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Minz
Posted on Thursday, December 18, 2003 - 10:31 am:   

The world mourns the passing of Otto Graham, one of the all-time greats of any sport, the epitomy of winner, no matter the field of competition (he first became a national champion at age 16 - not in sports, but by playing the French Horn.) No professional QB will ever match his level of success.

You will be missed, Otts.
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, December 18, 2003 - 10:40 am:   

Minz, you astound me with your foo'ball knowlege. Never knew about Otto's French Horn thang. But yeah, Otto put up the numbers and the wins like nobody else back in the day. He was Mr. Cleveland Brown for a long time, until JB came along, and even then, he was still the man at QB.
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Minz
Posted on Thursday, December 18, 2003 - 11:04 am:   

And as much as JB was a man among boys, Otts just plain won in a way that makes even a Green Bay Packer fan take notice.

FWIW, I remembered the French Horn thing from surfin' the NFL Hall of Fame website some time ago, and double-checked it there before posting (lifted it verbatim). Just so folks know I was plagiarizing.
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Minz
Posted on Thursday, December 18, 2003 - 11:08 am:   

Led the best dang expansion team ever, certainly in the NFL, if not all of sport (my knowledge of NHL history isn't strong enough to assert that definitively). And smoked those pesky deserting Rams no less (right?). Makes Gruden stickin' to the Raiders last year seem like a friendly game of shirts and skins.
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, December 18, 2003 - 12:00 pm:   

I was watching Best Damn Sports this AM and Eric Dickerson left Brown off his list of top 5 running backs. Farking icehole! Yep, Otto and co did indeed kick Ram butt. He was the shit.
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Minz
Posted on Thursday, December 18, 2003 - 12:08 pm:   

WTF!?!?
Any list of top five rbs has to include Jim Brown and Walter Payton. Anyone who omits one of those two is an utter and complete moron. I'm willing to leave the three other slots open to debate, but puh-lease. Did E. Dickerboy put his own name atop the list by any chance?
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, December 18, 2003 - 12:25 pm:   

No, OJ was no 1. Sanders number two. Then Dickerson, Cambell and Peyton. I think Emmitt has to be in there somewhere, and ahead os Sander. Barry S was exciting as hell to watch, but he lost yardage a lot, wasn't used on the goal line, and didn't factor in as much in the passing game. Emmit may not have been as shifty or fast as the others, but he was a gamer with incredible balance and vision, rarely took a loss, could give the two yard gain and the 60 yard run, and nobody had his heart. You gotta make room for him.
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Minz
Posted on Thursday, December 18, 2003 - 01:25 pm:   

My list:
1. Payton
2. Brown
3. OJ
4. Earl Campbell
5. Barry

Surprisingly, as long as you substitute Brown for Dickerson, I agree with the guy.
And I do have to agree with you, Lucius, that Barry was alot of flash . . . but what flash. He could do things nobody else could do. (One of my alltime favorite Packer games was the 95 divisional playoff, when Reggie and Co held Barry to minus one yards on 13 carries.) Don't get me wrong, he wasn't as complete as Smith, and I should probably get Emmit on there somewhere, but it's my list. Besides, Smith had a heckuva line in front of him. Barry never had a pro bowl blocker; same for Campbell. (I _loved_ Earl--it was a shame he played on that spraypainted concrete in the earlier years of the Astrodome. If he'd've been on grass, he woulda had at least another 3 or 4 good years, imho. Only runner who could compare to Brown in terms of sheer power and speed.)

And like I said, three of these slots are open for debate. Brown & Payton simply cannot be. They don't have to top the list, but they must be on it. Must.
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, December 18, 2003 - 03:16 pm:   

Minz, my list...

1) Brown -- would be more dominant today, because size is overrated and people have forgotten how to tackle. 2000 yard seasons would be the norm for him. 235 pounds. They didn't time 40s then, but he ran a sub 9.3 100. Which means he likely ran about a 4.2 40. Mean and nasty. I hate to imagine what he'd do to people who tried to drop a shoulder in front of him. Lots of ambulance fodder. Way the best I've ever seen. Averaged over 5 yards a carry, might average 6 today....

