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Orlando Brown Jr. on T.J. Watt: He plays with an ‘effort unknown to mankind’

The Chiefs’ left tackle previewed his upcoming opponent — a team he used to play twice a year.

NFL: Tennessee Titans at Pittsburgh Steelers Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Amid all the uncertainty surrounding the Kansas City Chiefs' roster, the one thing that is certain is that their next opponent will be the Pittsburgh Steelers.

In that matchup, the most significant battle will be between the Chiefs' offense and the Steelers' defense — two units that have been the strengths of each team in recent seasons. Pittsburgh boasts big names on each level of the defense — but none as significant as the man that leads their defensive front.

Pittsburgh edge rusher T.J. Watt leads the league with 17.5 sacks, and he is also in a tie for second place in tackles for loss (17).

Chiefs' left tackle Orlando Brown Jr. is familiar with Watt, having faced him twice a year in the three seasons he spent with the Baltimore Ravens. In those three years, in six matchups, Watt racked up 4.5 sacks in total — and those performances stuck with Brown.

"He's an incredible player, man," Brown told reporters during his virtual press conference on Wednesday. "T.J. is definitely one of the best; in my opinion, he should have been the defensive player of the year for the last two years — but Aaron Donald does what he does, too."

In terms of what is particularly special about Watt, Brown points to his motor that doesn't ever seem to slow down.

"T.J. is an amazing player, playing with an effort unknown to mankind," Brown noted. "He's very skilled at what he does, very precise with the way he attacks your hands. He has a really good feel for the game of football. He's somebody that — very rarely — you can keep off a stat sheet; that's not going to happen."

NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Watt is not only a great player; he's also the centerpiece of a talented and well-coached defense. The Steelers' scheme has always been unique, using zone blitzes to confuse quarterbacks and still have seven defenders in coverage.

The complexities of the game plan give a player like Watt individual matchups against Brown and the rest of the Chiefs' offensive line.

"The most important part when facing the Pittsburgh Steelers is being able to win your one-on-ones; that's what they take pride in as a defensive line," Brown explained. "It's what they do really well, and it's why they always have very high sack numbers. It's one-on-ones practically the whole game — run and pass. That's something as an offensive line that you make sure you take care of on game day."

As a team, the Steelers rank second in the NFL with 41 sacks. It will be one of the Kansas City offensive line's biggest tests this year — which is coming at a good time for evaluation.

An offensive line that featured five players who had never played together before has made inevitable strides this season. Brown reflected on that, acknowledging the mindset necessary to continue getting better.

"Football is all about growth, and it's everlasting," Brown began. "We strive to continue to get better each and every day, each and every game, consistently throughout our careers... I've just been bought into (offensive line) coach [Andy] Heck, and everything that he's teaching, everything that coach Reid has thrown at us and coach EB... as a unit, I feel like we've bought in as a whole."

The buy-in has undoubtedly aided the offense in improving over this current seven-game win streak — but it's also a welcoming sight for the future. Brown is a free agent after this season, so a matchup against one of the league's best edge rushers is a way to prove — or disprove — that Brown deserves a long-term deal in Kansas City.

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