New York Giants: The return of Azeez Ojulari is a silver lining within the chaos

new york giants, azeez ojulari
Aug 21, 2022; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Giants linebacker Azeez Ojulari (51) warms up prior to the preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

Azeez Ojulari has had a massive impact on the New York Giants‘ defense since his return to the lineup in Week 13. The Giants have been in a bit of a fufnk lately, failing to earn a win in any of their last four games. But amidst the chaos, Azeez Ojulari has emerged as a silver lining.

The New York Giants had high hopes for Ojulari entering the 2022 season. As a rookie in 2021, Azeez totaled 8 sacks, setting a new franchise record for the most sacks in a single season by a Giants rookie. The hope was for Ojulari to build on that performance in his sophomore season. But that has been difficult for the Georgia Bulldog product as his 2022 season has been plagued with injuries.

Azeez Ojulari was sidelined for a good portion of the summer with a calf injury suffered away from the team. He missed the Giantss’ first two game with the injury before being cleared to play in Week 3. But it was not long before the calf became a problem again and Azeez was once again out of the lineup.

After an impressive Week 4 performance against the Chicago Bears, Azeez Ojulari was placed on injured reserve. Ojulari spent the majority of the Giants’ season on IR, missing Weeks 5 through 12 with the calf injury. But upon Azeez Ojulari’s return, it was immediately obvious how big of an impact player he is in the Giants’ defense and how badly his talents were missed in the lineup.

How good has Azeez Ojulari been in his return to the lineup?

In his first game back from injury, Azeez Ojulari was a handful. He managed to get a strip-sack and batted down a pass in the matchup with Washington. This past week, once again, Ojulari stood out on the Giants’ defense. Despite the team’s embarrassing loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, Azeez Ojulari managed to dominate. He recorded two sacks and four combined tackles in the contest.

Azeez Ojulari has recorded at least one sack in three straight games played. He now has 12 sacks and 3 forced fumbles in 21 career games. Ojulari’s young career is off to a hot, ultra-productive start. It is clear that the Giants possess a long-term building block in Azeez Ojulari. The second-year edge rusher has totaled 10 pressures combined in his last two games with 13 in total on the season.

Azeez Ojulari is the team’s best pass-rusher and his absence this season was felt. Big Blue is entering the crucial final stretch of the season with four games left to play, all having massive playoff implications. If Azeez Ojulari can continue to play at such a high level, it could be the difference between a trip to the postseason or a trip to the offseason. The New York Giants need all of their brightest stars to shine as they seek their first playoff berth since 2016.