2) OJ

3) Barry Sanders--what you said

4) Emmitt--But I'd pick him for my team over Barry, because of what I said. The whole thing about the O-line doesn't count against Brown and OJ and Peyton, who had one for some of his career -- it shouldn't count against Emmitt.

5) Peyton--not the receiver Emmit was, but really the t wo guys are a lot alike as players. It's hard for me to separate them..

Cambell's career was essentialy 6 good years. He never had a pro bowl blocker, but that was a pretty damn good o-line. To me, the brevity of his career puts him wih Gale Sayers, just out of the top five.

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Deborah
Posted on Thursday, December 18, 2003 - 04:18 pm:   

I was going to suggest some other top five lists by position in honor of Otto, but the first position I considered was TE and then I realized that once you got past Ozzie Newsome, John Mackey, Mike Ditka and Kellen Winslow, there weren't too many others who leapt up to take that fifth spot.

Thoughts? Other lists?

QBs would generate some heat here I think...mine would be (talking Modern Era here):

Bart Starr
Joe Namath
Roger Staubach
Dan Marino
Jim Kelly

Not in that order -- not sure what order I'd put them in.



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Forrest
Posted on Thursday, December 18, 2003 - 04:33 pm:   

No Steve Young or John Elway?

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Deborah
Posted on Thursday, December 18, 2003 - 04:48 pm:   

Well...I thought about both, but I ruled out Elway because he kept beating better AFC teams and then losing in the Super Bowl (ahem) and Steve Young...I don't know...I never thought of him as anything but a Real Good QB surrounded by a much better team. I could be wrong about that. He just never dazzled me the way some of those other guys did in terms of accuracy, reads, strength, and, in Marino's case, guts.
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, December 18, 2003 - 05:11 pm:   

Uh, Deborah....TE? Tony Gonzales has played long enough to qualify. And Shannon Sharpe, he holds the reception record. Jay Novacek, Mark Chimura, the NY Giant guy back in the late 80s, early 90s, Todd Christianen...there are lots of tremendous tight end. The other Raider TE....Dave Fuck I'm blanking. What's his name. I'm leaving some out, too. There's more than enough.

My QB list (and my criteria is not necessarily big numbers, and not how well they fit their system, but guys who would have won in any system, in order.

Marino
Aickman
Bradshaw
Young
Staubach

Next five:

Elway
Favre
Starr
Tarkenton
Montana

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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, December 18, 2003 - 05:12 pm:   

Is anyone else loving this Roethlisberger guy? Now you see why TCU ducked the GMAC bowl.
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Deborah
Posted on Thursday, December 18, 2003 - 05:18 pm:   

Oh, yeah, duh...I'm wacking myself in the head about the TEs...my brainw asn't engaged enough when I wrote that post.

Which is why I also forgot about Tarkenton. Top five is hard. Ten is easier. :-)

You'd leave Namath off the list entirely, huh? Okay. If I added another five Bradshaw would in there and Tarkenton and Montana and Aikman and I still wouldn't want Elway but I might have to. :-(

Oops. Time for my kid's Christmas program...later or tomorrow let's do Defensive guys, huh?

Go on -- start without me.
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, December 18, 2003 - 05:22 pm:   

Namath had the one big mojo, the game that may have been fixed. He was a good QB, but tell ya the truth, I'd put another Bama QBm Kenny Stabler, a guy who for no reason I can figure, isn't in the hall of fame, ahead of Namath.
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, December 18, 2003 - 05:46 pm:   

Wide-outs--Top Five

Paul Warfield
Jerry Rice
Charlie Joiner
Fred Biletnikoff
Randy Moss (He belongs, people)

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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, December 18, 2003 - 06:04 pm:   

linebackers -- this is easier, though I named 6:

1--LT
1a--Ray Lewis
2-Butkus
3-Nitschke
4-Jack Lambert
5-Mike SIngletary

Nose tackle:

Jerome Brown, maybe the greatest player ever to come out of the University of MIami

Warren Sapp

Cortez Kennedy (are we sensing a theme here :-)

more later...






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Mike
Posted on Friday, December 19, 2003 - 05:16 am:   

Who was the receiver from the Univ. of Tulsa who did well as a collegian and turned out to be much better than expected in the pros? This was a few years back, now.

