Wednesday, December 31, 2014
PFJ's 2014 All-Pro Team
PFJ's 2014 All-Rookie Team
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Dandy Don and the Single Back Offense
As a 15-year old reading Street & Smith's pro football in late summer of '66 reading about the improvement of the Dallas Cowboy offense in '65. Statements that Dallas had Meredith roll out more as the key element is only partially true. Watching film of Dallas the second half of '65 (2-5 the first half) saw that Tom had the Dallas offense in a single back wing alignment much of the time.
Yes, Dandy Don did roll out, but much more important with Hayes's speed, and three other receivers quickly into their patterns. The Cowpokes go 5-2 and "earn" a Playoff bowl berth. Mel Renfro was moved to offense in '66 to further this alignment and with his speed and athletic ability no doubt he would have contributed. Injury allowed free agent Dan Reeves to get playing time; which he took advantage of especially as a receiver).
Using 16 games as an evaluation of Dandy Don
Monday, December 22, 2014
Warren Sapp's Lost Sack Title
The 2000 NFL season was a good one for 3-techniques, well, at least two if them. The previous season Warren Sapp was voted the NFL Defensive Player of the Year by the AP and PFWA. In 2000 La'Roi Glover of the New Orleans Saints was voted the NFC Defensive Player of the Year by the KC Committee of 101. Sapp followed up is
On Sunday, November 26, 2000, the Saints played the Rams in St. Louis, and in that game Glover recorded 3 sacks on Trent Green. Here is the first as listed in the Gamebook
It is easy to see this was the type of play that needed further review, but it somehow slipped through the cracks. I contacted Elias that week to suggest they look at it, but I never heard a word back. At the Super Bowl in Tampa I ran into Seymour Siwoff at the media center and asked why his crew never got back, but he didn't know, but did tell me he wished I had pushed a little harder because they wanted to "get it right".
A review, at any rate, might have concluded the scorer in St. Louis was right anyway, or perhaps a split sack could have been considered. But, in a season like this, with a resurgence of several young and exciting 3-techniques, one of whom may be the NFL Defensive Player of the Year it brought to mind this play.
So, 15 years later, congratulations are in order for Warren Sapp and Trace Armstrong, the unofficial sack leaders of the 2000 NFL Season.
Follow Pro Football Journal on Twitter.
Wednesday, November 5, 2014
Merlin Olsen: The Best I Ever Saw
By John Turney
This time he generously gave me a list of the best players he saw during his playing and broadcasting career in the NFL which spanned from the early 1960s through the early 1990s.
The following is his list and his comments:
"Stephenson was the quickest I saw and had great strength, too. It was a pleasure watching him in the games I covered for NBC."
"Jim Parker played on the opposite side but I had to be prepared for him on traps, he gave the hardest blows of anyone. He moved incredibly well for a guy who was 300 pounds."
"Back when preseason games meant something, even personal pride, I'd have tough battles with Walt (Sweeney). He had great strength for his size. He was the toughest I faced, though Jerry Kramer was very good, too."
"Deacon would tell you that Forrest was the best he had to deal with. We'd play Green Bay twice a year and Gregg always played Deac well".
"Like Dwight (Stephenson) Anthony (Munoz) was something to watch. I saw him plenty in the eighties and he always was prepared and always played well."
"Because of Deacon, teams didn't throw to the tight end against us (Rams defense). But the Colts were the exception because Mackey had the skills to chip Deacon and still get into the pass pattern. And he could block well, I had to have my head on a swivel because he'd down-block you sometimes and could deliver a shot on you."
"My quarterback is John Unitas. You could not intimidate him, everyone else you could."
"Jim Brown was far ahead of everyone."
The one guy who made our defense look silly was Gale. He had quick moves that would leave us flat-footed."
"Raymond Berry had the best hands I saw and had the best moves and was the best end at running his routes to perfection."
"Watching what Jerry Rice did was special. You wouldn't think one guy could be that much better than everyone else at his position in the league."
"I cannot leave Deacon out. I think he had more speed and quickness than anyone at his position and that goes to this day. Maybe people will think I am biased but it would be wrong to not name him as the best—because he was.
Gino was an idol to me when I came into the league. Even though he played outside I watched many canisters of film on him and how he'd grab players and toss them aside fascinated me. Doug (Atkins) could do that, too but he was not as consistent as Gino.
"In games, I covered Reggie White and Howie Long were the best I saw but I cannot honestly say they were better than Deac and Gino."
"Joe Greene would be my left tackle and Bob Lilly would be on the right. They would work well together. Joe and I were kind of similar and Bob and Alan Page were similar. I could have played with Bob and Alan, but not with Joe.
And Joe could have worked well as a tandem with Bob and Alan. But Joe and I and Bob and Alan, had we been paired would not have worked.
We'd have messed each other up, getting in each other's way."
"Dick Butkus was the best in the middle. It would have been wonderful if he'd had a chance to play with a better team. He'd have been better than he was, and he was pretty good (smile)."
For a 3-4 linebacker, Randy Gradishar was the best I saw. I never saw a linebacker who made so many initial stops. It seemed like he was always first to the ball and was a solid hitter, too. Some linebackers would sometimes fall on the piles and get their number called but in the games, Dick (Enberg) and I did it was always "Randy Gradishar on the tackle" and they'd get up and he'd be the last one getting up."
"I didn't cover many games of the Giants but we did enough to know that Lawrence Taylor was the best at his job. If he came up in the 1960s or 1970s he would have been put at defensive end. But in the 1980s with the 3-4 defenses that were popping up, the ideal athlete met with the ideal scheme. I sometimes wonder what he might have done as an end, that he may have been a Deacon Jones on the right side.
