This week's Classic Jurassic Meat-Eater Matchup is an easy one to pick out. When you take a look at the ginormous meat-eaters that dwell and work in the trenches of the NFL, few of them stand out like the Ravens' massive meat-eating defensive tackle Calais Campbell.
Campbell might well be the dinosaur of dinosaurs. Here he is, in his 15th season, absolutely killing it. Yes, when you flip on the tape, several things stand out immediately. Number one is his size. Standing 6-foot-8 and weighing in at a slim looking 307-pounds, the man is the virtual embodiment of a long-armed T-Rex.
The second thing that you notice is his athleticism. He still moves so well, despite his advanced years of pounding out punishment with offensive linemen as big as SUV's and chasing down ball carriers and quarterbacks.
Campbell has recorded 5.5 sacks this year, hit the quarterback another 14 times and registered 4 tackles for loss. Add in his 29 total tackles, two passes knocked down at the line of scrimmage, two forced fumbles to boot, and you see he's a complete player.
His ability to compete versus the run or pass is plain to see when you watch tape.
Pad level is everything in the trenches. As the great Chuck Noll said, many times over, "Low man wins." For a man that stands 6-foot-8, Campbell plays with a very low pad level. Taking on a double team isn't problematic for him.
With his low pad level and his ability to root, he will absorb, or better yet, swallow whole the attempted double team and stuff the pants off them.
On a double team featuring a "dad" call between the offensive tackle and the tight end, I watched while Campbell barely acknowledged the attempted block by the tight end. He's quick and agile enough to run around a trap block, or he can squat and take it on and create a traffic jam with no moving parts whatsoever.
He can line up over the center and work as the penetrator on a three-man twist stunt. And while he's at it, he'll create a problem for the quarterback, who suddenly might find his ability to see down the field reduced by long arms.
Pretty much everybody on the Steelers' offensive line will have a shot at Campbell by the end of the day. He travels and lines up in multiple positions on the defensive line.
While hunting quarterbacks, Campbell has a nice outside club to uppercut, which is much like a wrestler's slide-by technique, under-hooking the opponent's arm to turn the shoulders. It was something so well utilized by former Steelers outside linebacker James Harrison.
In tight quarters, such as third-and-1, he operates in a way that he can ghost a guy with a swim-move over the top and still make the hit on the play, stuffing it.
When Campbell has decided he's going to go through the man he's lined up against, you better buckle up.
I watched while he mulched a Denver offensive lineman, going down the middle of the man with such force that he knocked the offensive tackle back three or four yards, like Campbell was run blocking him, rather than the other way around.
He's a meat-eater, a definite force to be reckoned with, even at his advanced age.