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Minz
Posted on Friday, December 19, 2003 - 06:24 am:   

TEs:
That was Dave Casper of the ol' Raiders. And Mark Bavarro from the Giants. And let's not forget Ron Kramer from Lombardi's Packers, who was such a complete player--not much of a downfield threat, but he was always good for positive yards after contact, and was a vicious blocker--he was the key blocker for Lombardi's sweep--he doesn't get the seal, it doesn't matter how well the other guys are at pulling.
Sharpe & Gonzalez just aren't good enough blockers for me. I'd love 'em on my team, but not an alltime list. TEs on an alltime list should be able to do both. (Ozzie was at least adequate in that department, and what he did as a receiver redefined the position. Winslow didn't get enough of a chance to show his blocking because of Air Coryell, but he was decent.)
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Deborah
Posted on Friday, December 19, 2003 - 06:38 am:   

Mike, You're thinking of Steve Largent, I think.

Minz, agree about completeness in a TE.

Lucius, you didn't pick either Bruce or Clay Matthews and I'd want at least one of them on my list.

Wide-outs -- John Stallworth? Lynn Swann? Mark Clayton? I'd put one of those guys up there, but your list looks good.
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Minz
Posted on Friday, December 19, 2003 - 06:55 am:   

QBs
Favre
Tarkenton
Montana
Starr
Baugh

Sammy Baugh redefined the game and the position.

It was tough not picking Otto instead of Starr, both were bigtime winners, and Bart definitely had the better supporting cast. It's a homer pick: Bart was a system guy (as were Aikman and Staubach for that matter--all of 'em winners, each deserving because they were terrific field generals who'd run a great game; a tough call).

Elway was too much of a crybaby for my tastes. He cried his way out of playing for Baltimore Colts who drafted him, and he cried to the refs any time a player dared hit him. Sickening. Cannot deny his talent, but there's no crying in football.

And don't get me started on Namath. This guy doesn't even belong in the HoF, much less an alltime list. He had one great game. One. His stats are pathetic. He accomplished virtually nothing else. Heck, Doug Williams has more deserving credentials.

All the other QBs mentioned are deserving of consideration (though I think Bradshaw was propped up by an amazing supporting cast, he deserves consideration no matter how much I dislike the guy).

Other guys who definitely should be mentioned:
Sonny Jurgensen (heck, Lombardi said he may be the best the league has ever seen)
YA Tittle
Dan Fouts
Sid Luckman
There's one other guy I wanted to mention, but I'm blanking.
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Deborah
Posted on Friday, December 19, 2003 - 07:02 am:   

Minz -- In one of those biographies by one of the Stiller guys from back in the day, and I can't recall who it was, he talks about Bradshaw being the dumbest guy who ever managed to have a great career in the NFL -- he says, among other things, that Bradshaw wasn't a great scrambling, adjusting QB, it was just that he was so dumb that he usually forgot what play had been called by the time the ball was snapped but he knew he was supposed to do _something_ that involved the football back there. Thought that was pretty funny.

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Minz
Posted on Friday, December 19, 2003 - 07:22 am:   

I've got no problem with any of the receivers mentioned, and I could think of a few more (Lofton, who played so long, but still has the second best alltime yards/catch average), but there's been an omission of horrendous proportions. There should be one name at the top of every list:
DON HUTSON
I can barely tolerate the fools who'd argue that Rice should be mentioned in the same breath--certainly he's the one other "must" on the list, and is the greatest receiver of the modern era, but puh-lease.
Hutson completely redefined the position. Heck, he invented the pass pattern. He led the league in receptions for 8 of his 11 seasons. Besides being a starting wide receiver, he played defensive end for the first five years of his career, before he moved into the defensive backfield, where he played for another 6.
In 1942, Hutson set the single season reception record of 74 in an 11 game season. (The second place guy in '42 had 27 receptions. 27!)
And this was an era when as long as they didn't use a gun or a knife, a db could do just about whatever the hell he wanted to a receiver. And that same year, Hutson lead the league in interceptions with 7.
I've decided to get lazy and just lift his bio the HoF:
Don Hutson’s first touchdown came on an 83-yard pass from Arnie Herber in just his second game as a Green Bay Packer. He wound up with 99 career touchdown receptions, a record that stood for more than four decades. When Hutson retired in 1945 after 11 superb seasons, he held 18 NFL records, including 488 career receptions. That was 200 more than his closest competitor. Hutson invented modern pass receiving. He created Z-outs, buttonhooks, hook-and-gos, and a whole catalog of moves and fakes.

