Draft Countdown Forums

Go Back   Draft Countdown Forums > Draft Countdown Forums > Pro Football

Pro Football Discuss professional football.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 01-27-2013, 08:25 AM    (permalink
Leon Sandcastle
Veteran
 
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 918
Reputation: 31783
Leon Sandcastle is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Leon Sandcastle is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Leon Sandcastle is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Leon Sandcastle is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Leon Sandcastle is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Leon Sandcastle is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Leon Sandcastle is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Leon Sandcastle is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Leon Sandcastle is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Leon Sandcastle is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Leon Sandcastle is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zycho32 View Post
1920's All-Decade Team, the Starting Lineup and Coaches:

As I've alluded to before, the initial problem with selecting an All-Time team comes with finding a coach who has the ideal formation to best exploit the collective talents of the roster. This was a decade where the variety of offensive formations was gretly skewered to extremes and where the player pool wasn't supposedly capable of 'adapting' to multiple styles. The formations aren't the problem; by far the most revolutionary styles incorporated in this particular decade were the T-Formation and the Notre Dame Box. Both were leaps and bounds above what the Single Wing offered.

The problem comes with the coaches who ran the formations.

George Halas ran the T-Formation, having learned it in Illinois under Bob Zuppke. He stuck to it all throughout his coaching career with the Chicago Bears, and never deviated from it even though he ultimately lacked several crucial pieces which would make the formation thrive in the future. Curly Lambeau ran the Notre Dame Box, having learned it in Notre Dame under Knute Rockne. While initially more innovative and pass-happy than the T-Formation could've dreamed of, Lambeau also suffered from extensive stubborness in regards to his strategy. And this isn't even mentioning the animosity the both supposedly had for each other on game day, which removes the one feasible compromise; a hybrid system which incorporates the basic structure of the T-Formation with the various benefits of the Notre Dame Box such as split ends and backfield shifting and better emphasis on the passing game. Combine the two and you have a reasonable fascimile to what the T-Formation ultimately became in the 1940's.

With that in mind...

Head Coach: George Halas- 1929
-Chicago Bears, 1920-29, 1933-42, 1946-55, 1958-67
Assistant Coach: Earl "Curly" Lambeau- 1929
-Green Bay Packers, 1921-49/ Chicago Cardinals, 1950-51/ Washington Redskins, 1952-53

And here's why; their collective animosity extended only to their single-minded desire to win. Only one incident between the both of them occured off the football field, when Halas blew the whistle on the Packers using College Ringers in 1922, and even this is tempered by the supposed story that he lobbied for the Packers to be brought back into the NFL for the '23 season. The theory goes that if you can point these two in the same direction, their mutual desire to win should override all other concerns. In theory, mind you.

In an ideal word, Lambeau only influences Halas' T-Formation in several key areas designed to greatly boost the offensive attack (Bears teams of the 20's were Defense-First, remember). Splitting the Ends gives greater opportunity for receiving threats, as well as a better blocking angle on the outside runs. The backfield shifting, sometimes a Notre Dame Box, sometimes something else, makes the offense more unpredictable.

So, with the Offensive Formation the hybrid so desperately needed to maximize the attack, the first priority for the roster is to find a Quarterback. The T-Formation didn't thrive until Sid Luckman arrived in Chicago. The Quarterback in the Notre Dame Box was often the best passer during this decade (at least by the late 20's anyway). Both styles at their best required an Intelligent Quarterback with a quality arm and an efficient ability to get that ball to the receiver.

The best passer for these traits in the 1920's is...

Starting Quarterback: Benny Friedman- 1929
-5'10 183. Cleveland Bulldogs, 1927/ Detroit Wolverines, 1928/ New York Giants, 1929-31/ Brooklyn Dodgers, 1932-34

Friedman is thought to be the greatest passer in the 1920's by a wide margin. How wide? Imagine a football league with Tom Brady and 31 Quarterbacks from Division III. The man threw for 20 Touchdowns in '29. I don't think anybody in the whole of the decade managed half that in a year... maybe a career. Maybe.

But enough about the hyperbole, lets get down to the skills. As great of an arm that Friedman had, and he was easily one of the best of his era there, it was his touch which outdid everyone else. He learned how to turn long bombs into high floaters which drifted into the arms of the receiver, a practically unheard of ability at the time. And this was with a fatter ball! With horrid rules designed to prevent passing! And an even greater emphasis of how cowardly passing was! As if that weren't enough, he was the first passer to throw with an overhand style, which gave him the added bonus of being missed more often by onrushing defending Tackles because his throwing style pushed him forward and juuuust out of the way.

And it wasn't just a one-dimensional skill either. Friedman played as a Tailback in the Single Wing, which in those days meant you had to be a Triple-Threat star for the offense to succeed. You had to run, you had to pass, and you had to kick. And you had to do all three well. And Friedman did all three. His physique also made him a quality Blocker and a reasonable Defender- something that I KNOW you need to be educated on because you looked at his 5'10, 183 measurements and thought 'twig', didn't ya?

Friedman initially tried to train himself to be a strongman, more specifically "The World's Champion Strongman" as a child. That's a fact of his life and you can look it up. As a result of that dream and the effort he put into reaching it, he came out a surprisingly strong individual which not only benefitted his development as a passer- not just arm strength but shoulders and legs too- but also helped him withstand the 60 minute Two-Way style that was prevalent in those days. He never got knocked out of a game.

Key question is, can he learn the T-Formation? Well, the better question is, why can't he? There's something in his history that stated he lacked the brainpower to run the position- he wasn't just winging it on a prayer, he was looking downfield and finding the open receivers and properly gauging distances to boot. He's also described as cool and unflappable, both additional key qualities you want in your passer.

Anyway, Friedman's your passer. Now onto the rest of the backfield. First Position is T-Formation, second is Notre Dame Box.

Starting Left Halfback/Tailback: Red Grange- 1925
-6'0 183. Chicago Bears, 1925, 1929-34/ New York Yankees, 1926-27

This is kind of a cheat, since I'm cutting off Grange's year after the NFL season ended but before the barnstorming tour. It's also a rather controversial selection given the presence of multiple Triple-Threat Tailbacks, players such as Paddy Driscoll, Verne Lewellen, Fritz Pollard, and even the great Jim Thorpe. So why Grange? Because out of all of the potential candidates, he had the greatest athletic potential out of all of them as a runner and receiver.

You probably don't need me to point out the particulars, presuming you'd studied the history of the NFL once or twice. But for the unenlightened, I'll elaborate; Red Grange at the time posessed the greatest blend of speed and agility ever seen in a Halfback. Remember what I said about the T-Formation requiring viable Gods at Halfback to make the running plays worthwhile? Grange came the absolute closest. He was a dangerous Home Run threat who could not only carry the ball but catch it, a much-needed dose of versatility. There's not much info about his ability as a passer, but he seems to be underrated at it. Much like his defense, which only gained notoriety AFTER a 1927 injury robbed him of his elusiveness and he became an ordinary runner.

The lone problem with using Grange comes off the field; having to deal with his sum[BLEEP] of an agent, C.C Pyle. This is the same man who orchestrated a competing league with Grange at the helm of a New York Franchise in 1926 and would unquestionably give you headaches. But it's worth dealing with that, especially when getting Grange before the popularity has truly sunk in.

Starting Fullback: Ernie Nevers- 1929
-6'0 204. Duluth Eskimos, 1926-27/ Chicago Cardinals, 1929-31

As much as all the sources describe Nevers as a "Football Player without a Fault", he comes with three glaring questions. First Question, can he adjust to not being the absolute focal point of the offense? Second Question, can he adjust to a Formation that is NOT the Stanford Double Wing? And finally, how skilled is Nevers at blocking?

These aren't nitpicking. Nevers spent his entire career playing in a Double Wing formation where he inherited the Triple-Threat role normally reserved for the Tailback(who became a second wingback by the way). He could do the job, no question. He was a gifted runner, passer, and kicker. But that formation, and his near monopoly of importance in the formation, raises major concerns about his ability to fit in. That same importance overshadowed whatever ability he had as a blocker because he was needed to do other things on offense. On this team greater emphasis will be spent on his blocking.

As far as I am concerned, I want to believe Nevers can adjust. I've read nothing that indicated he was wholly selfish- just surpremely talented compared to his teammates. And at least one column described his blocking as 'expert', though this one was about his days at Stanford and not the NFL, but I suppose the "Football Player without a fault" wouldn't slack off in that area if called upon. And if those same columns are worth the computer bytes sacrificed, Nevers is also what you describe as a "Foxhole Player", someone who would rise to the occasion. Once he played against the Four Horsemen and Notre Dame on two broken legs and earned accolades despite the fact that Stanford lost. Then there was the Barnstorming tour Duluth made in '26, with Nevers the key point behind the offense. In short, his intangibles and athletic ability are both up to snuff. And I like to think players weren't as inflexible about the formations they played in as one would think.

As a side note, Nevers' ability as a Triple-Threat actually gives the T-Formation an added layer of unpredictability, not to mention the option of shifting to an actual Double Wing, giving opposing defenses an additional headache.

Starting Right Halfback/Wingback: Johnny "Blood" McNally- 1929
-6'1 188. Milwaukee Badgers, 1925/ Duluth Eskimos, 1926-27/ Pottsville Maroons, 1928/ Green Bay Packers, 1929-33, 1935-36/ Pittsburgh Pirates, 1934, 1937-38

It was down to either McNally or fellow Hall-of-Famer Joe Guyon. The breakdown went like this; Guyon was the superior blocker and had greater versatility all around. McNally meanwhile was the more dangerous receiver and had enough versatility of his own. In a Single-Wing, Guyon would be the choice at Wingback. In a Notre Dame Box, McNally was listed as a Tailback but could be 'hidden' as the Wingback. In the T-Formation? McNally may just be the closest to matching Red Grange in pure explosiveness as a running/receiving threat.

A lot of accounts rate him as the greatest receiver before Don Hutson arrived, great praise considering he was a halfback in a league loaded with explosive halfbacks and more than a few talented Ends. Also rated as a quality blocker and defender (one source described him as a ball hawk while another said he was a great tackler. Maybe he was both). The only concern is his off-field behavior, which was mischevious rather than ugly. Lambeau got along with him for the most part despite his antics. Halas might just kill him.

With the starting backfield settled, it's time to work on the line. The key attributes are basically the toughest and best linemen, while the Ends need to double as both effective blockers and receiving threats.

Starting Left End: Guy Chamberlin- 1922
-6'2 196. Chicago Bears, 1920-21/ Canton Bulldogs, 1922-24/ Frankford Yellow Jackets, 1925-26/ Chicago Cardinals, 1927

The funny thing is you can't really find anything especially revealing about Chamberlin's athletic ability beyond the cliche bukkake of "The finest Two-Way End of his era." The closest you come to anything concrete is his college career at Nebraska, where he played Halfback. His career as a player is also overshadowed by his career as a Coach- winning the most championships in the decade will do that. But so far nothing has come out that condemns his ability as a receiver, which means if he truly is as good as they say about being a Two-Way End, there's no reason not to have him as a starter. Shoot, he was the top choice for George Halas when he started the Bears franchise in the NFL. That alone probably makes him worth it. He gets the benefit of the doubt until somebody unearths a unforgiveable flaw.

Starting Left Tackle: Link Lyman- 1928
-6'2 233. Canton Bulldogs, 1922-25/ Frankford Yellow Jackets, 1925/ Chicago Bears, 1926-34

Modern defensive players credit Lyman with pioneering the 'shifting' method employed on the Defensive Line pre-snap. Lyman's inclusion is based on that innovation and several other factors. His size and strength for one (the reason his 'year' is so late into his career is due to a comment from Halas stating he was stronger and tougher in his last two years than when he started out). Another is his pairing on the left side with Chamberlin for three years. By the way, if you haven't noticed, the aim is to get players into the closest position to the one they played in their careers. That's trickier in the backfield, not so much on the line. So Lyman was unquestionably as Left Tackle in his career.

Starting Left Guard: Mike Michalske- 1929
-6'0 210. New York Yankees, 1927-28/ Green Bay Packers, 1929-35, 1937

Funny thing about NFL Linemen in the 1920's, many of them were about Michalske's size, if not actually smaller. So it's a lucky thing that "Iron Mike" is actually the smallest starter on the line, including the Ends. This is roughly by design, remember. The bigger your line, the better they probably would be at the point of attack. Granted that's a biased viewpoint from someone who has grappled with the overall importance of size his entire life. So since Mike is smaller than I would like and he's still the starter, it stands to reason he is talented.

Michalske had a reputation as a true Iron Man, as his nickname would imply. This is more significant since he plays on the line both ways. But Michalske wasn't just a durable stalwart in the trenches. He came into the NFL as a Fullback from Penn State, and was converted to Guard. In fact, Michalske served as the template for several College Fullbacks to be converted to Professional Guards. It was more than just a novelty, for Mike had greater burst and acceleration than his fellow contemporaries- that same burst made him an effective blitzer on the defensive side, back when defensive 'blitzing' was essentially a balls-out charge for the ballcarrier and lacked anything resembling technique.

Starting Center: George Trafton- 1924
-6'2 230. Chicago Bears, 1920-32

There are truly no other Centers in this decade who stand out the way Trafton does. In fact, it's such an obvious selection that I'm having trouble working up the bother to justify it, but I'll try. Trafton was known for being one of the roughest competitors of his era, to the extent that he was just about hated everywhere except for Chicago. In addition to that rather bland description of intangibles, Trafton also possessed a speed and fluidity comparable to a Halfback, making him the first 'rover' of sorts on defense. In addition, his snapping technique was considered top-notch, though this may not offer the benefit one would want in a hybrid offense since he spent his entire time in the Pros under the T-Formation, making his work in other formations iffy.

