Meat-Eater Match Up: Steelers-Chargers on SNF

He registered 19 sacks in his first 20 games as a professional mayhem-maker. He topped linebacker Aldon Smith’s prolific 18.5 quarterback takedowns for the most sacks in a player’s first 20 games.

He stands 6-foot-5, and checks in at a lean and mean 280-pounds.

His younger brother, Nick, was profiled in the meat-eater matchup when the Steelers took on the San Francisco 49ers.

If lineage means anything, there has been at least seven Bosa family members and relatives to claim NFL pedigree. And lineage equates to pedigree, and pedigree usually means trouble.

“He,” is Joey Bosa, defensive end for the Los Angeles Chargers, and this week’s subject of the “Meat-eater Matchup.”

Bosa is not unfamiliar to the Steelers tackles, Al Villanueva and Matt Feiler.

In last year’s game in the ‘Burgh, Bosa registered six tackles and a sack, catching the “Anchor,” Feiler with an inside-spin move, bringing Ben Roethlisberger to the turf.

Watching Bosa from the safety of a video screen and a remote control in my hand, the first thing that jumped out at me when I hit the “play” button was his movement skills;

He’s a human energizer bunny.

He just keeps coming at you. He’s the classic high-motor, high-energy play the run on the way to the quarterback meat-eater. Playing over both tackles, Bosa shows great hustle and effort to the whistle.

Displaying an explosive takeoff, and a first-step “ghosting” capability (blowing by a slow OT get-off), he’s someone you have to account for with prejudice.

Though the Chargers will be playing on their home field, the home crowd reportedly has not had a noise advantage over the visiting teams.

Which also means that Bosa won’t be able to get an advantage off the snap count if Steelers Nation shows up.

Bosa is an up-field edge-getter, with a nice ability to run the arc around the corner. He’s not afraid to throw his body around and lay out on a play.

Thus far through five games of the 2019 season, Bosa has recorded three sacks, and 34-tackles, with five of them coming from behind the line of scrimmage. Tackles-for-loss are a pretty good indicator of disruptive behavior.

Against the run you need to get your hands on him quickly. With his explosive takeoff, he can be particularly deceptive at the point of attack, and will occasionally attempt to run-around the block, rather than take it on. He can do that because of his excellent quickness.

However if you can catch him in one of those run-around moments, there’s the opportunity to pop a run for a nice chunk of change.

Because the Chargers inside backers are more chase and run than downhill bangers, there’s little immediate backup if Bosa guesses wrong.

As with most of the top modern era pass rushers, Bosa is a dyed-in-the-wool hand fighter when he’s on the hunt. He has a long wing span, and an excellent ability to punch (stab) at an opponent’s chest with singular palm punches, like a boxer to keep his opponent off him and stay grab-free.

He hits hard, with a nice extension or lockout and can hold the point of attack with strength, as well as chase down the line from the backside.

Bosa has a strong two-handed “jam,” and can get off blocks. When he gets a clean disengagement, his ability to accelerate to the intended target is terrific and he does so with repetitive regularity.

Bosa also has shown a nice capability to “sweep” the hands of an opponent, which is the ability to knock the hands/arms laterally which can be confusing to the player attempting to pass protect him.

Most players will simply trap or knock the hands downward towards the ground in an attempt get by a pass blocker. This is by far the most frequently used mode of attack by the hand fighters.

Most offensive tackles use their hands in pass pro in unison, and are used to facing opponents who rely on knocking their hands down. When they face a pass rusher who is capable of sweeping the hands, it can catch the tackle by surprise.

Bosa will sweep or punch, individually, or in combination with ferocity. And he will do this with great up-the-field velocity. Using his feet, and his ability to stay outside of the tackle’s arm length, sweeping the hands can give him an extra half-step on the corner.

As I mentioned before, he also has a pretty good spin move. Bosa will attempt to get the inside on an offensive lineman, and do it by spinning like a top. What makes the spin move so effective is Bosa’s ability to gain a step up the field after he completes the spin.

In thinking it over, “Big Al” and “the Anchor” can help themselves by:

1.) Punching, using their hands together and individually. Refrain from getting “Head-heavy.” Keep your heads back and make sure you step when you punch. Locking your cleats into the ground and not moving your feet with this guy will be problematic.

2.) When Bosa goes for a spin, or he throws an uppercut, one hand has to check the hip of Bosa. They cannot let his hip come alongside their hip. By locking out on the hip, Bosa won’t be able to gain ground up the field. If he can’t gain ground up the field after he spins, he can’t get by you.

3.) On run plays with Bosa at the point of attack, get your “rip to rack” or punch to the chest and lock onto the chest plate. Have a lower pad level and both Al and Matt can use their superior size and power.

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