of the Ravens and away from the Chiefs.
It's the sort of production that earns you conference-wide honors and creeps your name into early Defensive Rookie of the Year discussions. And it's also the sort of production that was missing from his resume last year when he came out of Penn State. After collecting seven sacks through his first two seasons with the Nittany Lions, Oweh put up a doughnut in the sacks category in seven games last year.
"I'm very happy I got it out of the way the first game," Oweh says. "That was definitely a big monkey off my back when I got that because it's something that's been on the back of my shoulders ever since, really my last college game and then leading up to the whole draft process and then the draft. So just to get that out the first game, that's God's timing. I'm very grateful I got that."
The lack of sack production never concerned the Ravens, certainly not after Oweh wowed at his pro day with his 4.36-second 40. Ravens GM Eric DeCosta saw an aggressive, fast and disruptive player on tape. So, too, did former Ravens GM and current EVP Ozzie Newsome, who told defensive coordinator Wink Martindale before the draft that Oweh had what the defense was looking for.
"I can remember back in the spring before the draft, Ozzie told me you need to watch this 99 from Penn State. He's a Raven," Martindale told reporters this week. "It's those traits that we all look for in Baltimore and he checked every one of those boxes."
The Ravens took Oweh with the No. 31 pick in the draft — the one they got from Kansas City in the Orlando Brown Jr. trade — and later that night, Oweh announced his name change. He had gone by Jayson for nearly a decade because people always mispronounced his name. No more, he said.
"I have a good amount of Nigerian following so a lot of people were very pleased I made that switch, and I was really trying to embrace my Nigerian culture, just bring light to the talent that the country has," says Oweh, who was born and raised in New Jersey but whose parents are native Nigerians. "I got a lot of people hitting me up about that. I have a lot of friends who know me just as Odafe and friends who know me just as Jayson. Everyone was just proud that I made that move, that I tried to embrace myself and be myself."
Oweh said this week has been "the craziest week of my life" with all the attention. He's thankful yet humble, knowing he needs to go prove it again this week against the Lions.
And I sense a chip still on Oweh's shoulder, as though he filed away all that was said after the draft about the Ravens using their first-round pick on a workout warrior who couldn't get a sack. He's not finished.
"Just prove my worth," he says when asked what his goals for this season are. "Prove that the pick that the Ravens got for me was worth it. And just to show I'm not a project. I can make an impact right away. I'm going to continue to get better every year and I'm just getting better every single time I play the game."
Montana on Brady
"…There's a lot of plays and hits happening on quarterbacks now that are flags for defensive players that probably weren't that way 10 or 15 years ago," Brady said. "I'd say the game is a little softer than it used to be. I think defensive players are more on the defensive when they go in to tackle. I think that's probably adding to this element of quarterbacks outside the pocket taking more chances than they did in the past."
I can't find any lie in what Brady said, but it's those same rule changes he's lamenting that have gone a long way to helping him play at age 44. On Thursday I spoke with Joe Montana for a CBS Sports HQ interview that he did on behalf of Guinness. Among the topics we discussed were if he played under the rules today and had the diet and nutrition information of 2021, might his career have gone beyond retirement at age 38?
"I still think when I retired I could have played a couple more years, even with the physical part of the game being the way it was. After I retired I kicked myself," Montana told me. "It became more the physical part for me. I looked at myself and had another concussion and a couple other injuries. I looked at my family and I just wanted to be healthy when I got out of there.
"The rules have changed so if it was like that back then maybe it would have been different for my decision. At that point in time, I was still playing at a high level and had a great team I was playing with. I look back and say, 'Why'd I do that?' And then my wife reminds me of the concussions. I've had 27 surgeries.
"I think I made a good choice for me but yeah, these guys are going to play a long time."
Foles trade on the horizon?
From a football standpoint, a Nick Foles-Frank Reich reunion makes too much sense. If it winds up happening, it probably won't be next week, but I think it should.
The Colts have a playoff-contending team that can't contend for the playoffs with Jacob Eason and/or Brett Hundley at starting quarterback. Carson Wentz hasn't been 100 percent since the first week of August, and the Colts have to hedge against a reaggravation at some point.
