Making his second appearance in three weeks, the Classic Jurassic Meat-Eater Matchup pits the Steelers' young and up-and-coming left tackle, Dan Moore Jr. against a formidable opponent, the Browns' outstanding defensive end, Myles Garrett.
A six-year veteran, Garrett stands 6-foot-4, and 272-pounds, (though he looks bigger). He's a two-time Pro Bowl selection, earned first-team All-Pro accolades in 2020 and second-team All-Pro honors in 2018. Over the course of two games this year, Garrett has recorded three sacks, four tackles for loss, and one forced fumble. Garrett has punched out double digit sacks each year since 2018, including his high of 16 sacks last year as he vied for top-defensive player honors with the Steelers' T.J. Watt.
Moore checks in at 6-foot-5 and 315-pounds of strength, power and athleticism, attributes he's going to lean on to do battle with the likes of Garrett. Moore has steadily improved from a hiccup-laden preseason and looks more like the guy who ended last season as a rock at left tackle, than the guy who started this preseason. Moore has powerful four-wheel drive ham hocks, yet he's athletic enough to lead running backs around the corner on toss crack backs to the outside.
When the tape rolls, and all eyes are on Garrett, who is questionable to play in this game because of a neck injury. The athleticism and power Garrett displays makes you sit upright in your meeting room chair and start taking notes. It reminds me of the first time, as we were getting ready to play the Philly Eagles, we watched film as a group in the offensive line meeting room at Three Rivers Stadium. Yeah, it was eye-opening alright. Some guy named … who was it … uhh, Reggie White?
I say Reggie White with all due respect to Reggie. Garrett does share some of the same characteristics as the "Minister of Defense." Garrett is by no means Reggie as of yet, but he's representative of the size, power and speed White brought to the NFL.
Once you get a gander at Garrett, you could easily lump him into the speed rushers that try to zip to the up field rush and shave the arc to get pressure on a QB. He's certainly quick enough to do that.
Or you could watch as Garrett puts both his hands in the dirt on a third-and-1 and physically overwhelm the left guard from the Jets, massive 6-foot-3, 322-pound Laken Tomlinson. It looks more like a switch-a-roo and Garrett is the run blocker, as he drives Tomlinson backwards and then throws him down like it's personal. And that strength is real, as evidenced by the tape I saw a couple years ago of Garrett deadlifting 700-pounds for a couple reps.
Garrett is quick to recognize a trap, will close with power and set the edge with equal strength. He also will line up in a Wide 9 alignment, by taking his position almost two body widths outside of the offensive tackle. This makes a trap block harder for the offense, outside toss crack backs nearly impossible and pass rushing painful on the tackle.
This puts Moore in a bit of a dilemma. Does he position himself to set 45 degrees outward towards Garrett to shave the angle, while playing him inside out? If he doesn't, and the set is vertical, it can be problematic. It gives Garrett a huge running start at Moore. Also, by short-setting Garrett, he can declare the battleground, and engage Garrett in more of a phone booth, close-quarter-combat range to the betterment of Moore.
Like White, who I first credit with its use, Garrett will use the "hump move," which is a club with his inside arm as he rushes hard up the field, attempting to use his opponent's momentum against him. Moore will need to sit down hard when Garrett attempts to club. The key to successfully defeating that move was demonstrated years ago by former Steelers Pro Bowler, and Hall of Honor offensive tackle, Tunch Ilkin. When Reggie White would try to hit Tunch with it, Tunch would beat him to the punch by punching Reggie as he stretched his arm back to club.
Timing is everything in a get him before he gets you battle of speed and technique.
And by the way. Over six games in a head to head matchup with White, Tunch never gave up a sack to him. Just saying.
Moore might want to pull some old Tunch Ilkin versus Reggie White tape and watch. And learn.