Starting Right Guard: Walt Kiesling- 1929
-6'3 260. Duluth Eskimos, 1926-27/ Pottsville Maroons, 1928/ Chicago Cardinals, 1929-33/ Chicago Bears, 1934/ Green Bay Packers, 1935-36/ Pittsburgh Pirates, 1937-38

A rule I made for myself was to limit the 'applicants' of a particular decade to a minimum of five years spent in said decade. It eliminated two camps of players- the young bucks at the tail end who might make the roster purely on potential, and the old vets getting by on experience in the early years. Get enough of those guys and you can come up with a strong enough performance to justify selecting them over someone else. Still, it is a rule that is meant to be broken at times. The 1920's is one such time, with such a stark lack of consistancy. As such several players fail to meet the five-year requirement but were simply too good to ignore. Both Guard spots, as a matter of fact, require breaking said rule.

If anybody, anywhere, remembers Walt Kiesling, it is probably for the display of ineptitude he showed in his final coaching years at Pittsburgh in the 1950's (Cutting a young Johnny Unitas was sadly only the cherry on the turd sundae). Most wouldn't remember him as one of the key stalwarts of his time. He was a particularly rugged blocker paving the way for players such as Ernie Nevers, and you can't scoff at his immense size, all the better for the right side of the line which to this day is accepted as the primary avenue of rushing attacks.

Starting Right Tackle: Cal Hubbard- 1929
-6'2? 250. New York Giants, 1927-28, 1936/ Green Bay Packers, 1929-33, 1935/ Pittsburgh Pirates, 1936

The bias of size shows its ugly head again. Hubbard made the starting lineup over Pete "Fats" Henry, an early 20's star by virtue of better size; Henry was listed as 5'11 and 245 while Hubbard matched the weight and had a good number of inches on the guy and was just as impossible to run against. Hubbard also happened to be surprisingly mobile for such a big man of his era, enough so that he could in fact run down a play that went to the other side (which happened quite frequently). In fact, it led to him playing just off the line in much the manner of a linebacker- there is nothing to indicate this made him less capable of taking on a run directly at him, which keeps him from being a liability.

Starting Right End: LaVern Dilweg- 1929
-6'3 200. Milwaukee Badgers, 1926/ Green Bay Packers, 1927-34

Dilweg bends the rules a bit as he was listed primarily as a Left End. However, the extensive lack of stability at Right End (I think the most consistant players in the pool were guys like George Halas and George Kenneally, who were more blockers than receivers) forces him to switch sides for the overall good of the offense.

But it's not as if Dilweg couldn't swtich sides to begin with. He's considered one of the best of this particular era to NOT be inducted into the Hall-of-Fame, was described as the best two-way end before Don Hutson came onto the scene, and was equally adept at blocking and tackling as he was at receiving. In short, he's a solid two-way option just the same as Chamberlin is.

What's the Defense?

Defensive formations were pretty much neanderthalic even by the standards of the decade. The primary formation was the 7-2-2... which is pretty much like it sounds. Seven men on the line from End to End (Ends were not pure receivers, remember), with two linebackers and two defensive backs. The linebackers were usually the Quarterback and Fullback, with the Tailback and Wingback comprising the secondary. For the time it worked because teams rarely threw, a reality we are presuming won't be the case in this theoretical 'Battle for the Planet'.

The 'Passing' Defense was really a 7-Diamond scheme, with the Quarterback dropping back beyond the halfbacks as a deep safety. This didn't offer much of a downgrade in run defense, since Linebackers were expected to usually be followers of the play rather than aggressive rushers- the majority of the rushing was handled by the line even when the Ends were forced to cover their counterparts in the open field.

There was a variation to a 6-2-2-1 Formation, where the Center dropped back to assume a linebacker role while the Quarterback played the deep safety, but there's nothing to indicate this was used in the 1920's.

Anyway, onto the reserves. As this is a 25-Man roster, you will see a backup for each position, with three miscellaneous players behind that. And this is where these All-Decade teams will greatly diverge from other All-Time teams assembled in the past. Most teams of this nature are often established purely on merit, which is why you'll find all kinds of hall-of-famers in reserve roles on these rosters, when people will bother to assemble a team beyond the starting lineup to begin with. Since we are assembling a team that could win a game if their lives depended on it, the crucial importance of PT- Playing Time- becomes the Elephant in the Room. Simply put, substitutes were rarely brought in at this time, which makes for a bit of a bruised ego if you just sit on the bench all day, which in turn makes you a rather negative influence on team chemistry as a whole. So when you look for backups, you really are looking for a specific mindset. In short, you're looking for a guy who won't let sitting on the bench get to his head. An 'Intangibles' guy who can still perform in a pinch if you need to.

And since this is a decade which tends to lack information about players who DIDN'T make the Hall-of-Fame, this is a spotty quality to go by, but the effort has to be made. When we return we shall have the remaining roster on hand.
Bro I gotta commend this write up but I question your intelligence for including Link Lyman. Dude was soooo overrated it's not even funny.

He only got on because of his distant relation to Frankie Lymon.
Leon Sandcastle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-27-2013, 11:33 AM    (permalink
JordanTaber
Veteran
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 721
Reputation: -58773
JordanTaber JordanTaber JordanTaber JordanTaber JordanTaber JordanTaber JordanTaber JordanTaber JordanTaber JordanTaber JordanTaber
Default

Ray Lewis can blow me. He was a great player, yet still manages to be so overrated it's ridiculous. **** him and his stupid pregame dances and all the credit he gets for diving on top of piles and dancing around like an idiot, as if he actually did something.

"Waaah, 3-4 defense, waaaah."

Despite all the bravado, he was a finesse linebacker. Scrape-and-flow, sideline-to-sideline. A damn good one, obviously, but you could run right at him and have success. That's a far bigger problem than Mike Singletary supposedly not being great in coverage. Mike Singletary really was making all those tackles he got credit for. You pop in a Bears game he played in and there he is, making play after play. He even chased Dwight Clark down from behind in the open field in the 84 NFC Championship game.

And the last few years, Lewis been a shell of his former self, yet nobody seemed to even notice. He and his T-rex arms have missed countless tackles, yet it's OK...because he's Ray Lewis, and he can do no wrong. **** him.

Talk about style over substance.

That said, he's still the MLB of the 00s, without question.
JordanTaber is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-27-2013, 11:51 AM    (permalink
TheFinisher
Pro Bowler
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: The Empire State
Posts: 2,542
Reputation: 458868
TheFinisher is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.TheFinisher is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.TheFinisher is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.TheFinisher is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.TheFinisher is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.TheFinisher is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.TheFinisher is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.TheFinisher is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.TheFinisher is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.TheFinisher is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.TheFinisher is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by bigbluedefense View Post
There's no way Harry Carson was better than Ray Lewis.

I think Ray propelled himself above Butkus, Lambert and Singletary. Singletary couldn't defend the pass all that well. So Ray beats him by default.

Lambert was great as was Butkus, but what gives Lewis the edge is his versatility. Lewis has been dominant in multiple fronts and schemes, and he's every bit the run stuffer that Butkus and Lambert were, every bit the leader, every bit the intellect, while being a far superior pass coverage backer than both of them.

Ray was just better than them. I gotta give the nod to Ray. You can debate Butkus and Lambert. But he's definitely better than Singletary.
Seau was the greatest IMO, but to each their own.

In his prime, like '91-'97. he was more disruptive than Ray Lewis ever was. People forget the physical freak that Seau was, and he combined that with some of best instincts we've ever seen at the LB position. Like Parcells used to do with LT, San Diego used to just turn Seau loose because he was such a special playmaker. You don't see that often at the NFL level, guys that can just take over and as an offense there's nothing you can do to stop it, but Seau was one of them.
__________________

Last edited by TheFinisher : 01-27-2013 at 11:57 AM.
TheFinisher is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-27-2013, 12:22 PM    (permalink
FUNBUNCHER
All-Pro
 
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Dodge City
Posts: 7,484
Reputation: 1199061
FUNBUNCHER is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.FUNBUNCHER is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.FUNBUNCHER is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.FUNBUNCHER is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.FUNBUNCHER is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.FUNBUNCHER is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.FUNBUNCHER is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.FUNBUNCHER is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.FUNBUNCHER is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.FUNBUNCHER is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.FUNBUNCHER is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.
Default

What Ray Lewis has over guys like Singletary and Seau was his ability to make plays in coverage. And the fact the guy just made more plays in general than any other Mike 'backer. Calling him highly productive during his career doesn't really touch how Lewis in his prime could impact a game in multiple phases.

Seau is still my favorite MLB, however, and I feel like he was the more physically dominant player.

I agree with JordanTaber that Ray didn't like fighting through trash in the box to make a tackle, or stoning a guard in the hole and shedding him for a tackle.

Lewis himself has said he prefers to have Dlineman in front of him who can keep guards occupied so that he can flow and attack the ballcarrier.

One of the smartest Mikes I've ever seen who thrived on film study and almost never took a false step. His true value to a defense IMO was that Ray knew where everyone was supposed to be and got everyone in position.

He could direct his guys on defense like Peyton Manning did on offense.

Singletary is on the verge of becoming underrated. He and Ray Lewis have many similarities as players IMO.
__________________
FUNBUNCHER is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-27-2013, 12:53 PM    (permalink
WCH
Pro Bowler
 
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 4,903
Reputation: 3324898
WCH is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.WCH is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.WCH is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.WCH is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.WCH is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.WCH is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.WCH is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.WCH is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.WCH is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.WCH is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.WCH is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.
Default

Zycho32 is my new favorite poster.
WCH is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-27-2013, 01:17 PM    (permalink
bigbluedefense
Team Leader
Legend
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Jersey
Posts: 29,112
Reputation: 4018079
bigbluedefense is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.bigbluedefense is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.bigbluedefense is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.bigbluedefense is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.bigbluedefense is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.bigbluedefense is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.bigbluedefense is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.bigbluedefense is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.bigbluedefense is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.bigbluedefense is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.bigbluedefense is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.
Default

That was a very impressive post. I wish I could comment on it but honestly I don't know a damn thing about any player from that era.
__________________
bigbluedefense is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-27-2013, 01:44 PM    (permalink
TheFinisher
Pro Bowler
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: The Empire State
Posts: 2,542
Reputation: 458868
TheFinisher is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.TheFinisher is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.TheFinisher is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.TheFinisher is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.TheFinisher is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.TheFinisher is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.TheFinisher is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.TheFinisher is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.TheFinisher is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.TheFinisher is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.TheFinisher is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.
Default

Wow, Zycho dropping some serious knowledge.
__________________
TheFinisher is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2013, 12:14 PM    (permalink
zachsaints52
Asian Batista
All-Pro
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Concord U
Posts: 7,908
Reputation: 1087797
zachsaints52 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.zachsaints52 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.zachsaints52 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.zachsaints52 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.zachsaints52 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.zachsaints52 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.zachsaints52 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.zachsaints52 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.zachsaints52 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.zachsaints52 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.zachsaints52 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.
Default

There was legit football in the 1920s?
__________________
zachsaints52 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-29-2013, 01:27 PM    (permalink
YAYareaRB
All-NFLDC
 
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 11,242
Reputation: 496749
YAYareaRB is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.YAYareaRB is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.YAYareaRB is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.YAYareaRB is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.YAYareaRB is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.YAYareaRB is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.YAYareaRB is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.YAYareaRB is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.YAYareaRB is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.YAYareaRB is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.YAYareaRB is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by zachsaints52 View Post
There was legit football in the 1920s?


ball so hard
__________________


YAYareaRB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-02-2013, 03:25 AM    (permalink
Zycho32
Veteran
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 624
Reputation: 103854
Zycho32 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Zycho32 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Zycho32 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Zycho32 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Zycho32 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Zycho32 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Zycho32 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Zycho32 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Zycho32 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Zycho32 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Zycho32 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.
Default

1920's All-Decade Team, The Bench:


There are twenty-three players in the Hall of Fame who spent at least one year of their careers in the 1920's. Ten out of the starting Eleven players on this team made the Hall-of-Fame, Lavvie Dilweg the lone exception. Which means there are thirteen Hall-of-Famers left and fourteen roster spots available.

Not all of the Hall-of-Famers will make this roster, and here's the principle reason;

To remind the viewers, the principle purpose of this roster is to place this team in a fictional 'Battle for the Planet', something called the Martian Premise. In it, alien invaders attack our planet, then offer us a win-or-die ultimatum in a game of our choosing. We choose the sport, and we get access to a time machine which permits us to pick out the best athletes of said sport in our collective history (only backwards in time, unfortunately) at their best peaks. In short, you're building the best football team possible as opposed to a purely merit-driven honor roll.

And when you build an actual sports team, not just something form the Madden games, you have to deal with a context that just doesn't show itself on the gridiron; team chemistry.

This is where the Hall-of-Famers who didn't make the starting lineup theoretically falter, because they would be reduced to mere bench warmers and- if lucky, sporadic stretches as a substitute. This is where intangibles come into play, as pretty much all of the players on the short lists were consistant starters for their clubs and were often key members. To be reduced in importance to a mere roll player is tolerable if you are still a starter, and yes, some players do fail this part, but it's significantly worse if you have no starting job and have to wait for an opportunity to rise. Therefore you ideally want your bench players to be Team-First players with as little ego as possible in regards to PT and importance. But even then you still want your second string powerful enough that it would actually replace the first string wholesale and suffer precious little reduction in efficiency for it.