Although he had been an All-America at Alabama in 1934, there were plenty who doubted the skinny speedster could stand the pace of pro football. But it wasn't long before his mere presence on the field had changed the defensive concept of the game. Don could outmaneuver and outrace virtually every defender in the league.

He led the NFL in receiving in eight of his 11 seasons and in scoring five straight years. Twice, in 1941 and 1942, he was named the league’s MVP.

Like everyone in the days before free substitution, Hutson was a 60-minute player who spent most of his career as a very fine safety on defense. In his final six seasons, he swiped 30 opposing quarterbacks’ passes. Often after scoring a touchdown, he would kick the extra point. In one quarter of a 1945 game, he caught four touchdown passes and kicked five PATs for an amazing 29 points.

Thus endeth the rant.
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, December 19, 2003 - 08:25 am:   

Mike, the Tulsa guy was Howard Twilley...

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Lucius
Posted on Friday, December 19, 2003 - 08:28 am:   

Minz, I had Don Hutson on my original list, then took him off because I thought people would give me too much shit. Shoulda known better. I limited myself to one old timer, but I was wrong.... :-) Actually, I'm of mind that Rice is overrated, but the numbers are hard to argue with...and the longevity....
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Minz
Posted on Friday, December 19, 2003 - 09:03 am:   

Exactly. Rice deserves all the credit for having been there and delivered year in and year out. Same for Lofton, though Rice is better overall by a good step or two.

And while there are plenty of receivers who've done better than Rice in a given season or two or three, it's the ability to do it year in and year out for so long, and the willingness to make all the catches, and run all the routes.

Moss should belong on the list, but he takes too many plays off, doesn't block much, and isn't willing to go over the middle and make the tough catch with a linebacker bearing down on him. Once he shows that, then yes. If he were simply willing, he'd be one of the greatest ever. Heck, I'd take Carter in his prime over Moss, because I could count on him on every play.
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Minz
Posted on Friday, December 19, 2003 - 09:07 am:   

Heck, just look how Moss had that TD ripped out of his hands last week--it lost the game. Carter would never have given that up . . . nor Michael friggin' Irvin for that matter. And I wouldn't put either of them on my alltime list, but they were football players. Moss is just a physical freak masquerading as a football player. If he decides to become one, look out.
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Minz
Posted on Friday, December 19, 2003 - 09:26 am:   

Linebackers. You made all the right choices.
Might have to add Buonoconti, and a couple of two-way players: Chuck Bednarick (and not just because the s.o.b. cost the Packers the 1960 championship) and Bronko Nagurski, though I don't think LB existed as a position then, but that's what he played. Offensive & defensive Fullback.
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Minz
Posted on Friday, December 19, 2003 - 09:29 am:   

DT/NT
Don't know if 'Tez has actually accomplished enough--he's good, but what about
Henry Jordan
Joe Greene
Merlin Olsen
Alan Page

I don't think Tez is quite in their class. Maybe not even Randy White's class . . .
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, December 19, 2003 - 09:47 am:   

Deborah,

much as I love the Matthews boys, that's pretty rarefied company at linebacker -- I can't get 'em there.

If y'all are gonna proscribe against Bradshaw for dumbs, then you have to do the same with Favruh, who's dumb as a bucket of hammers, had a drug dependency on Vicotin (man in his positiion should have been astute enough to get on Percocets), was surrounded by a good supporting cast his own self, and has three less SBs than Bradshaw, He makes no list of mine. You also have to use the same logic to porscribe against Montana, who's stupider than both of them. Should this be doubted, I refer you to Joe's brief tenure as a studio analyst. This guy's eyes cross when you ask him what his favorite color is. Bradshaw, at least, is smart enough to do well in the booth, something that neither Montana or Favruh are.
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, December 19, 2003 - 09:53 am:   

Minz, I was kinda teasing about Tez... But you;d have to shoot me to get me off Jerome Brown. That guy was amazing. Best player ever out of Miami, and that's saying a bunch. My feelingthe second best plaer from Miami comes out this year -- it's a joke Sean Taylor didn't win the Thorpe award. This is a 6-3, 235 safety with cover corner speed who could play linebacker in the pros.