"The 4-3 outside linebacker I liked the most was Dave Wilcox. He had great size for that era but could still run. Right behind him would be Dave Robinson who also was big, but could run and cover.
I was always jealous of the 49ers and Packers linebacking squads because of their athleticism and size and strength. Our linebackers weren't very good and as a front four, we have to cover for them at times. They just were smaller, slower guys who got by on their brains and George (Allen) if we'd had a Wilcox or someone like that we'd have been that much better. Out linebackers just didn't make the kind of plays you'd expect, you know, game-changing plays."
"By the time I came to the NFL Night Train was slowing down some, but he still was an intimidator and a gambler our quarterbacks were told to stay away from.
Herb Adderly is the next best I ever saw. He was somewhat smaller than Lane but was a big hitter. He was also a gambler who was a cornerback who could be deadly to an offense."
"There were some good ones when I played but to me, Ronnie Lott was the best I saw. He could play cornerback but was a hard-hitting safety and smart player. He was like a Night Train Lane who was playing safety.
"Nolan (Cromwell) got hurt but looking back on my career I cannot think of anyone who could do more things as a safety. He had more range than Lott and had great leaping ability. He was a good hitter but not as rough as Lott but he'd hit, but more importantly, he'd not miss tackles. And he couldn't be fooled too often. I saw him play cornerback some and also linebacker in some of the Rams schemes. But yeah, outside of Lott there is no safety I'd want on my team more than him".
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
Dave Parks, Early Career Greatness
|Credit: Philadelphia Cards|
They are as follows;
1. The immortal Don Hutson from the beginning of the 1942 season through the first 5 games of 1945. He caught 208 for 3,486 yards, and 45 touchdowns.
|Don Hutson, Colorization by John Turney|
|Tom Fears. Colorization by John Turney|
|Pete Pihos. Colorization by John Turney|
|Raymond Berry. Colorization by John Turney|
|Del Shofner. Colorization by John Turney|
|Bobby Mitchell. Credit SIKids.com|
Leg injuries and leaving the 49ers contributed to Parks lack of production for the remainder of his career. Watching him run his patterns, his all out effort, and athleticism in catching the ball, and finally his determined running ability after the catch were sure impressive to watch.
Follow Pro Football Journal on Twitter
Wednesday, September 10, 2014
Rookie Aaron Donald Draws a Triple Team Block
Here is a shot of the play (clink to enlarge):
We are intrigued with Donald, he looked very quick and will keep you posted—Defensive Rookie of the Year, perhaps?
Saturday, August 30, 2014
Random Testimonials and the Hall of Fame
Friday, August 22, 2014
George Allen's 1976 Rankings of Linebackers
By John Turney
In the least of a series, we present George Allen's ranking of linebackers. He lists middle linebackers and outside linebackers and then lists the best backups.
For Allen "Stub" is a strong-side backer, or some coaches call this a "SAM". His "Buck" is the same as a "Will" or weakside linebacker. Mac is his term for middle linebacker, which is often called the "Mike".
George Allen's Offensive Line Ratings for 1976
By John Turney
We've posted the defensive backs and the defensive linemen. Here are Allen's rating for the offensive linemen, again, like the defensive linemen this is not a complete list but perhaps who they scouted for the 1977 season.
Thursday, August 21, 2014
George Allen's 1976 Rankings of 'Rushmen'
By John Turney
We've posted George Allen's rankings of defensive backs recently and today we are posting his rakings for the "rushmen" or defensive linemen. His term is "rushmen" since he used to say "If a defensive lineman can't rush the passer he is stealing"This does not appear to be a complete list, however. Missing is his own team and also the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Baltimore Colts, and several others. We don't have an explanation for that since his defensive back ratings were complete.
Sunday, August 17, 2014
George Allen's Grades on NFL "Dekes" From 1973
By John Turney
|Dick Anderson and Jake Scott by Bart Forbes|
Yesterday we posted George Allen's grades for "Dekes" or defensive backs for the 1976 season. Today we are posting his 1973 grades.
The 1973 grades are the opposite of 1976 when the higher the number the better the grade. Allen changed his system, apparently, between 1974-76. In 1973 the lower the number the better the grade. The explanations are at the top of each page.
Enjoy.Here are his grades for safeties—
Saturday, August 16, 2014
George Allen's Grades on NFL "Dekes" From 1976
By John Turney
|Art Credit: E. Keith|
In the mid-1990s we got to visit, as a guest of Jennifer Allen, the home of her mother and father George to go through Allen's library and glean some facts and figures and whatever else we could from his volumes.
One of those things we found were the grades of NFL players (other than his own club). We thought our readers might like to see some of them.
Allen called defensive backs "Dekes" and his names for the specific players were "Lou" for left corner, "Rose" for right corner, "Jill" for weak safety, and "Sam" for strong safety.
Here is his scoring system and explanations—
Thursday, July 24, 2014
Red Grange's All-Time NFL Team
By John Turney
In November 1959, Red Grange picked his personal All-Time team:
For some reason, he picked four offensive tackles. The reasoning was not explained in the 1959 article.
Monday, July 21, 2014
George Allen's Evaluations of Three Hall of Fame Tackles
By John Turney
Today we will post the evaluations for Dan Dierdorf, and George Kunz and Rayfield Wright. We didn't find the Ron Yary or Art Shell evaluations wile in Pacific Palisades doing research on the Late-George Allen's library. In coming days we will post more of Allen's work, but we found the tackles quite interesting.