As an example, I'll cross sports real quick and go over Bill Simmons' NBA Wine Cellar Squad in his first version of his Basketball Book. He basically had a starting five of Kareem, Duncan, Bird, Jordan, and Magic, and that's actually a very powerful Team-First group right there with Jordan as the shakiest one in the bunch but since his the undisputed Alpha Dog it doesn't really matter. But his second team is Walton, McHale, Pippen, D-Wade, and Chris Paul. And pretty much all of them had been labeled at times if not their entire careers as Team-First players who would not disrupt the natural order their teams were based upon. No real headcases in the bunch (maaaaaybe Walton, but he's an odd bird to begin with).

Okay, so we have a 2nd Team to assemble, and then three odds-and-ends players behind them. And though it may be convenient as all heck, I won't establish Halas and Lambeau as Player-Coaches to tie up two roster spots. First order is to find our backup Quarterback.

Backup Quarterback: Joseph "Red" Dunn- 1929
-5'11 177. Milwaukee Badgers, 1924/ Chicago Cardinals, 1925-26/ Green Bay Packers, 1927-31
Selected Over: Paddy Driscoll, Jimmy Conzelman, Joey Sternaman, Tommy Hughitt

The 'Selected Over' list doesn't just include Hall-of-Famers, just so you know. Driscoll is considered a Quarterback by modern standards as a signal caller, but he was always either a Tailback or Left-Halfback (Especially for the Bears, which is especially condemning). Conzelman, for all his all-around talents, was NOT a passer, again more of a Halfback who played Blocking Back. Hughitt is a very seldom-known star from the Buffalo Teams who was both a Triple-Threat and Player-Coach (qualities that you'd be surprised as to their commonplace nature if you delved into the 1920's) who could supposedly throw the ball. Sternaman was the biggest competitor for this spot because he was THE Quarterback for the Bears T-Formation... however there is virtually no information I could find out there in regards to Sternaman's passing ability, and since the Bears didn't pass all that much anyway it's a moot point.

Dunn is here for three specific reasons, two undeniable and one debatable. First off, he Quarterbacked for the Packers mini-dynasty between 1929 and 1931, and for two years prior to that. This coincides with the second reason, that he was a veteran of the Notre Dame box with Green Bay AND for Marquette University. For the Packers he was the main passing threat, and for an offense now geared for quality passers, that means everything.

The third is that Lambeau himself labeled Dunn as a 'Selfless Team Leader'. This is debatable because you have to take glowing reviews with a grain of salt even though they are virtually the only thing of real detail left to document these players by. Still, if Dunn even remotely resembles the 'Selfless' label, he's perfect as the backup passer even if you have to struggle with teaching him the T-Formation.

Now this next part I hated so [BLEEP]ing much...

Backup Left Halfback/Tailback: John "Paddy" Driscoll- 1925
-5'11 160. Chicago Cardinals, 1920-25/ Chicago Bears, 1926-29
Backup Right Halfback/Wingback: Verne Lewellen- 1929
-6'1 182. Green Bay Packers, 1924-32
Selected Over: Jim Thorpe, Fritz Pollard, Jimmy Conzelman, Joe Guyon, Dutch Sternaman

Already you people are raging. Lot of you don't even know the 1920's and you're ranging, because you all know Jim Thorpe. Well Jim Thorpe is the uncontested Alpha Dog of a 1910's Team (and I'm not touching that dark hole of information with a thirty-foot pole) but in the 1920's he's greatly diminished and too far into the pack to make his selection anything more than Merit-driven. Guyon's rejection is based more on what the two selections offered. Conzelman didn't offer enough as a pure runner. Good ol' Dutch was always a fantastic auxillary selection if one of those two didn't pan out... and people are just gonna call me racist for excluding Fritz Pollard even though I found his skills on defense and anything else that didn't involve running to be too much of a mystery.

Remember what I said about intangibles. You don't want a star on the bench if he can't take it and turns into a Locker Room Cancer. You see it a lot of times in this day and age- if only because the media attention it receives is fantastic for ratings. And it's not limited to the media- the forums like this one are loaded with poo-flinging arguments bashing somebody for a number of reasons. But you just can't find that detail in the sparse stories and reports coming out in the 1920's- believe me, I've looked. I tried to find any clue that would imply both Verne and Paddy could NOT accept backup roles and found nothing to confirm that. So while including both of them in backup roles makes by brain squirm a little in worry, I have to admit it is probably the best case scenario.

While you have a bit of a problem with the overall hybrid package (you can't necessarily hide either of these guys as a Fullback or Wingback) you get two more high quality runners for the T-Formation, with the flexibility you want out of Tailbacks. Both Driscoll and Lewellen can throw the ball, though neither good enough to be actual Quarterbacks, and catch it. Both could play exceptional defense. And both are fantastic punters, though Driscoll has experience kicking XPs and FGs while Lewellen doesn't.

Backup Fullback: Tony Latone- 1925
-5'11 195. Pottsville Maroons, 1925-28/ Boston Bulldogs, 1929/ Providence Steam Roller, 1930
Selected Over: Jack Mcbride, Doc Elliot, and a slew of role players.

The Hero of Pottsville. If you haven't looked him up yet, do it. Now. Right now [BLEEP] it, before you finish the rest of this post. Yeah, I'm talking to you, procrastinator, move your lazy mouse hand and bring up a new web page and look him up. I'll wait.

Got enough info there, sport? Good.

If it weren't for Nevers, Latone would be the unquestioned starter at Fullback... and maybe the team as a whole might be better off in a few ways, most of all his punishing prowess as both a line-plunger and lead blocker. And he's got the reputation of being the 'Unofficial' leading rusher of the decade. And all of it, every last accolade and accomplishment, stems from his childhood in the mines. If that's not an American Success Story that demands multiple biographies and Lifetime Movies, what does? Really, the description of Tony's effectiveness as a football player is roughly as elaborate as Tony himself... and in this case, it's beautiful in its simplicity.

Funny thing of note; you know how defenses nowadays pack in the 'box' to contain a deadly Running Back, because the passing offense can't really hurt them? Well, in the era of the 7-2-2 defense and a distinct lack of passing threats, defenses actually PACKED the box tighter against Tony. And the miserable part about it? It wasn't guaranteed to work because Tony was fast enough to be elusive, or at least cut against the grain, as opposed to just being a battering ram.

Backup Left End: Ray Flaherty- 1929
-6'0 190. Los Angeles Wildcats, 1926/ New York Yankees, 1927-28/ New York Giants, 1929-35
Selected Over: Frank "Duke" Hanny, Luke Urban, George Kenneally

As noted before, on this team you want two-way ends who can catch balls as well as run block, given that the T-Formation does demand both. Kenneally was rated as a star tw-way end but didn't seem to have any renown for his receiving. Luke Urban had an all-too brief career that was cut short not by injury or lack of talent, but by a potential baseball career as well as other things... that and he stood 5'8 and 165 which sure doesn't help here. Finally Duke Hanny was indeed a receiver, and was a major part of the Bears roster through the twenties... but the sad truth is he can't hold a candle to the ability Ray Flaherty posesses.

Like all the Hall of Famers on this list, Flaherty is here because there's once again nothing that indicates he could NOT handle a bench role. It's also easy to debate on whether he's better than Guy Chamberlin, but that's neither here nor there in this case. And, like all other Hall-of-Famers who became coaches, his coaching overshadowed his playing days, which is a very annoying shadow to try and dig up some info.

Backup Left Tackle: Steve Owen- 1927
-5'11 237. Kansas City Cowboys, 1924-25/ Cleveland Bulldogs, 1925/ New York Giants, 1926-31, 1933
Selected Over: Howard "Cub" Buck, Bub Weller, Bull Behman, Russ Hathaway

Owen suffers from the same problems as Flaherty; namely there's little about his abilities as a player (though he is labeled as a Defensive Star and the leader of the 1927 Giants who won the title) and is overshadowed by his coaching accomplishments. And like Flaherty, nothing is available which sheds like on whether he'd rock the boat as a backup or not. It's actually kind of maddening.

Still, Owen is rated as the best Left Tackle of the rest of the pool by a comfortably wide margin. Players like Behman and Hathaway were highly serviceable for that period of time but just weren't as prolific. Bub Weller rates greater in college than he did in the pros. Cub Buck is perhaps the closest competitor (it is said Wilbur "Pete"/"Fats" Henry was the largest lineman of his time at 5'11 and 245, but Buck might've been larger at about 250 (some sources list him actually close to 300).

Backup Left Guard: Rudy Comstock- 1927
-5'10 209. Canton Bulldogs, 1923-25/ Frankford Yellow Jackets, 1926-29/ New York Gians, 1930/ Green Bay Packers, 1930-33
Selected Over: Heartley Anderson, Milt Rehnquist, and a bunch of role players.

It's worth noting that Comstock played more games on the right side of the line than the left. That said, he did play a number of season at Left Guard, and given the slim pickings at that position (Heartley Anderson paradoxially was voted onto the All-Decade Team by the Hall of Fame committee despite only playing four seasons in the NFL) you take what you can get. Besides, one shouldn't scoff at the extensive career he had as a starter, playing for three seperate championship teams in the 1920's. It stands to reason he earned his selection here.

Backup Center: Jug Earp- 1926
-6'0 236. Rock Island Independants, 1921-22/ Green Bay Packers, 1922-32
Selected Over: Herb Stein, Joe "Doc" Alexander, and a bunch of role players.

I said before that no Center in the 1920's stood out the way Trafton does. So how do you pick a proper backup? You sift through what's left, naturally. Earp by all accounts at a somewhat 'spotty' record at Center, having spent time as Tackle during various seasons in his career. But there's a lot to be said about a sturday anchor in the center of the line who will play hurt and can snap in the Notre Dame Box (which sounds a heck of a lot trickier than you would think). His main competition were not as well known (and really the only reason Earp is better known is probably becuase the Packers have their own Hall of Fame). Herb Stein had the distinction of playing for three champions and centered for the Pottsville squad that got cheated out of the '25 title, so you knew he was a touch cookie by any standard. Doc Alexander initially does not have such a large career until you realize his first few years were for the Rochester Jeffersons, who simply didn't play many games- and in those short seasons he was still named to various All-Pro Teams in newspapers and the like. At least he capped his career as a stalwart for the Giants.

Backup Right Guard: Adolph "Swede" Youngstrom- 1923
-6'1 187. Buffalo All-Americans, 1920-25, Frankford Yellow Jackets, 1926-27
Selected Over: Al Nesser, Duke Osborn, Jim McMillen

Pretty much all the viable candidates for this spot weighed in on the light side. McMillen was the only one among them to top 200 pounds and warrant selection. Aside from him there was Al Nesser, one of the imfamous seven "Nesser Brothers" who had quite the claim to fame during the 1910's (still not covering that decade. Trying to dig up dirt in THIS one is frustrating enough). Duke Osborn meanwhile ran with the '25 Pottsville Maroons and like Herb Stein was also a part of three champions. But the choice goes to Youngstrom, who is arguably the best player of the Buffalo squads.

What, you didn't know Buffalo had a sweet competitive team in the 1920's? Or that they were every bit as snakebitten as the hapless 90's teams?

In going through this list, Youngstrom was one of three separate players who warranted detailed consideration. Tommy Hughitt played QB for the team and for a blocking back who mainly blocked and ran he was more than adept at throwing. Then there was Luke Urban, who had a shockingly brief career at End but was described in very glowing terms during his entire career there. There were others who got their name in form time to time, like Bob Nash and Jim Laird and a Halfback with the last name of Oliphant... in short, Buffalo was a loaded squad for its time.

Swede was actually around the average weight for his position during this time, so it's actually not that surprising that he was such a standout on the line, or that he was so explosive and mobile- his speciality being the blocked punt. He also earned accolades for being one of the key leaders on the club and actually has one or two descriptions that make him viable as a proper backup on this roster, meaning he could handle it. His best performance seemed to be dragging a comparatively lackluster Buffalo squad through the '23 and '24 seasons. Granted, he didn't lead them to prosperity- by then all the other big names were gone and the All-Americans were about to die- but he still earned rave reviews for his leadership.

Backup Right Tackle: Wilbur "Pete" Henry- 1923
-5'11 245. Canton Bulldogs, 1920-26/ New York Giants, 1927/ Pottsville Maroons, 1927-28
Selected Over: Duke Slater, Bill Owen, and a bunch of role players.

I suppose if anybody knew who Duke Slater was, then the 'racist' rants could resume because he was one of the few 'African-Americans' who could hold down a job in the NFL AFTER the self-imposed color ban. Bill Owen was brother to Steve. And both were highly capable of their job, but they couldn't approach "Fats."

That's right, I said "Fats", which was a name Henry was known by during his career... because, well, he looked like it. If you look at a pciture of the guy in action he looks like the most unathletic slob, like a hapless fan brought out of the stands to don a uniform because the team was a guy short (the fat kid in Leatherheads? Quite similar). But every tale about him describes him as having fantastic agility and speed for his size- including one where he rushed a punt formation, stole the ball before it touched the punter's foot, then raced to the end zone for a touchdown. At this point "Fats" has approached Pecos Bill territory for his feats alone.

That said, he was a fantastic rock on the line and an even more fantastic kicker. He held distance records for field goals and punts. An opposing coach tried to run right at him to neutralize his mobility at defense; it ended with him flattening the line, naturally.