Sam Ehlinger, the preferred No. 2 quarterback, suffered a sprained knee in the preseason finale and still has a couple of weeks left in his rehab. Plus, he's still just a rookie.
The Bears wouldn't part with Foles, who will be QB2 on Sunday, until Andy Dalton returns to health. But once Dalton is back, Foles becomes tradeable. A reasonable deal would be a late-round pick from Indy to Chicago for Foles, who'd probably have to rework his deal in some way for the Colts to take him on.
Wentz's psyche has to be considered and bringing Foles in could impact that. But Reich has to be more concerned with getting back to the playoffs than hurt feelings. The NFL trade deadline isn't until Nov. 2, so there's still time, but the Colts should look to fortify the QB position with someone who knows the playbook through and through.
Matt Ryan knows the deal
Whether you want to call it a rebuild or a team in transition, the Falcons are a young team with a first-year head coach and first-year GM that sit at 0-2 in a gotta-have-it game this week against the Giants. Ryan's job is to motivate the entire team, and he allowed that he had to adjust his leadership style this season with such a young team around him.
But Ryan and the Falcons can't wait much longer to turn this ship around.
"The one thing that I've learned playing a long time is that it's just about getting hot at the right time. It's not the most talented teams I've been a part of that always ended up in the playoffs or making a push to the Super Bowl. It's about timing," Ryan told me. "I think you've got to gradually improve as the year goes on and then get hot at the right time, and I think we've got enough pieces to do that. But we certainly have to get that momentum going right now. Obviously dropping the first two games is tough and we want to chip our way back into it, but I think we've got enough pieces to be a really relevant team late in the year."
The Falcons have the Giants, Football Team and Jets the next three weeks before a Week 6 bye. By my count, they have eight playoff contenders in the following nine weeks. In my opinion, Atlanta won't have a chance of contending this season if it isn't 3-2 going into the bye. So now's the time for the Falcons to get hot so they can be relevant come December.
Week 3 picks
After an 11-5 week I was feeling pretty good and thought I'd do even better. But a few games tripped me up last week to go 10-6. (I left off the Saints-Panthers game on these picks last week, but in truth I picked the Saints to win that one so it's 10-6.) That makes me 21-11 on the young season. I took Carolina on Thursday night against the Davis Mills-led Texans.
Chargers at Chiefs
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET
TV: CBS | Stream: Paramount+ (click here)
Ever since I saw the Chargers last month at camp I knew this would be a team to compete with the Chiefs. Unfortunately for L.A., its facing a Chiefs team coming off its first September loss in the Mahomes Era that was easily avoidable. Kansas City will seek to clean up its play and make a statement in this game.
The pick: Chiefs
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET
TV: Fox | Stream: fuboTV (click here)
It's been 376 days since the Jaguars last won a game.
The pick: Cardinals
Buccaneers at Rams
Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET
TV: Fox | Stream: fuboTV (click here)
I… I don't know when the Bucs are going to lose. I'm sure they'll have a bad week to have a bad week at some point. But you simply cannot run on this Bucs defense. Their pass defense numbers look bad, and they'll look worse after the Rams throw it 80% of the time on them Sunday. But that's because no team can effectively run against them. If Todd Bowles isn't some team's head coach for the 2022 season, we riot.
The pick: Buccaneers
Monday, 8:15 p.m. ET
TV: ESPN | Stream: fuboTV (click here)
Speaking of defense, I think Philly has the best defense that no one nationally is discussing. Opponents have just 2.57 seconds from snap to throw, much faster than the league average of 2.73 seconds and tied for sixth-fastest in the NFL. And they're doing it without blitzing much. Philly sends a blitz 13.2% of the time, the fourth-lowest rate in the league. I think Philly's D gives Dak Prescott and the Cowboys fits Monday night in a surprise win.
The pick: Eagles
Bills over Football Team
Browns over Bears
Ravens over Lions
Patriots over Saints
Falcons over Giants
Steelers over Bengals
Titans over Colts
Broncos over Jets
Raiders over Dolphins
Seahawks over Vikings
Packers over 49ers
Which picks can you make with confidence this week, and which Super Bowl contender goes down hard? Visit SportsLine to see which teams win and cover the spread, all from a proven computer model that has returned almost $7,900.