Saturday, August 30, 2014

Random Testimonials and the Hall of Fame

 By John Turney 

On one of my first trips to the Hall of Fame, I was able to interview a few players who were, themselves, Hall of Fame inductees. As was my habit then I'd ask them who they thought was missing from Canton and some of the answers were interesting, excellent players who were not on my list as "missing".

When I asked Dan Fouts he blurted out "Ed White". He and White were teammates and good friends but after several years of research that White was one of those whose career was better than his traditional "honors" (All-Pros, Pro Bowls, etc.) suggested. 

Years later Ron Yary told me that yes, Ed White was indeed a great lineman, again a teammate, but Yary was honest in his evaluations. Yary also mentioned George Kunz as being every but as good as he, Dierdorf, Rayfield Wright, or Art Shell. 

Bob Lilly told me "Roman Gabriel, his numbers are as good as anyone in here". That made some sense because for years Gabriel gave Dallas fits, when he was with the Rams and with the Eagles, even upsetting Dallas a couple of times in 1973 and 1974 and usually doing very well, sometimes whipping the Cowboys when he was with the Rams.
Hall of Fame guard Joe DeLamielleure has always maintained Bob Keuchenberg was the "prototype" guard of his era and he, John Hannah, and others used Keuch as the template for how to play guard in the NFL. Additionally, Joe D. thought Dave Butz was a Hall of Famer in terms of how difficult the big man was to move. He's mentioned others as well, like Joe Jacoby and Randy Gradishar as well. DeLamielleure is also high on Joe Klecko as well (Joe D. is a "big Hall" guy).

Another Hall of Famer, Art Shell, puts Gradishar in his top five "not in the Hall of Fame" along with his fellow Raiders Ken Stabler, Cliff Branch, Tom Flores and Roger Brown, the Lions and Rams defensive tackle who attended the same college as Shell. Shell's word is highly respected among voters, I am told.

Merlin Olsen is also one who endorsed Randy Gradishar calling him one of the best linebackers he'd ever seen when playing or covering the NFL.

Rams defensive end Jack Youngblood thinks that Nolan Cromwell and Larry Brooks are two rare players who were dominant who don't get any ink whatsoever and thinks both are HOF-level players. He also says that Russ Washington, the Chargers right tackle gave him more problems than anyone, even Rayfield Wright, Dierdrof, and Yary. He also agrees with Yary that Kunz is in the same class as all of them.

Who knows what the future brings, but it is interesting the names you hear when you ask great players who they think are Hall of Famers because it does not always match with the media narrative. 

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. 


Left Guards

Right Guards

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. 

But, we thought we'd share it anyway.

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.


Here are his grades for safeties—
Here are his grades for left and right cornerbacks
By position—

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—

Here is a chart of the 1976 starters with grades—
Here are the units graded as a whole—
Here are the top strong safeties—
Here are the top free safeties—
Here are the backups—
Here are the right cornerbacks with grades—
Here are the left cornerbacks (Lous) with grades—
Here are the backups ar corner, both left and right—