About the only thing about him I didn't find was any sort of negativity that would've implied he couldn't hack it on the bench, so here he is.

Backup Right End: Tillie Voss- 1924
-6'3 207. Detroit Tigers, 1921/ Buffalo All-Americans, 1921/ Rock Island Independants, 1922/ Akron Pros, 1922/ Toledo Maroons, 1923/ Green Bay Packers, 1924/ Detroit Panthers, 1925/ New York Giants, 1926/ Chicago Bears, 1927-28/ Buffalo Bisons, 1929
Selected Over: Nobody else.

Why this guy? Well, for the following reasons;

First, his size and occasional time spent at Tackle implied that he was quite capable of blocking and defending. And from what I've read, he was quite adept at it.
Second, his season with Green Bay in '24 proved that he could be a quality receiver from the End position.
Third, his frequent bouncing around the league makes it less likely he would have a problem with being on the bench.

And for the final three spots, were going to go with some luxuries and hope they don't bite our butts...

Ed Healey, Tackle- 1923
-6'1 207. Rock Island Independants, 1920-22/ Chicago Bears, 1922-27

George Halas considered Healey to be the most versatile Tackle he'd ever seen. But what does versatile mean in this case? Does it just mean a perfect blend of agility, speed and strength? Does it mean he could effortlessly switch form one side to another? Or is it possible he could shift inside or outside to Guard or End? Truth is, nobody really knows for sure what Halas meant by 'versatile', but if it involves multiple positions then that makes Healey much more valuable for a backup lineman.

Joe Guyon, Back- 1927
-5'10 195. Canton Bulldogs, 1920/ Cleveland Indians, 1921/ Oorang Indians, 1922-23/ Rock Island Independants, 1924/ Kansas City Cowboys, 1925/ New York Giants, 1927

Those of you who subscribe to the 'Wine Cellar' method of Dream Teams may have noticed a bit of a loophole. Since you can take any year of a player, but only one player, you may thing it would be easy to stock the starting lineup with a group of Hall-of-Famers and All-Stars in their primes, while filling the bench with more Hall-of-Famers and All-Stars, only these guys are at the very tail end of their careers. Doing so gives you all of the pedigree and organically solves your pecking order. However, this comes with a vital problem, the old-timers you select still have to be able to perform if they are called upon. This turns the loophole into a risky venture, especially with our premise. However with Guyon, we already know he can perform even at the end of his career... because he did. He filled in for the Giants at multiple positions, including on the line, for their '27 championship team. And even at that point he was still versatile enough as a passer, runner, and defender. So Guyon is a rare case of the Old-Timer principle working out.

Jimmy Conzelman, Back- 1923
-6'0 175. Chicaog Bears(Decatur Staleys), 1920/ Rock Island Independants, 1921-22/ Milwaukee Badgers, 1922-24/ Detroit Panthers, 1925-26/ Providence Steam Roller, 1927-29

In all fairness, Conzelman has no real specific place on the roster. His passing skills are relatively unknown, his production as a runner is a bit understated, and he's a surprisingly proficient receiver if his touchdowns are any indication. In addition, Conzelman has had a reputation for all his life as a do-everything type of guy who finds success in just about any venture. How does that fit for this roster? Well, maybe you can't surely find a clear spot in the hybrid offense, but he's a jack-of-all-trades with a leader's reputation, and that's a great thing to have for your 25th man.

And just because I felt like it, here's a 22-man roster of the 1920's with no Hall of Famers to speak of. No years and no descriptions I'm afraid. Rosters are configured for the T-Formation.

QB: Red Dunn/ Joey Sternaman
LHB: Verne Lewellen/ Dutch Sternaman
FB: Tony Latone/ Jack McBride
RHB: Hal Erickson/ Bob Rapp
LE: Lavern Dilweg/ George Kenneally
LT: Cub Buck/ Bull Behman
LG: Rudy Comstock/ Milt Rehnquist
C: Jug Earp/ Herb Stein
RG: Swede Youngstrom/ Al Nesser
RT: Duke Slater/ Bill Owen
RE: Tillie Voss/ Eddie Anderson

Next up; the 1930's!
Zycho32 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-02-2013, 03:37 AM    (permalink
Caddy
Team Leader
Legend
 
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Aussie-Land
Posts: 20,886
Reputation: 2285531
Caddy is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Caddy is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Caddy is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Caddy is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Caddy is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Caddy is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Caddy is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Caddy is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Caddy is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Caddy is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Caddy is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.
Default

It's pretty sad that I can only think of 4-5 Buccaneers who might be on a 'best of the decade' team since the team has been in existence.
__________________

Caddy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-02-2013, 10:17 AM    (permalink
YAYareaRB
All-NFLDC
 
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 11,242
Reputation: 496749
YAYareaRB is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.YAYareaRB is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.YAYareaRB is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.YAYareaRB is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.YAYareaRB is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.YAYareaRB is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.YAYareaRB is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.YAYareaRB is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.YAYareaRB is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.YAYareaRB is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.YAYareaRB is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.
Default

The fact that you know so much about the leather helmet era is pretty impressive. If I ever have time, ill read all of it
__________________


YAYareaRB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-02-2013, 10:30 AM    (permalink
Splat
Legend
 
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: There's no place I can be since I found Serenity.
Posts: 20,539
Reputation: 1999224
Splat is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Splat is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Splat is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Splat is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Splat is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Splat is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Splat is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Splat is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Splat is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Splat is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Splat is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by FUNBUNCHER View Post
I agree with JordanTaber that Ray didn't like fighting through trash in the box to make a tackle, or stoning a guard in the hole and shedding him for a tackle.
__________________
Splat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-07-2013, 12:35 AM    (permalink
Zycho32
Veteran
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 624
Reputation: 103854
Zycho32 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Zycho32 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Zycho32 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Zycho32 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Zycho32 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Zycho32 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Zycho32 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Zycho32 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Zycho32 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Zycho32 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Zycho32 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.
Default

Alright, 30-Man Roster, and I plan to adhere to my five-year rule more strictly this time around.


1930's All-Decade Team, Starting Lineup and Coach:


Much like in the 1920's, the first problem is to find the right coach and right style of play to best bring out the talents of all the assembled players. In fact, I may as well just come right out and say it only gets significantly more complicated from here once formations become more complex and coaches give way to coaching staffs (YES, I will be assembling actual coaching staffs on these teams, Pop Warner have mercy on my heathen soul). As far as the 1930's are concerned, the available candiates have clear-cut problems.

The most championships of the decade were won by Curly Lambeau, who still utilized the Notre Dame Box, but with a different wrinkle. After Red Dunn retired in '32 the Packers were forced to run their offense with their tailbacks as the primary passers, which essentially turned the Notre Dame Box into a balanced, somewhat misdirective Single-Wing. His willingness to innovate with what he had led to the 'pass wacky' offense but what it covers up was that basically, Lambeau wasn't all that well liked as a coach and could actually be considered sub-par in that department. I've read accounts that described how the players routinely found Lambeau's strategies to be lousy and would have to correct him repeatedly. Not a pleasant combonation to work with.

Next up? Steve Owen, who won two titles in the decade. Unlike Lambeau he was supposedly well-liked and had innovations of his own, including what was called the 'A-Formation'. It basically used an unbalanced Single Wing line, split the End on the strong side WAY wide, then shifted the backfield towards the weak side. It worked for a title in '38 and another appearance in '39 but was quickly overshadowed in the 40's. More to the point, it emphasized a rather diminished backfield that invovled a Quarterback and a Fullback as the primary ball-handlers, with a Blocking Back supporting an isolated lineman on the weakside and the Wingback lining up like a standard Tight End on the edge of the formation.

Then you have guys like Ray Flaherty and Potsy Clark, who as far as I can tell ran Single Wing offenses. Flaherty ran an offense heavily built upon Halfback Cliff Battles until Sammy Baugh was drafted, then it became a genuinely balanced attack. Potsy Clark meanwhile coached a star-studded backfield in Detroit that actually had some passing moxie despite chewing up the ground in a relentless rushing blitzkrieg. Still, it's the Single Wing.

Finally, you have George Halas and his T-Formation. Given how the T would soon revolutionize the football landscape, it seems like a slam dunk. However, this formation had been to be evolved (Clark Shaughnessy would be the true architect of the T's revolution, not Halas- and it wasn't until Sid Luckman was drafted before it truly took off) and still had a problem with being tight and bunched up, which is a problem for one player in particular; Don Hutson.

The initial scuttlebutt of Don Hutson before he turned pro was that he was too frail to survive in the Pros. It's funny to say this about a man who played in the NFL for ten years and completely changed the game... but the doubters were RIGHT. You see, Hutson played End in an era where Ends were required to play like Linemen, both ways. They were meant to be run blockers and run stoppers in addition to occasionally going out for passes.

And the deep dark secret about Hutson's game-changing ways? At least statistically, he didn't start to truly separate himself from the pack until three key things happened. First, he somehow dodged enlistment in World War 2 and played in a diluted league. Second, he gained Tailback Cecil Isbell as both a teammate and co-worker, and they developed 'timing' during their lunch breaks when at their other jobs, which in turn made them a frightening combonation until Isbell fled for Purdue University to be an assistant coach. And third, not only did they split him wide on offense at every opportunity, in '39 they drafted an unheralded player named Larry Craig to play Blocking Back... and replace Hutson at End so he could shift to safety.

You can't overstate how much that move increased Hutson's longitevity and allowed him to break out. And unfortunately, you have to deal with all those tactical quirks if you use him... and it doesn't help how Indespensible he would be to this particular team under the circumstances, since he was unquestionably the most dangerous open-field receiver in the game.

So what's this have to do with Halas? As best as I can tell, he still didn't split the Ends out in his formation, which would force Hutson to get banged up both ways.

That said...

Head Coach: George Halas- 1939
-Chicago Bears, 1920-29, 1933-42, 1946-55, 1958-67

Here's why; George Halas is NOT a freaking idiot. If he has Hutson, he's going to utilize him to the best of his ability, and if that means compromising the T by splitting him out, then he will, or SHOULD, do that. Even with the rest of the offense not really innovative yet, you'd think he'd do the obvious thing here, right?

The Defensive Formation is a standard 6-2-2-1, 6 Linemen, 2 Linebackers (usually the Fullback and Center), 2 Defensive Backs (usually the Halfbacks), and 1 Safety (Usually the Tailback/Quarterback).

And like the last decade, you can't start assembling a T-Formation offense without a genuine Quarterback at the helm, and much like last decade, there are truly only Tailbacks to consider for the role. The pool is especially large, as you have established players in the pool such as Arnie Herber, Ed Danowski, Earl "Dutch" Clark, and Glenn Pressnell. Then you have the exceptions, those who missed the five-year rule but are too good to leave off, like Sammy Baugh and Cecil Isbell. All of whom have passing pedigree, but how good of a pedigree? Remember, as a T-Formaiton QB you don't really need multi-dimensional talents, you just need the best overall passer.

Starting Quarterback: Cecil Isbell- 1939 (Special Exemption, 2 Years)
Defensive Position: Defensive Halfback
-6'1 190. Green Bay Packers, 1938-42

Like I said, the best overall passer, and stats won't always tell you the whole story. Isbell's numbers look comparatively pedestrian during his first three years in the NFL until you realize he split passing duties with Arnie Herber. Only when Herber was let go did Isbell's stats spike upwards. There's also a comment from Curly Lambeau that rated Isbell as the best passer, with Sid Luckman a close second and Sammy Baugh a long third. Then again, it's Lambeau so you have to take it with a bucket of salt. However most people seem to agree that Isbell had the all-around range and touch that you want in your passer- Baugh didn't quite have the long range which factors into his interception rate, and Luckman only played one year in the 30's.

It also doesn't hurt that his connection with Don Hutson (c'mon, even you guys who know nothing about this era would expect Hutson to be here) gives him a genuine bonus in igniting an ariel attack which is sorely neede for the T... wait, you're saying the Bears rarely threw? Oh, wait, I said that in the 20's?

Well, sure. The Bears were known for their defense and running rather than their throwing, but there's a good reason for that.... their throwers weren't very good. They threw enough to make a passer like Isbell not hang himself by his shackles if he were to run the offense, it was just a crappy completion rate in an era where fifty percent was nigh unthinkable. In fact, the QBs were mediocre to the point where their halfbacks got in on the fun, including Bronko Nagurski. And it's well proven when Sid Luckman was drafted the T suddenly had a genuine Quarterback to lead the way. That just leaves the lone problem of teaching the T to Isbell.

Now for the backfield we have a conundrum.

Starting Left Halfback: Clarke Hinkle- 1936
Defensive Position: Linebacker
-5'11 202. Green Bay Packers, 1932-41

Say what-?

Starting Fullback: Bronko Nagurski- 1934
Defensive Position: Left End (?!)
-6'2 226. Chicago Bears, 1930-37, 1943

WHAT THE [BLEEP]!?

Starting Right Halfback: Cliff Battles- 1937
Defensive Position: Defensive Halfback
-6'1 195. Boston Braves/Washington Redskins, 1932-37

Put the freaking pitchforks DOWN, people. Geez.

Remember what I said about Hutson and how a few things had to be switched around to keep him in prime condition. Putting a back at End and moving Hutson to safety was the ideal thing. And no matter what you may think, the Bronk is really the only one who could do it out of the available candidates. He played Tackle for the Bears in '43 after six years away from football, so don't freaking tell me he couldn't play the line and he was only a Linebacker.

