Emmanuel Ogbah won an award this week, and in typical Ogbah fashion, nobody noticed besides his coaches and teammates.
No, the Player of the Week awards weren't released early this week. Browns coach Gregg Williams awarded Ogbah with a Hard Hat Award, which is given weekly to the players Williams thinks made a significant yet hard-to-measure impact on that Sunday's game.
Through 11 games this season, Ogbah's recorded fewer sacks and tackles for loss than he did in 10 games last year. But as his teammates and coaches will tell you, Ogbah's impact bleeds across the stat sheet. It's just that he's usually helping pad someone else's numbers.
"Emmanuel's one of the prime examples of a guy who comes in, does the work and has a huge impact for us on defense and doesn't get a lot of credit for it," linebacker Joe Schobert said. "But I think the guys in the locker room really appreciate it and know exactly what he's doing."
Schobert was tied for the league lead in tackles last season; he was the only Brown selected for the Pro Bowl. But he'd tell you Ogbah deserves some of that credit for preventing offensive lineman from reaching Schobert's level of the field.
In the same vein, Schobert said Ogbah has a huge impact in manipulating pockets against opposing pass offenses, driving them toward Myles Garrett's side of the line. Garrett is 1.5 sacks away from breaking the Browns' franchise record with three games remaining. It's easy to be overshadowed by a player who produces at that rate, but Schobert would argue Ogbah makes it possible for Garrett to do so.
"Obviously, everybody looks at Myles, all the sack numbers," Schobert said, "But there's a lot of other things in our defense that the defensive ends and D-line need to do. And Emmanuel does all those things very well."
Ogbah prepares the food while everyone else eats. That's why he sometimes isn't mentioned in the same breath as some of his playmaking teammates. But it's also why Williams gifted him a Browns-themed construction hat for his role in Sunday's win against the Panthers. And it's why Williams set the record straight when asked why Ogbah wasn't producing statistically this season.
"Other people might have a point or two better than you or a production number better than you, but you have to do your job to leverage the ball to them or leverage the protection to him," Williams said. "(Ogbah) has been doing some really good things on knocking some of the things to other people. He plays a multiple position package every week. (I) have no reservations about how or where he can play."