This week's Classic Jurassic Meat-eater Matchup features a meat-eater who's been showing up big, and he's just as big as he's been showing up.
When Stephon Tuitt retired in the offseason, the need to get somebody close to Captain Cam Heyward in production and ferocity was important. Larry Ogunjobi was a great pickup for the Steelers.
Battle-tested in the AFC North after stops in Cincinnati and Cleveland, this six-year veteran stands 6-foot-4 and weighs in at 310 pounds. But to appreciate the size of Ogunjobi, you have to see him up close. He's thick and radiates strength. And he uses that strength very well in the blood-sport that is the trenches.
Ogunjobi will lock horns with veteran Ravens guard Kevin Zeitler, a former Cincy Bengal as well, though they were never teammates. Zeitler is an old-fashioned, 11-year veteran dinosaur, checking in at 6-foot-4 and 339 pounds. He runs well for such a big man and uses his hands well in pass pro too.
With the added emphasis on the Ravens' run game, due to the high probability that the Steelers won't see Lamar Jackson, the ground-and-pound takes on greater importance.
The trench combat in this second go-round should be fierce, and resemble something this side of hamburger helper. Add in the fact the Ravens dropped 215 rush yards when these teams last played against each other three weeks ago, and you have the foundation for a good old-fashioned retribution game. And that's as if the fact that this is a Steelers-Ravens game isn't enough to bring out the more acrimony.
Ogunjobi has great snap awareness. When you watch him, he reacts so quickly that he can be in the backfield by the time you sneeze. He has excellent low pad level take-off ability, and when he can come down the line and make a play from the backside, such as the first snap of the Carolina game, he can hit the ball carrier before the play has a chance to even get started.
Larry O was the essence of the George Foreman quote when he said, "Everyone has a plan until they get hit with the right hand." Carolina came into that game with a plan, and from the first snap, Larry O was the "right hand."
If you can't run away from him, maybe you can run at him. Nope. With his great strength and ability to play with leverage, he's just as tough to run at. Ogunjobi has recorded 43 tackles, including 23 solo. Add in 6 tackles for loss, 10 QB hits, with a half-sack as the cherry on top, and you can see he is productive and violent.
Ogunjobi can play a 2-gap, but is really effective in 1-gap, where he can blow up the blocking scheme and play a little "Wreck-it-Ralph" with the opponent's best made plans.
Capable of playing as a 3-4 defensive end along with a 3-technique, Ogunjobi has a good bull rush, putting to use his ham hocks and lockout strength to power his way to quarterbacking pressure. He can hand fight or put his forehead under Zeitler's chinstrap and bull him back into the quarterback's lap.
And, he will need all of that to bring the battle to Zeitler.
The looming clash between these two combatants will make for some must-see TV watching back in the 'burgh if you're a fan of trench battles. This will be pure power versus power, close-quarter-combat when these two behemoths lock up in the trenches. I'm looking forward to it.