Putting Hinkle at Halfback does two things; it adds some extra run-blocking punch to the weak side if you split Hutson wide, and it also allows you to play Hinkle at Linebacker over a potentially inferior option. After all, as far as Fullback/Linebacker types go, these two are the head of the class.

Battles, meanwhile remains the most lethal open-field runner of this particular decade and would've had a much longer career if not for George Preston [BLEEP]ing Marshall. (The guy makes Daniel Snyder look meek in his ineptitude) His abiltiy to catch the ball is seemingly solid, as is his defense, though you'll rarely find anyone talking about them. He's here so the backfield can have one real Home-Run hitter on the ground.

Starting Left End: Don Hutson- 1939
Defensive Position: Safety
-6'1 183. Green Bay Packers, 1935-45

About all I need to say about Hutson is that he wasn't just a speed demon. He invented the concept of route-running. You can imagine how much more painful this development was to the hapless mooks who usually weren't as mobile as him and had to cover him in the open. Now anticipating where he was going to go and beating him there wasn't an option because the planned route could go anywhere and if the Quarterback knew the route in advance...

Is it any wonder it took almost half a century before he started to be eclipsed in the record books?

Anyway, we start the meat of the Offensive Line with a partnership...

Starting Left Tackle: Joe Stydahar- 1939 (Special Exemption- 4 Years)
Defensive Position: Tackle
-6'4 233. Chicago Bears, 1936-42, 1945-46

Starting Left Guard: Danny Fortmann- 1939 (Special Exemption- 4 Years)
Defensive Position: Guard
-6'0 210. Chicago Bears, 1936-43

The Hutson decision makes its presence known, as more often than not, the left side of the line will lack an End to help buttress the defense, even though the likely End is going to be drawn wide to cover Hutson. So you need an experienced duo on this side to compensate. And for the 1930's, there was no scarier duo to go up against than Stydahar and Fortmann as part of the "Monsters of the Midway" Bears. It's this partnership which put Stydahar ahead of fellow contemporary Albert "Turk" Edwards of the Redskins, while Fortmann had few equals to compete against.

Joe was the complete package as a Two-Way tackle. Danny was a genius who called signals on the line and could anticipate plays on defense, even though his frame made him the spiritual successor to Mike Michalske. However, there is one major flaw; Fortmann was a linebacker on defense, positions already covered. This in turn forces Fortmann to play on the line as a Guard. Here's hoping he holds his own.

Funny story; Danny Fortmann was drafted only because his name sounded good to George Halas. As far as draft stories go, it's about as humorous as the time the Atlanta Falcons drafted John Wayne (yes, THAT John Wayne).

Starting Center: Mel Hein- 1938
Defensive Position: Linebacker
-6'2 225. New York Giants, 1931-45

Mel Hein was the NFL MVP for the 1938 season, and that's ALL I need to say.

Starting Right Guard: George Musso- 1937
Defensive Position: Guard
-6'2 262. Chicago Bears, 1933-44

Musso anchored the right side of the Bears line either at Tackle or Guard. That's a very nice level of versatility, because Musso would be a starter at either position, given how devastating he was on both sides of the ball. Huge, strong, and pretty mobile for his weight. It's almost cruel that he'd be one of the few Bears from that era to have to wait decades to make the Hall of Fame. And part of me feels guilty for having about as much to say about him as I did Walt Kiesling.

Starting Right Tackle: George Christensen- 1935
Defensive Position: Tackle
-6'2 238. Portsmouth Spartans/Detroit Lions, 1931-38

The 1930's were devoid of Hall-of-Famers at Right Tackle, well, except for George Musso and he's playing as a Guard. But really, Musso is playing as a Guard because Christensen here is probably the best lineman left over who played on the right side. His lone competition would be his fellow Detroit teammate, Gover "Ox" Emerson. Detroit historians will no doubt rage over who I left out.

Either way, Christensen made the HoF 1930's All-Decade Team and was described as being fast for his size and that he helped the Lions become the most potent rushing attack in the latter half of the 1930's. That's good enough in this case.

Starting Right End: Milt Gantenbein- 1936
Defensive Position: End
-6'0 193. Green Bay Packers, 1931-40

Like Right Tackle, there are no true Right Ends who tower over the competition. There are multiple players, some who are actually Left Ends but spent a brief amount of time on the right side like Bill Hewitt or Ray Flaherty. Others are lost in the shuffle like Bill Smith and Joe Carter and Bill Karr but either have next to nothing listed about them, and/or they have such common names you have to sift through a bunch of irrelevent crap to get at what you want. In the end, really, it was Gantenbein or Joe Carter, and I couldn't find anything about Carter which turns me to Gantenbein.

Granted, the praise he gets is from teammates and Packer fans, so when I say the "Other End" to Don Hutson is a great blocker, a solid receiver, and a stalwart defender, please keep in mind I can only work with what I am given. But for what it's worth, Gantenbein is right at home in the T-Formation and wouldn't need to be split out like Hutson is.

Next up will be the reserves.
Zycho32 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-14-2013, 03:17 AM    (permalink
Zycho32
Veteran
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 624
Reputation: 103854
Zycho32 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Zycho32 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Zycho32 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Zycho32 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Zycho32 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Zycho32 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Zycho32 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Zycho32 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Zycho32 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Zycho32 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Zycho32 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.
Default

1930's All-Decade Team, the Bench:


This time around, I'm imposing greater restrictions upon myself. Hall of Famers are really only going to be applicable for Bench duty if they have the appropriate intangibles to handle it. If I can't find anything anywhere that supports the idea, then they are gone. This as well as the standard strategic requirements. I imagine by the bitter end of it you will have no clue whatsoever who some of these guys are, and even if you look them up, you will only think... gee, there's nothing about them. How ordinary could they be?

Since this is a 30-Man roster, each position will have its key backup, and if applicable, further reserves behind them to fill out the remaining eight spots after the second team.

Get ready to rage...

Backup Quarterback: Ed Danowski- 1938
Defensive Position: Defensive Halfback
-6'1 198. New York Giants, 1934-39, 1941
Backup Quarterback: Carl Brumbaugh- 1938
Defensive Position: Defensive Halfback
-5'10 170. Chicago Bears, 1930-34, 1936, 1938/ Brooklyn Dodgers, 1937/ Cleveland Rams, 1937
Selected Over: Sammy Baugh, Arnie Herber, Earl "Dutch" Clark, Glenn Presnell, Bernie Masterson

What you want in your primary backup. You don't want controversy over your selection of one guy over another, you want a capable defender on the other side of the ball, you want the best possible passing skills, and you want the intangibles to willingly come in as a substitute and perform. The first reason is the only one that Sammy Baugh fails, but it's a big one, because while Baugh has the far greater notoriety, he's not as complete a passer as Isbell. Arnie Herber suffers the same competition issues, having paired up with Isbell in the same backfield but also was a bit of a mystery as far as his defensive talents went. Didn't help that he became rounder and less fleet of foot later in his career either. As for Dutch Clark and Glenn Presnell, they were both multi-dimensional players who called signals and shared the passing duties... the thing was they were never world beaters through the air, the Detroit attack having been ground-based.

The only quality I'm not one-hundred percent certain Danowski posesses is the last one about the intangibles- something that is unquestioningly impossible to ascertain from clear-cut starters. But as far as everything else is concerned, he's too quiet and composed- and for that matter, too accurate with his throws- to not be an effective Quarterback. That just leaves experience with the T-Formation, and that's where Brumbaugh comes in.

Carl Brumbaugh and Bernie Masterson were essentially the primary QBs of the T-Formation in the 1930's, Brumbaugh for the early half, Masterson for the latter. Masterson was the better passer of the two by statistical measure, further emphasized by selecting Brumbaugh's last year when he was essentially over the hill competitively.

However, Brumbaugh is likely the greater teacher by far. Of the two, you can actually find a glowing review of Brumbaugh or several on the internet, describing him as the best Field General of his say, the Smartest Quarterback, etc. The reason is he learned the T-Formation, learned all the subtle fakes and misdirections that make running in the T successfull. And there's more. When his career ended Halas brought him on as an assistant coach, and his first task was to teach Sid Luckman the T.

You know how Luckman turned out, so if you need an unofficial assistant to teach Isbell and Danowski how to run the T before a crucial game, Brumbaugh is your man.

Backup Left Halfback: Earl "Dutch" Clark- 1934
Defensive Position: Defensive Halfback
-6'0 185. Portsmouth Spartans/Detroit Lions, 1931-32, 1934-38
Backup Left Halfback: Harold "Red" Grange- 1934
Defensive Position: Defensive Halfback
-6'0 180. Chicago Bears, 1925, 1929-34/ New York Yankees, 1926-27
Selected Over: Beattie Feathers, Glenn Presnell

Most of you will know Feathers as the first 1000 yard rusher. You're no doubt asking 'Why'd you leave such a great running back off the roster?' Then I'd point to his career statistics and point out the freaking nose-dive his stats took after his rookie season. Then you'd counter with 'What's that matter when you select specific years anyway?' Well, it matters here because that nose-dive was the result of a shoulder injury he sustained just before the '34 season ended, and since Wine Cellar rules state we pluck the players from the end of their season, you would have to live with the injury. Which means you don't get the electrifying runner but the overwhelmingly mortal one.

Presnell isn't as easy to discount. His career is intertwined quite thoroughly with that of Dutch Clark, as both were not only in the same backfield in Detroit, they even shared passing duties as TB/QB hybrids. So the main reason I went with Dutch over Presnell was because of defense. Not effeciency, but by position. Presnell played safety, Clark played Defensive Halfback (horrible heresey after I claimed Bronko Nagurski could survive at End on defense, but if I can avoid mixing-and-matching as much as possible, that's less headaches strategy-wise. I want the Hutson/Nagurski anomalies to be the LONE anomalies on the roster, end of story.

As for Grange, his place in the roster is much like that of Brumbaugh- the quote-unquote 'Instructor' for the backfield players. A fair bit of the initial makeshift innovation of the T sort of boils down to Grange and Brumbaugh anyway, so having the both of them teach the quirks of the T to those who never played in the T is a solid bonus. And while Grange is one of the 'Old Man' loopholes, he's still an adept defender.

Backup Fullback: LeRoy "Ace" Gutowsky- 1936
Defensive Position: Linebacker
-5'11 201. Portsmouth Spartans/Detroit Lions, 1932-38/ Brooklyn Dodgers, 1939
Backup Fullback: Roy "Father" Lumpkin- 1932
Defensive Position: Linebacker
-6'2 211. Portsmouth Spartans/Detroit Lions, 1930-34/ Brooklyn Dodgers, 1935-37
Selected Over: Ken Strong, Tuffy Leemans, and several role players

Strong and Leemans, though both highly regarded Hall-of-Famers, had what you call 'Tweener' skills. They were both listed as Fullbacks in a Giants offense where the Fullback was expected to run like a Halfback. And more to the point, they both played Defensive Halfback on the other side, in an era where you expect the traditional Fullback to be a linebacker.

Anyway, Gutowsky was highly regarded in his era for all the qualities you want in a Fullback. Ferocious line-plunger, quality blocker, hard-hitting Linebacker. In the famed 'Infantry Attack' of the Detroit Lions, Gutowsky was the bread-and-butter grinder who opened up space for the other weapons to thrive. This was never more than apparent when he led the team in rushing in '36, and in the process setting a team record for rushing which wouldn't be broken until the 1960's. When he retired, for what it's worth, he held the NFL record for rushing yards.

Lumpkin has no such statistical importance. He was the Blocking Back, but he did not pass. He just blocked and defended. So to be one of the helmet-less warriors and to be lauded as a Team Captain means a lot to such players without the awards to signify their worth to fans decades into the future.

Backup Right Halfback: Ernie Caddel- 1935
Defensive Position: Defensive Halfback
-6'2 199. Portsmouth Spartans/Detroit Lions, 1933-38
Backup Right Halfback: Jack Manders- 1934
Defensive Position: Linebacker/Defensive Halfback
-6'1 203. Chicago Bears, 1933-40
Selected Over: Johnny "Blood" McNally and a few role players.

Caddel wins the job over Johnny Blood by virtue of youth and remaining usefulness as a ground-gainer (by the 1930's, Blood had ceased to be an effective runner and was primarily a receiver). Labeled as the 'Home-Run Hitter' of the famed Detroit 'Infantry Attack', the 'Blond Antelope' was frighteningly fast and agile- Cliff Battles and Don Hutson were the only undisputably superior runners of this whole group to Ernie- and his ability to catch passes gives the offense a valued versatility whenever he's in the game. The only real question mark is his defense, which comes up as a mystery. Undoubtedly he was a Defensive Halfback, maybe a safety depending on how the Clark/Presnell duo switched off on defense, and he was part of a very great defense in the mid 1930's, but the lack of accolades about his defense makes one wonder.

As for Jack Manders, they named him "Automatic Jack" in his career for one reason; he was quite frankly the most effective placekicker of the 1930's. This was during a time when a fifty percent success rate was excellent and if you could kick ten field goals in a season you were labeled one of the best. Manders did the latter, and the black-out of stats during msot of the decade leaves the former unanswered. Either way, Manders is the quote-unquote 'Kicking Specialist' of the team.

Backup Left End: Morris "Red" Badgro- 1934
Defensive Position: End
-6'0 191. New York Yankees, 1927-28/ New York Giants, 1930-36
Backup Left End: Bill Smith- 1939
Defensive Position: End
-6'1 198. Chicago Cardinals, 1934-39
Selected Over: Bill Hewitt, Wayne Milner, Luke Johnsos, and several role players.