As for Moss, I may be premature, and you've got a point, but his talent alone is gonna get him a lot of records....
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Deborah
Posted on Friday, December 19, 2003 - 10:41 am:   

Making these lists is tough...I tend to give more credit to players who gut it out and turn in consistent performances over a long career (which explains my admiration for the Matthews boys) over the players like Moss, e.g., who Minz has aptly described as a freak who occasionally plays football.

And, of course, on my What Might Have Been team, I have to mention Derrick Thomas.


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Lucius
Posted on Friday, December 19, 2003 - 10:51 am:   

I undertsand what you;re saying, Deborah. I just can't elevate Clay or Bruce to the level of LT and Butkus and the rest who, with the exception of Lewis (and who's gonna deny him), all had pretty long careers.

Won't argue about DT....

Moss...no matter what you say, by the time he's done, he may well have all of Rice's records...

Defensive ends, anyone? Corners and safeties?
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Minz
Posted on Friday, December 19, 2003 - 11:18 am:   

DE . . . talk about a loaded position.
Gotta start with the Minister of D. He had power & speed. Even in the late stages of his career, he elevated a mediocre D into one of the best in the NFL (not history, of course, just those given years--still a heckuva accomplishment). One of the great What ifs in sports: What if Jerome Brown hadn't died in '92? Would Reggie have left Philly? Could that D have become the most dominant in NFL history?

Reggie (and then in no particular order)
Howie Long
Deacon Jones
Willie Davis
Jack Youngblood

Honorable Mentions
Bruce Smith
Michael Strahan, especially if he puts in a few more good years
Richard Dent

--I know I'm forgetting someone in here, but I'll let others chip in.

And I'd like to add John Randle to the honorable mentions for DT
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, December 19, 2003 - 11:52 am:   

Wow, Minz...we almost agree on yoru top five. If Reggie hadn't disappeared during the playoffs against Erik Williams and whined so much about it, I'd put him up there. Same for Bruce Smith, but he's got the sack record so I'm supplanting the "We are a happy people we love to sing and dance" guy with Bruce. I'm really pleased you mentioned Jack Youngblood, who was a real bad boy. And a Gator. :-)

I'd add jason Taylor and Charles Haley to the hon mention list. I need to think about this some more.
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, December 19, 2003 - 12:04 pm:   

Ok, have thought --Gino Marchetti makes the list somewhere. And I;d like to add Buck Buchanan to my DT list....
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Minz
Posted on Friday, December 19, 2003 - 01:07 pm:   

Gino & Buck . . . Excellent Choices!!!

Haley's a little too one dimensional for my personal list, but it's a heckuva dimension. Taylor needs to last a little longer.
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, December 19, 2003 - 01:33 pm:   

Minz,

Agreed on Taylor, but he seems like the real deal. Haley's dimension, as you suggest, was a motherfucker, and he was a true difference-maker. He elevated those around him as did (this is Deborah's point) Big Daddy Lipscomb.

Forgot to say, I also agree that if Jerome Brown hadn't died, Reggie would have stayed and Philly would have gone to the SB that year and that would have gone down as one of if not the greatest defense in history...
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, December 19, 2003 - 04:57 pm:   

Cornerbacks --

Ronnie Lott
Lem Barney
Mel Blount
Darrell Green
Deion Sanders

Hon. Mention:

Ken Houston
Mel Renfro
Aeneas Williams
Herb Adderly
Emmitt Thomas

Safety:

Willie Wood
Paul Krause
Willie Wood
Donnie Shell
Mel Renfro

Hon Mention:

Emlin Tunnell
Charlie Waters
Larry Parrish
Roy WIlliams (I know, Minz)
Ed Reed (Ditto)
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Minz
Posted on Saturday, December 20, 2003 - 06:13 am:   

CBs
Herb Adderly
Mel Blount
Darrell Green
Aeneas Williams
Night Train Lane

I'd add Willie Brown & Rod Woodson as an Hon. Men., in addition to the ones you mention (though I'll take a shot at Deion, because despite his amazing cover skills, he was way too shy of contact for my tastes. I like football players, and Neon was merely a great cover guy--one of the best ever, surely, but not a complete player nonetheless.) And we probably should mention both of the Hayes, Lester & Michael, though I'm suddenly realizing there're a lot of Raiders on these two lists.

