This week's Classic Jurassic Meat-Eater Matchup brings the green and gold from the land of the north, the self-proclaimed "Title Town" of Green Bay, Wisconsin, wrapped in cheese heads and pure NFL history. The Green Bay Packers come south, and with it one of the NFL's more intense meat-eaters.
He's bigger than he looks, and more productive than you might know. He'll line up on both sides of the defense, and when it's go time, the switch gets thrown and he's hunting quarterbacks like the raptors in "Jurassic Park." His name is Rashan Gary, and he's a serious threat when the ball is snapped and the play is live.
Gary checks in at 6-foot-5, 277-pounds of edge rusher that has nailed 4.5 quarterback pelts to his wall in 8 games. He's also harassed quarterbacks to the tune of laying an extra 10 hits on them, to go along with 5 tackles for loss and 28 tackles overall. Gary is on pace to possibly exceed his 2021 total of 9.5 sacks. In full disclosure, Gary has yet to record a double-digit sack season, which should make everyone in Pittsburgh thankful for the likes of T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith — not to mention Markus Golden and his double-digit sack years, too.
Though Gary doesn't have the sack total history of some of the other top rushers in the league, his abilities are not to be overlooked. He's fully capable of bringing his own version of game wrecking to Acrisure Stadium.
Primarily an up-the-field rusher, Gary has good hand strikes and tries to control the center line of an opponent. To do so, he attempts to win the battle of the inside hands. Along with a tight arc-running capability, Gary has an intense persona and is one of those guys who is an adder/multiplier of those around him. In other words, he brings the juice.
Gary has good hand-fighting skills. He will attack his opponent's hands, striking downward while he attempts to turn the corner on his rush. Trapping hands, or the knocking down of them, is quickly followed oftentimes with an uppercut. The quick transfer of energy of a downward trap, to an upward uppercut while using the same hand, has been particularly effective to get around the corner.
Gary has enough speed to get up the field, take on a chip from a RB, get off that attempted block, beat the tackle, and STILL get a hit on the quarterback. He'll rush with a little bit of a shake, (what we used to call the "hypnotic eye") and throw that uppercut like he's in a heavyweight bout with George Foreman. Gary will balance that with a good inside arm-over, or swim move, after taking you up the field for several steps. And for good measure, Gary is bull-rush capable, rushing with leverage while climbing the body.
Strong at the point of attack, he'll set the edge and square it off. On run plays away from him, Gary will at times, tear off the line of scrimmage and squeeze to the ball from the backside like his hair is on fire. The Steelers would be wise to make sure he's accounted for on the backside of run plays.
Both Steelers offensive tackles will need to be prepared to battle it out with this week's "Meat-Eater" of the week. His name is Rashan Gary, and he's looking hungry.