Michael Oher eager to “move forward” with Titans
“I take pride in taking care of my body and most of all, just being there for my guys and because I know my team needs me,” Oher said, after he was signed Titans earlier this week. “I just like competing as well.”
While Oher’s toughness and durability were again on display last season, there are still some who believe he failed to live up to expectations and was particularly an underperformer during the 2013 season.
Oher ranked 53rd overall among the league’s 60 offensive tackles that on the whole played at least half of last season, according to Pro Football Focus. The five-year veteran fared even worse when it came to run-blocking, giving him the last spot on the list on basis of his performance last season.
It can be argued that this may be the reason behind the Ravens’ lack of enthusiasm towards orchestrating a deal to bring back Oher from the next season.
“Well, if the critics say I had a down year, that’s all right. I know I worked hard every single day and I did exactly what I was told to do,” Oher said.
While the Ravens generally have a strong history of bringing back their first-round picks to long term contracts once their rookie deals expire, it hasn’t been predominantly the case recently. Only two of the teams’ former first-round pick (DT Haloti Ngata and QB Joe Flacco) were re-signed to new contracts one their rookie deals expired.
Moreover, Oher noted that his 2013 campaign was not altogether that bad considering the Ravens had a new offensive line coach, Juan Castillo consultant a former consultant for the team – that year. The entire Ravens offensive line struggled to impress in their first season under Castillo, with the team averaging just 3.1 yards per rush (a league worst) and allowing 48 sacks (tied for fourth-most in the league) in 2013.
However, Oher doesn’t think that last year’s performance under values his new role with the Titans and is ready to put the past behind him while eager to make a fresh start in Tennessee.
“I’m not worried about last year,” Oher said. “I’m a Tennessee Titan now and I’m trying to move forward, and I’m excited I got a fresh start.”
Since then, Oher has assimilated well to his new environment.
“They were talking the same language that I liked, about the fundamentals of the game, and about doing it the right way, working hard and having the right people in your locker room,” Oher said of his Titans coaches. “If it’s just a bunch of individuals, you’re not going to win. But it’s all about bonding together and being with guys who want to win games.”
Oher is also excited to potentially line up next to right guard Chance Warmack – a former Alabama standout – next season. Oher recalled that watched Warmack play in college and is now looking forward to play alongside him “for a long time.”