Badgro, Hewitt, and Milner. Three excellent two-way ends who played End on both sides. Milner had the 'clutch' label, Hewitt had the flash, and Badgro was steady. So why'd I pick Badgro over the others?

Badgro was probably the better blocker of the two, a vital need on this team. Hewitt was a significantly more devastating presence on defense due to his great burst of speed, but his ability in pass coverage is more speculation than outright fact at this point. Hewitt's long arms made him a pass catching threat though Badgro could be a receiver when given the chance.

In the end though, I'm willing to bet Badgro rocks the boat less playing as a vital substitute to Hutson. You do want the quieter players in the backup roles, and while I can't conclusively prove that Hewitt would be a disruptive presence, it DOES offer significant backlash. Put it this way, if you wanted to play a straight-up iron-man style with standard positions for everybody, then you'd probably take Hewitt over Hutson and live with the lesser potential in the passing game. And if you went with Hutson anyway, the second-guessing would be apparent if only because you had to bend the team in certain ways to compensate for Hutson's shortcomings. With Badgro, who was never ever flashy, there's less there to latch onto.

Bill Smith is here as the Fifth End, being able to play both sides in his career and actually demonstrating a reasonable skill as a receiver. Unfortunately further information is next to impossible to get because of his INSANELY common name cluttering up the search engines.

Backup Left Tackle: Albert "Turk" Edwards- 1939
Defensive Position: Tackle
-6'2 255. Boston Braves/Washington Redskins, 1932-40
Backup Left Tackle: Len Grant- 1935
Defensive Position: Tackle
-6'3 235. New York Giants, 1930-37
Selected Over: Several role-players.

Again, I'm trying to skirt the 'Old Man' loophole here. By 1939, Turk Edwards wasn't entirely the explosive presence that he was early on in the decade, but at this point he was accepted as one of the smartest linemen in the league and made for a bona-fide assistant for teaching the entire line. This is the same reasoning that put Carl Brumbaugh and Red Grange on the team. And at the same time, his diminished athleticism, though not by much, makes him backup material for Stydahar.

Len Grant played both sides of the line while with the Giants. For a fifth tackle that's valuable.

Backup Left Guard: Russ Letlow- 1938 (Special Exemption- 4 Years)
Defensive Position: Guard
-6'0 214. Green Bay Packers, 1936-42, 1946
Selected Over: Several role-players.

By any measure, Letlow was more renowned for his defense than his blocking, but he also made the HoF All-Decade team amongst a shallow pool of talent at Guard. And of the bunch of them, Letlow has the most accolades on the left side other than Danny Fortmann.

Backup Center: Clare Randolph- 1935
Defensive Position: Linebacker
-6'2 204. Chicago Cardinals, 1930/ Portsmouth Spartans/Detroit Lions, 1931-36
Selected Over: Several role-players.

There's a little talk about his mobility, but Randolph headlines a weak pool at center for one particular niche. EVERYBODY in his era says he was the only guy who could tackle Bronko Nagurski one-on-one. That is the one and only thing his contemporaries say about him. It's also the one thing that makes him a worthwhile backup center, even though he was part of the Detroit Line which paved the way for their vaunted 'Infantry Attack'.

Backup Right Guard: Gover "Ox" Emerson- 1934
Defensive Position: Guard
-5'11 203. Portsmouth Spartans/Detroit Lions, 1931-37/ Brooklyn Dodgers, 1938
Backup Right Guard: Joe Kopcha- 1935
Defensive Position: Guard
-6'0 221. Chicago Bears, 1929, 1932-35/ Detroit Lions, 1936
Selected Over: Several role-players.

Out of all the Linemen in the 1930's who were snubbed from the Hall of Fame, it's very likely that "Ox" was the best of them all. His profile reads pretty much like your standard cliche line about his 'Unquenchable Desire' fueling him to get past his comparatively small size. He played in the trenches, remember. He wasn't a linebacker half the time. So that he gained such a sterling reputation with what he had to work with speaks volumnes about his work ethic.

Kopcha is better known for helping to revolutionize the protective gear football players use back in the 1930's. In truth, he had the initial hand but he never got the true accolades for it because equipment manufacturers made proper use of his suggestions. Still, he had a rock solid career as a Guard for Chicago- big George Musso didn't move from Right Tackle to Right Guard until Joe was traded to Detroit in '36. So his athletic pedigree was rock solid despite only playing five years in the decade and walking out to persue a medical career.

Backup Right Tackle: Armand Niccolai- 1935
Defensive Position: Tackle
-6'2 226. Pittsburgh Pirates/Steelers, 1934-42
Selected Over: Several role-players.

Niccolai gets the nod not so much for his skills in the trenches- which are positive enough considering he played for so long- but for his value as a spare placekicker in the event something happens to Jack Manders. Still, it's a shallow list of tackles left, and Niccolai is arguably the best of the remaining lot.

Backup Right End: Joe Carter- 1938
Defensive Position: End
-6'1 201. Philadelphia Eagles, 1933-40/ Green Bay Packers, 1942/ Brooklyn Tigers, 1944/ Chicago Cardinals, 1945
Selected Over: Several role-players.

We wrap up the roster with Carter, a rather productive End for a fledgling Eagles franchise with with a starkly common name which simply makes fishing for info next to impossible, as the lion's share of the internet is focused on the Joe Carter who hit a World Series Winning Home Run in '93. Go figure.

And we finish with 29 players instead of 30. No matter, we're probably playing above the normal size of the rosters anyway. Next time we tackle the 1940's where we will have both an NFL All-Decade Team as well as an AAFC All-Decade Team. (What, you thought I'd say 'All-Four-Year-Team'?)
Zycho32 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-14-2013, 09:23 AM    (permalink
bigbluedefense
Team Leader
Legend
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Jersey
Posts: 29,112
Reputation: 4018079
bigbluedefense is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.bigbluedefense is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.bigbluedefense is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.bigbluedefense is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.bigbluedefense is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.bigbluedefense is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.bigbluedefense is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.bigbluedefense is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.bigbluedefense is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.bigbluedefense is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.bigbluedefense is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.
Default

I applaud you for your effort. To be perfectly honest with you, I don't think you'll generate much conversation until you hit the 70s. Because we just don't know anything about these guys.
__________________
bigbluedefense is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-28-2013, 08:33 AM    (permalink
Zycho32
Veteran
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 624
Reputation: 103854
Zycho32 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Zycho32 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Zycho32 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Zycho32 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Zycho32 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Zycho32 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Zycho32 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Zycho32 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Zycho32 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Zycho32 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Zycho32 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.
Default

A quick post to show I'm still working on this. As stated before, the 1940's will be a bit different, pitting an All-NFL team against an All-AAFC team.


1940's NFL/AAFC All-Decade Teams, the Coaches:


Unlike most decades, this time we know right away what Coach we want for the NFL side.

NFL Head Coach: George Halas- 1949
Offensive Formation: T-Formation
Defensive Formation: 6-2-2-1 Standard
-Chicago Bears, 1920-29, 1933-42, 1946-55, 1958-67

By now the T-Formation has finally- FINALLY- turned a corner and become the genuine innovation that will revolutionize the game of football for years to come. In the two decades prior the T-Formation has had to be hybridized, forcibly adjusted from its key fundamentals, in order to bring about a roughly similar effect. Thanks to innovators such as Clark Shaughnessy, now we don't need to tinker with it as ruthlessly. Here's a quick list of innovations around the 1940's Shaughnessy is responsible for; Quick-Snapping between center and Quarterback(shaved precious time off the execution of the play), split linemen further apart(creating natural gaps to run through), and putting a man in motion before the snap(would often unbalance a defense and create mismatches worth exploiting). This also had a pronounced effect on the passing game, due to the T's unprecedented capacity for fake handoffs leading to Play Action passes.

The 6-2-2-1 would hang on until the early 1950's, but comes with a wrinkle or two which we'll get into briefly.

NFL Key Assistants:
Clark Shaughnessy- 1948 (Consultant)
Steve Owen- 1949 (Defense)
Carl Brumbaugh- 1940 (Quarterbacks)
Luke Johnsos- 1942 (End Coach?)
Heartley "Hunk" Anderson- 1942 (Line Coach?)

In all fairness, this isn't a natural collection of assistants and jobs. Some didn't have actual 'assignments' and were just assistants. Another is an actual NFL Coach who is there to sort of cheat ahead like what was done with the T in the last two decades. And the key assistant was only ever a 'consultant' before becoming a Head Coach.

Shaughnessy was the 'consultant' for the Chicago Bears during the 30's and some of the 40's, and every innovation that enhanced the T until it became the best formation hands down came from him, which makes him utterly invaluable as the top assistant for Halas.

Steve Owen meanwhile is the Head Coach for the Giants, and is primarily here because of a key innovation he will create in 1950 to combat the Cleveland Browns (who you KNOW are a large part of the AAFC Squad). His 'Umbrella Defense' is basically the 6-2-2-1 but drags the Ends and Linebackers out to cover receivers as much as still have a hand at stopping running plays. Since this is still the two-way era, we're going with Owen's Umbrella and not Greasy Neale's 5-2-4 (which had the added authenticity of being created in '49) because it's likelier to fit the available personnel better.

Carl Brumbaugh became an assistant coach in 1939 primarily to help teach Sid Luckman how to run the T. His expertise in that area cannot be discounted, especially since the T actually didn't become a league-wide phenomenon until after World War 2.

Johnsos and Anderson were co-Head Coaches in 1942 when George Halas went to war. They won the '42 title, and that's the extent of their coaching ability that I could find.

AAFC Head Coach: Paul Brown- 1949
Offensive Formation: T-Formation (Paul Brown Variant)
Defensive Formation: 6-2-2-1 (Presumably)
-Cleveland Browns, 1946-62/Cincinnati Bengals, 1968-75

Talk about the greatest coaches ever and Paul Brown is typically at the forefront. There has never been a coach alive who did more to revolutionize not just game strategy but the organizational structure that franchises are based upon. Here's what he brings to the table for the 1940's; integration (his collection of African-American players weren't just trailblazers but freaking great players in their own rights) and a renovated T-Formation based primarily on a precise passing attack.

You know the pass patterns you take for granted? The diagramed plays which have secondary and tetriary receviers to key on? Brown invented that. The NFL had NONE of it in the 1940's. The passing game was still in the primitive era with only the fumes of Don Hutson offering anything resembling an advance in the airial game. You had little pieces of something better; you had Sammy Baugh's precision passing, the long bombs of the Chicago Bears T-Formation, the Hutson-Isbell timing... but all just fragments of a whole that wasn't put together until Brown came along. He used detailed pass patterns for not only the primary receiver of a play, but all the other receivers who may only be a backup option. It often put multiple players in a zone, keeping defenders from swarming a lone receiver, placed strategically so that the Quarterback didnt have to dart back and forth going through his reads.

It gets crazier. He took the T and split off the Halfbacks, either slotting them between the End who were spread out insanely fasr by the standards of the day, or put them out on a further-spread wing- reimagining the old Double Wing in the day, but with the QB taking the snaps and not the FB. He defied convention in this sense, and the end result was an offensive attack that often left the opposition gasping for breath trying to stop it. Small wonder the Browns competed in a Championship game for the first TEN years of their history.

The defense, as far as I know, was still standard.

The last innovation Brown has at his disposal here is his assistant staff;

AAFC Key Assistants:
Blanton Collier- 1949 (Key Assistant)
John Brickels- 1948 (Backfield)
Red Conkright- 1948 (Centers/Ends)
Richard Gallagher- 1949 (Ends)
Bill Edwards- 1948 (Tackles)
Fritz Heisler- 1949 (Guards)

Cleveland fans of the 1960's- or at least the Jim Brown fans- will know Blanton Collier even if only vaguely. Nobody else is going to have a clue about the rest of these guys. They all served in Paul Brown's staff, even if only briefly, and benefitted by being genuine full-time assistants with a thoroughly dedicated and specific job. They were the forerunners to all the assistant coaching gigs you hear about- and rant about- when people get hired and fired.

It's also worth noting there are no 'Offensive/Defensive' positions here, as this was the time before the O/D Platoons. The coaches were just as much two-way as the players were.

Out of all of them, only Collier has a major career outside of an assistant, the rest were either longtime assistants in the game or went on to coaching College Football. Collier is the key man here not only because of his extensive knowledge of the game, but because his personality was a much needed contrast to the chafing disciplinarian Brown.

Coming next, the NFL Roster. All of them.
Zycho32 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-12-2013, 01:46 AM    (permalink
Zycho32
Veteran
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 624
Reputation: 103854
Zycho32 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Zycho32 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Zycho32 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Zycho32 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Zycho32 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Zycho32 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Zycho32 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Zycho32 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Zycho32 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Zycho32 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Zycho32 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.
Default

Alright, 33 Players and GO! (Note; some players will be 'Exceptioned' to the AAFC squad to better fill out their rosters)

1940's NFL All-Decade Team:


First order of business is a starting Quarterback, and in the 1940's there were three of note in the NFL. Slingin' Sammy Baugh, Sid Luckman, and Bob Waterfield. All three are Hall-of-Famers, and you're likely only to have one on this roster. Them's the breaks. All of them have their own set of strengths and weaknesses, too many of which intersect and complicate the discussion.

