Ravens rookie right offensive tackle Kelechi Osemele is about to be indoctrinated into one of the most brutal aspects of a rugged rivalry with the Pittsburgh Steelers: blocking star outside linebackers LaMarr Woodley and James Harrison
Last season, the pass-rushing tandem combined for 18 sacks despite contending with injuries. This year, Woodley has three sacks and Harrison has one after missing time with injuries earlier this season.
Both are healthier now and starting to generate their usual heat on opposing quarterbacks.
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"Woodley is quick off the ball, strong and he has some good countermoves," said Osemele, a
second-round draft pick from Iowa State who has started every game. "Woodley has a spin move that he uses as a counter where he'll do a chop and then spin inside and get guys by doing that. Harrison has a low center of gravity and an unbelievable bull rush."
A former second-round draft pick from Michigan, Woodley 28, has 51 career sacks in six NFL seasons. He has one interception and a forced fumble this season.
Harrison, 34, is a former NFL Defensive Player of the Year who has 59 career sacks and 27 forced fumbles.
During the 2008 season, Harrison (16 sacks) and Woodley (11 1/2 sacks) combined for 27 1/2 sacks to break the franchise record for combined sacks previously held by Jason Gildon (13 1/2) and Joey Porter (10 1/2) in 2000 and Kevin Greene (14) and Greg Lloyd (10) in 1994.
"Harrison has power and does different things," left offensive tackle Michael Oher said. "Woodley has a lot of speed and moves. It's going to be a challenge."