It’s no secret that the Cleveland Browns possess one of the best defensive lines in the NFL, led by All-Pro defensive end Myles Garrett.
Add into the mix veteran pass rusher Jadeveon Clowney, and stout interior defensive tackle Malik Jackson and emerging young pro Malik McDowell and it’s clear the Browns are very deep, talented, and stout in the trenches defensively.
Pittsburgh Steelers’ rookie running back Najee Harris knows all about the Browns’ loaded defensive line, which features veterans Andrew Billings, Takkarist McKinley, Joe Jackson and Jordan Elliott and rookie Tommy Togiai behind the starting four in the trenches. Ahead of his first matchup with the Browns, Harris praised the Browns’ defensive line, but added that the group in the trenches across the ball is just another obstacle for the Steelers’ renewed run game to get through.
“I mean, they have a good old line D line of course, with Garrett and Clowney,” Harris said to the media during his availability Friday, according to Steelers.com. “And then they got that attack too, right? So I mean, they always got a good defensive line, but every team we played against really has somebody really good on the D-line. So, I mean, this is another, you know, obstacle. You gotta get over it, try to find a way to game plan and go forward from there.”
In years past the Steelers’ offensive line struggled to handle the Browns’ ferocious defensive line, allowing far too much pressure from guys like Garrett and former defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi, who is now in Cincinnati. With the emergence of McDowell and the pairing of Clowney with Garrett, this defensive line might be the best Browns’ version the Steelers have faced in recent years, which makes it all the more difficult considering the rebuilt Steelers’ offensive line and the struggles the group has had throughout the season.
Harris has the right mentality though, which I’m sure is the same one permeating throughout the Steelers’ locker room and coaching staff ahead of the Week 8 battle. You can’t worry about the names on the other side. All you can do is control what you can control and execute at the highest level possible.
That seems to be what the Steelers are focused on, which is great news for Pittsburgh’s chances on Sunday in the trenches.