Safeties:
Willie Wood
Larry Wilson (the first master of the safety bitz--and he had cover skills)
Ronnie Lott (I think his most significant contributions to SF came as S--if not here, then on CB list)
Renfro (ditto the Lott comment)
Ken Houston (I'm pretty sure he mostly played at safety, both for Oilers & Redskins)

I'd add Jack Tatum to the Hon. Men list, but agree with all you mention there.
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Lucius
Posted on Saturday, December 20, 2003 - 07:07 am:   

I knew you'd hate Deion, but the guy brought a dimension to the position that no one else ever did -- what a weapon! He wasn't your classic corner, but when he was in his prime, they wouldn't throw at him. That;s pretty much the essence of "defensive." Gotta have him in there, for my part.

Another guy that comes to mind is Everson Walls.

You sure about Houston? I recall him as a CB. Maybe the memory is tattered, but...
And yeah, Woodson (smack self on forehead) has to be there.
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Minz
Posted on Saturday, December 20, 2003 - 11:31 am:   

I cannot deny that Deion took away a third of the field on passing plays, and nobody else was as good at coverage. Nobody. But the guy was a wimp--heck I'll never forget Deion getting knocked out for a month with bruised ribs, on a hit by a quarterback no less. Bruised ribs. For a db. For a month. It's not like the guy was hitting anybody anyway. <g>

My personal tastes are for guys who can cover and can support against the run. I think one of the most underrated corners in the game today is the Packers Mike McKenzie--the guy does it all. I'll grant that he's merely above average when it comes to zone coverage, but he's great at bump-and-run, and is one of the most sure tacklers in the game. He's better than most safeties at slipping the block and snuffing the sweep and the screen.
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Lucius
Posted on Saturday, December 20, 2003 - 11:59 am:   

I understand your tastes -- they are admirably purist. But being a purist is not necessarily being a realist. Name me a defensive backfield in history in which Deion Thomas would not have been a desired addition. It just ain't there.

Don't follow the Pack enough to be that aware of McKenzie.

What's happening now is, I think, a sea change for the entire passing game. When you look at the speed and size of the crops of receivers that are starting to comeout, and the the size and speed of the emergent DBs, particularly the safeties --- it's going to be a different world in a few years. One day the millennial period of the NFLmay be looked upon as a division between old and modern eras as regards the quality of the athletes....
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Minz
Posted on Sunday, December 21, 2003 - 08:18 am:   

I certainly cannot think of any single defensive backfield that wouldn't have started Deion in a heartbeat. But the same goes for the guys on my list. Don't get me wrong, I respect his coverage ability--I've never seen the like, and may never again. He was in a different class in terms of athleticism and coverage skills. Putting him on your list needs no defense--I just had to take a shot at him b/c his being named to the 75th anniv alltime NFL team has stuck in my craw for a long time.

It is a very interesting time in defensive trends. Besides the ever-increasing size of WRs & DBs, LBs are desired more and more for their maneuverability, proliferating the undersized LB. MLB are no longer tanks merely in there to stop the run--they must be able to drop into pass coverage as well. Former college safeties are being made into pro LBs. Coupled with the array of coverages, the greatly increased tendency to walk up a safety before the snap, etc., and the line between S & LB may soon be effectively gone.
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Lucius
Posted on Sunday, December 21, 2003 - 08:25 am:   

I think you're dead on about the line blurring between LB and S. Roy Williams and Ed Reed and guys like that are the prototypes. Ray Lewis was the same size coming out of college as Sean Taylor, only Ray was a backer and ST is a safety who occasionally lines up as a backer. Taylor could actually play everywhere on the defense but nose tackle, At 235 he can line up at DE for a few plays and be an effective rusher. Be interesting to see where he does play in the pros. I really think he has a bigger upside than Lewis did.

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