Baugh is considered to have had the greatest career of the three by a large margin. And from a statistical standpoint, he is the most prolific of the passers. In terms of passes attempted and completed, Baugh was usually always at or near the top in the league during his career, but the numbers don't tell the whole story- while Green Bay was the first franchise to be pass-heavy and other teams had come along over the years boasting power air attacks, Washington was the first franchise to start nailing down the fundamentals. With Baugh at the helm, the emphasis was more upon accurate passes even at the expense of yards gained, and Baugh's accuracy was more than good enough for the task. If that wasn't enough, Sammy has also a renowned Ballhawk at Safety with a phenomenal range and one of the greatest punters of his era(though his finest accomplishments as a punter and defender happened during World War 2, an unfortunate asterix which shadows over a lot of the players in the available pool). And if that wasn't enough, he proved able to adapt to the T-Formation in '44, removing at least one doubt concerning his place here.

Sid Luckman has significantly less versatility than Baugh does, though early on in the decade he was a capable safety in his own right as well as a reasonable punter. But by and large he was the first genuine star QB at the T-Formation and ran an offense that was built just as much about his intelligent reading of defenses and accurate long ball as the traditional punishing Bears ground attack. In fact, it is his relation with the Bears and George Halas which is his best ally in securing the top spot despite those overall deficiencies(maybe, just maybe, he could graciously accept a backup spot should that not be the case, though the evidence in this is only one incident when the AAFC Chicago franchise tried to make a 'Godfather' offer to him and he declined).

Bob Waterfield meanwhile is the late arrival to the scene, popping in just as World War 2 was about to end. Despite that, his production over the years speaks for itself; he was an accomplished passer who was just as accurate as the others and probably had just as good an arm. As a defender he was highly lauded- no less than Don Hutson called him the hardest to evade on the field. And as a kicker he was high quality in every which way.

This is why...

Starting Quarterback: Bob Waterfield- 1946
Defensive Position: Safety
-6'1 200. Cleveland/Los Angeles Rams, 1945-52
Selected Over: Sammy Baugh, Sid Luckman

And here's why. Waterfield is close enough to Baugh in all of Baugh's strengths, and is just as accomplished a T-Formation QB as Luckman was, that he gets in for the one ability neither of the other two possess;

Field Goals.

The truth is only a handful of kickers during this decade matched Waterfield's overall consistency between the uprights, and did so for an extensive period of time. One of them was Ken Strong, who was once an accomplished Fullback for the Giants, but came back to New York purely as a Kicking Specialist(and frankly it's best to wait until either the rosters expand or a specialist comes along who was clearly better than his competition). The others are Ted Fritsch- a reasonable Fullback who may or may not get the starting nod- and Ward Cuff, a Wingback who actually was quite atrocious early on. This makes the debatable inferiority elsewhere(which I believe to be VASTLY overrated) irrelavent. Waterfield it is.

As we delve into the rest of the starting backfield, here's the thing you need to understand; if you were to look at the rushing leaders during the 1940's, you would seldom ever find a Chicago Bear that stood out from a statistical standpoint. In fact, one would almost dare to call the Chicago runners 'pedestrian'. It's actually more by design than anything else; Chicago, even in the player-ravaged years of WW2, ran a commitee-styled ground game with around six to seven halfbacks and fullbacks switching out on a frequent basis. There was never a player who got the lions share of the carries in any given game. This led to the sort of attritional ground attack which pulped opposing defenses with its relentlessness, then went for the jugular with the home-run bombs. On a team basis they were almost always superior to their opponents. And the runners were good too. One is in the Hall of Fame, others have extensive pedigree among their peers.

So does Chicago shy away from a single workhorse? No. Only teams with insufficient talent rely on a workhorse because he's usually the only back worth a damn (think Tony Canadeo in the late 40's). The Bears did in fact have a workhorse of sorts way back in '34 when Beattie Feathers was breaking the record books, though even that's a bit of a mirage since he averaged 8.4 yards per carry (say the number again and let the subsequent heart attack carry you into heaven). However, with an overall high quality of runners in the stable, it'll be difficult for one man to take the majority, well, unless he is...

Starting Left Halfback: Steve Van Buren- 1948
Defensive Position: Defensive Halfback
-6'0 200. Philadelphia Eagles, 1944-51
Selected Over: Tony Canadeo, Bill Dudley

During the mini-dynasty of the Eagles during '47 through '49, Steve ran for 200+ carries each year, climaxing at 263 in '49. Small wonder he was able to average 1000 yards a season during that same time period. Van Buren redefines the word Workhorse in an age where Backfields shared the load. The fact that he carried two nicknames in different extremes- 'Wham Bam' and 'Supersonic Steve'- says a lot about his versatility. While Steve was a definite banger who was very difficult to take down, he was also elusive enough to be effective in the open field, despite the statistical production or lack thereof in the air. Early on Steve was also a very devastating Kick Returner, though by '48 this will have tapered off some.

Van Buren in retrospect would benefit extensively from Chicago's committe by being fresher, though he was still capable of punishing defenses for 60 minutes, you can see why the treads fell off so quickly after the 40's ended.

Starting Fullback: Ted Fritsch- 1946
Defensive Position: Linebacker
-5'10 210. Green Bay Packers, 1942-50.
Selected Over: Pat Harder

Why Fritsch? He doesn't particularily stand out amongst the other Fullback candidates. Pat Harder is the better runner of the two by a wide margin... but Harder rarely ever played defense. He flat out admits this in a Coffin Corner issue. Fritsch meanwhile had enough versatility to carry the torch for Green Bay as one of the few remaining stars on the team after Hutson retired in '45. He was described as aggressive and determined, a bruising runner and tenacious linebacker, pretty much the whole cliche bukkake. In addition, Fritsch is one of the few players in the decade who could be described as effective at kicking the ball. One would imagine Fritsch to be an effective blocker as well... at least, I would hope that's the case.

Starting Right Halfback: George McAfee- 1941
Defensive Position: Defensive Halfback
-6'0 178. Chicago Bears, 1940-41, 1945-50
Selected Over: Tony Canadeo, Bill Dudley, Bosh Pritchard, Hugh Gallarneau, Ward Cuff

They called him "One-Play" during his time in the NFL. One guess as to why.

Many of his contemporaries have described McAfee in terms of the most devastating runner in the league. Perhaps that's why George was elected to the Hall of Fame despite being underutilized in the Bears offense- a victim of the committee approach- and losing three years of his prime to WW2. It also didn't help that a Knee Injury in '46 robbed him of a lot of his explosive edge and made him more ordinary- not too much unlike Red Grange, come to think of it. Anyway, McAfee was considered the fastest and most agile runner of the decade, frightening enough to be a genuine pain in the neck on passing plays as well as a nightmare to catch on the run. If that wasn't enough, George was also a highly effective punt returner and could do kick returns in a pinch. Even on defense he was a handful, proving to be a quality ballhawk. In short, everytime he touched the ball the place was lit up.

The next player needs little introduction;

Starting Left End: Don Hutson- 1945
Defensive Position: End
-6'1 183. Green Bay Packers, 1935-45
Selected Over: Jim Benton

Anything that can be said about the first previous decades' starter to start in the next decade has already been covered back in the 30's, well, except for the fact we have Hutson playing End on defense when we spent so much time explaining why he couldn't play it on defense, and the subsequent justification of sneaking Bronko Nagurski over to End. So why's he playing End and not Safety?

The opposition, basically.

The AAFC Squad is one-hundred percent likely to utilize the Browns' offensive schemes, which often involve splitting the Ends and having receivers run precise and coordinated attack patterns. Basically it's an open-style passing game. And splitting the Ends like that helps Hutson a great deal, since he'll be covering in the open rather than getting jammed up at the Line. Well, unless Brown gets sneaky and tries to keep Hutson drawn inside, which is quite possible. Paul Brown is a devious little [BLEEP] you know.

But if all goes well, Hutson is still the unquestioned best receiver in the NFL's stable.

If there was one major problem with the offensive lines, it would probably be the shift to thinner linemen overall. Look up a who's who of the line positions in the 1940's and you'll find an alarming percentage of players who come out under 220. Few giants among this bunch. It actually becomes a problem since the best of the interior players seem to prefer playing Linebacker as opposed to Defensive Lineman, even more alarming because sad to say this is still the era of the 6-2-2-1 and linemen are at a premium in that formation. I'm not entirely sure how teams managed it; probably with very selective platoons, but I'm trying my best not to utilize that ahead of when it was used on a team-wide scale a decade later.

Anyway, going from left to right;

Starting Left Tackle: Frank "Bruiser" Kinard- 1941
Defensive Position: Tackle
-6'1 216. Brooklyn Dodgers/Tigers, 1938-44/ New York Yankees(AAFC), 1946-47
Selected Over: Joe Stydahar, Buford Ray, Frank Cope, Vic Sears

Kinard is one of the first examples of players who were revered by his peers and by the crowds- making the Hall of Fame- despite playing for a club that was frequently on the lower end of the totem pole and would be GONE before WW2 ended. Going onwards it will be easy to stockpile the all-decade teams with players who had great stats for lousy ballclubs and were debatable better than their peers who won championships. The sad part is you can use the Championship argument in Basketball, where only twelve players are on a roster and talent plays a significantly larger role in determining winners. Football on the other hand requires much more people with very specific skillsets for certain positions, turning the whole excercise into 'Copy/Paste'ing various names into a roster on paper.

It also doesn't help that Kinard doesn't reach 220 in a position where large size was supposed to be the ideal. So why does Kinard get the nod? Not only did he fulfill all the cliches you want in a lineman- never rests, never stops hitting, gives one-hundred-percent for sixty minutes, ferocious in blocking and tackling- but "Bruiser" was also regarded as one of the most mobile linemen of his decade. Containing the sort of speed that would've made him a natural anywhere else on the field, Kinard was utilized as a lead blocker in much the same way as linemen would be utilized on sweep runs. In fact, Kinard's presence allows more than a few unique plays to be utilized where he can cut out from the line and sweep around as a lead blocker, or go downfield and blindside defenders.

Starting Left Guard: Danny Fortmann- 1942 (Special Exemption, 4 years)
Defensive Position: Guard(Out of Position)
-6'0 210. Chicago Bears, 1936-43
Selected Over: Len Younce, Riley Matheson, Augie Lio

Much like last decade, there is no choice but to take the best available player at Left Guard and force him to play on the line in Defense, as pretty much all of the truly good ones played linebacker. And so we have our second returning player from the previous decade in Fortmann, who was also the starting left guard for the 30's squad. And much like that team, it is hopeful that Fortmann will bunker down and make a good account of himself on the line.

Starting Center: Clyde "Bulldog" Turner- 1946
Defensive Position: Linebacker
-6'1 237. Chicago Bears, 1940-52
Selected Over: Alex Wojciechowicz, Charley Brock, Mel Hein

The unquestioned successor to Mel Hein from last decade. His versatility is unparalleled for not only could he play anywhere on the line, he could even run the ball from the backfield, and more importantly he studied and gameplanned for all eleven positions on the football field. All that on top of stellar ball-snapping, blocking, and both ground and air defense. The man could do everything except pass the football... and you have to wonder if he would've stepped in for that too.

Starting Right Guard: Frank "Bucko" Kilroy- 1949
Defensive Position: Guard
-6'2 243. Philadelphia Eagles, 1943-55
Selected Over: Buckets Goldenberg, Bill Radovich, Ray Bray, Buster Ramsey

Now THIS is more like it! "Bucko" had the size to thrive on both sides of the line and was utilized as such, a much-needed injection of mass. But Kilroy wasn't just picked for his size. He was every bit a ferocious hitter who actually had a sort of 'Black-Hat' reputation in an era that fostered many such players who sometimes bent the rules and engaged in questionable acts of violence against their contemporaries. That was just the way of things back then.

Starting Right Tackle: Al Wistert- 1947
Defensive Position: Tackle
-6'1 214. Philadelphia Eagles, 1943-51
Selected Over: Al Blozis

Another lightweight at Tackle. Then you read on and discover that he was usually the key blocker for Steve Van Buren in Philadelphia, and that he was considered the most mobile linemen of his day, much like Bruiser Kinard was in his. And then you read further and find that not only was he consistantly out-smarting much bigger guys he was blocking, but that he was also one of the genuine Team Captains in the league, a guy who could get the troops riled up and ready for action. And on top of all that, he has all the proper intangibles you want in a player.

While they may give up a lot of girth and muscle at the point of attack, Kinard and Wistert are the kinetic bulldozers you want manning the edges of the T-Formation line when the ends are split off. Both are able to sweep around and be a downfield blocker regardless of where the play is going, both can make the key lead block that springs the ball carrier free, and both of them can do this for sixty minutes. That's a level of sophistication that can make the cadre of runners behind them go for giant chunks of yardage at a stretch. Even better, none of them has a track record of relying upon actual giants on the opposite side to anchor the line so they can zoom about. Kinard never had a big lineman on the right side, and while Wistert had Vic Sears, he's about about 230-ish. Even on defense they aren't a liability on the line, surprisingly.

Starting Right End: Pete Pihos- 1949 (Special Exemption, 3 years)
Defensive Position: End
-6'1 210. Philadelphia Eagles, 1947-55
Selected Over: Jim Benton

You can consider Pihos an ancestor to the modern Tight End.

Sure, Ends had in prior decades always played that role in one fashion or another, and only when Hutson came along did you start to see Ends split out, so maybe Pihos being the forerunner to Tight Ends is rather premature, but at this point in time Pihos was the 'inside' option in the air attack while other players handled the 'outside'. Pete was deceptive and capable of faking out his opposite number but at the same time strong enough to be a solid blocker, and he played for the same Eagles team that boasted Steve Van Buren so you knew blocking was a valued trait.

Sure, picking Pihos is sort of betraying the idea of splitting out both Ends and opening up the passing game, but in all fairness, the list of available ends is still not that great to make two open-spaced receivers viable. The fact that Jim Benton's ability to block and defend is a mystery is why he wasn't selected.

Time for the reserves.

Backup Quarterback: Tommy Thompson- 1948
Defensive Position: Safety(Disputable)
-6'1 192. Pittsburgh Steelers, 1940/ Philadelphia Eagles, 1941-42, 1945-50
Backup Quarterback: Paul Christman- 1947
Defensive Position: Safety
-6'0 210. Chicago Cardinals, 1945-49/ Green Bay Packers, 1950
Selected Over: Sammy Baugh, Sid Luckman, Ace Parker

I just flushed Sammy Baugh and Sid Luckman down the toilet. I did it for one specific reason; if I'm building this team to save the world, and I'm going with Waterfield because he can kick field goals, what I don't want is the media and fans second-guessing me and calling for my head because I have one of both of them on the bench. 'So why not use one of them as the main passer and just use Waterfield as the kicker?'. Because it just wasn't done until Ken Strong came along. Your kickers usually toiled with the other players on the drives leading up to the attempts. 'But you did the same thing with Jack Manders last decade!' Yeah, thanks for reminding me, bungwipe. Thanks for wringing out the last droplets of integrity I had left, nevermind that relying on Manders and the other candidates on the bench was only because I couldn't find a starter who could kick to save his arse.

Anyway, Thompson offers a solid control artist at the helm of the T should he be called upon, even if said control comes at the expense of defensive capability- I don't know how good Thompson was at defense... but he was described as slow-footed, so there you go. It's a small price to pay for such an important position anyways. Christman meanwhile was described by Pat Harder as something like Bart Starr in regard to his mannerisms. Ideal for the 3rd stringer, but it helps that Christman Quarterbacked for a champion in '47. And while Christman's defensive ability is also a mystery, it's reasonable to assume he had more ability there. And if he doesn't, than the guys we have at halfback will have to blend over to safety on occasion.

Backup Left Halfback: Fred Gehrke- 1945
Defensive Position: Defensive Halfback
-5'11 189. Cleveland/Los Angeles Rams, 1940, 1945-49/ Chicago Cardinals, 1950/ San Francisco 49ers, 1950
Backup Left Halfback: Richard Todd- 1940
Defensive Position: Defensive Halfback
-5'11 172. Washington Redskins, 1939-42, 1945-48
Selected Over: Tony Canadeo, Ace Parker, Bill Dudley

Canadeo started out in Green Bay as the heir to the do-everything Tailback role, went to war, and came back as a pure runner. Running was really all he did on offense- he wasn't a passer anymore and he wasn't used in the air attack. And while he was effective, he was more of a Jack-of-All-Trades, with his career year coming in a 2-10 season in '49. Ace Parker was also a Tailback of dubious statistical production who still made the Hall of Fame. As for "Bullet" Bill Dudley, he gets knocked off for the same reason most Hall of Famers do on these lists; they sort of become unusable if they're not starters. By that I mean you still have to grapple with Team Chemistry and there's really nothing I can dig up on Dudley that suggests he would take a back seat. Or maybe I'm too anti-merit about this whole shindig.

Anyway, I didn't pick Gehrke so he could design some [Bleep]in' sweet logo for the team (though I could....) but rather for his playmaking skills. Fred was considered one of the fastest players on the Rams during his day, and excelled a dual threat on the ground and in the air. He also contributed though sporadically in the return game. More to the point, I know he won't complain about being on the bench for extended stretches.

As for Todd, his endorsement comes from Sammy Baugh himself, who called Todd 'a tough little devil' and the fastest player on the Redskins roster. Baugh upped the hyperbole in another webpage by saying Todd was the best running back he had played with, 'not excepting Cliff Battles'. Even taking it with a pinch of Salt, Todd had the open-field moxie and the experience as a bit player to be a fine 3rd stringer.

Backup Fullback: Bill Osmanski- 1941
Defensive Position: Linebacker
-5'11 197. Chicago Bears, 1939-43, 1946-47
Backup Fullback: Joe Muha- 1948 (Special Exemption, 4 years)
Defensive Position: Linebacker
-6'1 205. Philadelphia Eagles, 1946-50
Selected Over: Several Role-Players

A quick note about one of the role-players left behind; John Grigas. Grigas was a fullback who played some years in the NFL, his second season spent with the debacle that was the Card-Pitt squad in '44. Basically it was a mixture of the Chicago Cardinals and Pittsburgh Steelers. And quite frankly they were awful. And in the midst of it, Grigas started off as the team's fullback and best offensive threat. Then quarterbacks started to fall left and right and by the end of the season poor Grigas had to be the passer as well as the runner, and the team just wasn't winning a single game no matter how hard he played- which was pretty dang hard considering he was the only offensive player worth a dang by the end of it. So he gets kudos for getting as far as he did... at least until he up and quit before the last game of the season. You have to admit, going 0-19 in your first two seasons with jokers running the show and no money coming in to speak of... we'd ALL quit, sooner than that even. The fact that Grigas still was in the NFL a few years later is a major accomplishment, since in this modern time a player who pulled THAT stunt would be a pariah decades later.

Anyway, Osmanski's career, like all the runners in Chicago, is stunted by the committee approach. Yet he made the HoF all-decade team for the 40's, and is considered to probably be the second most talented Chicago back of the 40's behind George McAfee. He had the brutal power of your typical Fullback/Linebacker, but also had 'Track-caliber' speed to go with it. Had he been on a lesser team, maybe he would've gone to the Hall of Fame.

Joe Muha meanwhile has precious little rushing production. It simply wasn't how he was used. As a Linebacker he was one of the best in the business and on offense he was the lead blocker for Philadelphia's real ground gainers. One of the first genuine Blue-Collar dirty workers that you often see at Fullback nowadays.

Backup Right Halfback: Bosh Pritchard- 1949
Defensive Position: Defensive Halfback
-5'11 164. Philadelphia Eagles, 1942, 1946-49, 1951/ New York Giants, 1951
Backup Right Halfback: Ward Cuff- 1943
Defensive Position: Defensive Halfback
-6'1 192. New York Giants, 1937-45/ Chicago Cardinals, 1946/ Green Bay Packers, 1947
Selected Over: Several Role-Players

Pritchard was the 2nd ground gainer behind Steve Van Buren, and in fact served as a proper compliment with a more 'outside' based game alongside Steve's battering 'inside' style. The only reason he's not a quote-unquote 'starter' is simply because McAfee is too explosive to keep on the bench. But Bosh is not a scrub by comparison.

Ward Cuff meanwhile has a comparatively strange career as a back who played in a strange formation (The A Formation the Giants ran deserves a post in itself) and also had to contend with playing just about everywhere in the backfield at some point in his career. Mainly he was a Wingback who would get reverses and utilize Man-in-Motion tricks alongside the misdirections the QB would make post-snap to be especially dangerous on the ground, not to mention being utilized in the air more than a fair amount. Not much else can be found about Ward, who was described as an all-around back by most, and called one of the toughest with ice cold nerves by none other than his coach, Steve Owen.

Backup Left End: Jack Ferrante- 1945
Defensive Position: End
-6'1 197. Philadelphia Eagles, 1941, 1944-50
Backup Left End: Ken Kavanaugh- 1947
Defensive Position: End
-6'3 207. Chicago Bears, 1940-41, 1945-50
Selected Over: Jim Benton

We're taking Ferrante and Kavanaugh over Benton simply because of athleticism. Benton was more of a catcher than a real sprinter, having the physical skill-set for a RE but presumably lacking the toughness to be useful there. Besides, we have more than enough receivers as it is.

We've taken Ferrante before the Eagles dynasty simply because he played defense around that time, which is handy because nobody else from what's left had anything described about their defense. Either way Jack is the open-field playmaker in the Eagle air attack and his rapport with Tommy Thompson will come in handy.

Kavanaugh is a pure Home-Run threat in an offense he is more than familiar with. Just don't expect to see him on defense.

Backup Left Tackle: Buford "Baby" Ray- 1943
Defensive Position: Tackle
-6'6 249. Green Bay Packers, 1938-48
Backup Left Tackle: Vic Sears- 1943
Defensive Position: Tackle
-6'3 223. Philadelphia Eagles, 1941-43, 1945-53
Selected Over: Frank Cope

Ray's size is probably the most important factor in selecting him, though he is actually worth the selection to begin with. The idea is to have him on standby if Bruiser Kinard is actually over-powered at the point of attack (which sounds like the worst kind of insult but you can't leave contingencies uncovered, remember). Devastating as a blocker and a stalwart on the defensive line.

Sears is much the same, just smaller and lighter. And his strength is more on the defensive side. But for your 3rd stringer he's golden.

Backup Left Guard: Riley Matheson- 1945
Defensive Position: Linebacker
-6'2 207. Cleveland/Los Angeles Rams, 1939-42, 1944-47/ Detroit Lions, 1943/ San Francisco 49ers(AAFC), 1947
Backup Left Guard: Augie Lio- 1941
Defensive Position: Guard
-6'0 234. Detroit Lions, 1941-43/ Boston Yanks, 1944-45/ Philadelphia Eagles, 1946/ Baltimore Colts(AAFC), 1947
Selected Over: Len Younce

Matheson's real gift comes with his ability to 'outguess' the opposition while at Linebacker. Having that kind of mastermind on hand in a pinch is quite the luxury, even if the arrangement is slightly intolerable. Given that he is perhaps a bit smaller than Danny Fortmann, putting him in at Guard is not quite advisable.

Lio is a run-of-the-mill sort of lineman, at least compared to the rest of the group. Lio makes this team simply because he's the only Left Guard worth a dang who can play on the line both ways. Everyone else has to be hidden at Linebacker (The funny bit is even if teams were running 5-3-3 and the like during this decade and prior I would only need to switch Fortmann to Linebacker and I'd be golden.)

Backup Center: Alex Wojciechowicz- 1944
Defensive Position: Linebacker
-5'11 217. Detroit Lions, 1938-46/ Philadelphia Eagles, 1946-50
Backup Center: Vince Banonis- 1947
Defensive Position: Linebacker
-6'1 230. Chicago Cardinals, 1942, 1944, 1946-50/ Detroit Lions, 1951-53
Selected Over: Charley Brock, Mel Hein

'Woj', as I'm going to call him because his name gives me the mental heebie-jeebies, is a rare Hall of Famer who is on the bench simply because his intangibles indicate he could do it. That said he's a complete player just like Bulldog Turner is. Need I really say more?

Banonis by comparison is more average, but has a big enough size- and the right lunch pail attitude- that you could get him to play on the line instead of linebacker in a pinch if you needed to. On a list of 3rd string centers who won't make noise, he's tops.

Backup Right Guard: Ray Bray- 1948
Defensive Position: Guard
-6'0 237. Chicago Bears, 1939-42, 1946-51/ Green Bay Packers, 1952
Backup Right Guard: Garrard "Buster" Ramsey- 1948 (Special Exemption, 4 years)
Defensive Position: Linebacker
-6'1 219. Chicago Cardinals, 1946-51
Selected Over: Buckets Goldenberg

There's really not too much to say about Bray, only that he was a longtime part of the Chicago line in the 1940's and the closest thing to a successor to George Musso from the last decade in terms of size. In fact, his ability to play on the line both sides is what sets him out from the rest of the available field. (Funny anecdote; using a very primitive facemask which was all but a legal weapon during the time when most players went without, he mashed up Bucko Kilroy's face pretty good until Kilroy cleated him, or decked him as far as I can remember. Violent times. I can see why people love Hockey for the fighting, because they allow the fighting to begin with. Admit it, most of you would love to see a guy on your team whallop the hell out of an opposing player and only get a fifteen yard penalty for it.

Ramsey gets the nod over the rest because not only did everyone else who qualified play linebacker, he was a vital part of a championship team in '47. Later as a Defensive Coach for Detroit he preceeded Tom Landry in the invention of the 4-3 Defense.

Backup Right Tackle: Al Blozis- 1943 (Special Exemption, 3 years)
Defensive Position: Tackle
-6'6 250. New York Giants, 1942-44
Backup Right Tackle: Chet Bulger- 1947
Defensive Position: Tackle
-6'3 260. Chicago Cardinals, 1942-49/ Detroit Lions, 1950
Selected Over: Several Role Players

To find Al Blozis today, you have to go to France. St. Avoid Cemetary in France, specifically. Blozis died in World War 2 near the town of Colmar, in something called the battle of Black Mountain, when he went out to find two lost squadmembers and was subsequently shot and killed by the Germans. He didn't have to be there; he was so large he could've deferred, but he went anyway. This was six weeks after the '44 championship, where Blozis played Right Tackle for the Giants while on furlough, only his third game of that season for the team.

That's not why he's on this squad. It's why he played such a short career, and why he's one of the greatest What-Ifs instead of one of the greatest Tackles in the history of professional football.

He was not only large and athletic, he was highly coordinated, and almost immediately he became a star player for the Giants. His blocking was described as Earth-Shattering, and he was simply too large to be ineffective on defense. He was simply the genuine package. And much like Ray on the left side, he's being used as a punishing change-of-pace.

Chet Bulger by comparison isn't as talented, though not as smaller compared to Blozis as you would initially think, and did anchor a championship team in '47. So he's no pushover and would be an excellent 3rd stringer by any standard.

Backup Right End: George Wilson- 1943
Defensive Position: End
-6'1 199. Chicago Bears, 1937-46
Backup Right End: Ed Sprinkle- 1949
Defensive Position: End
-6'1 206. Chicago Bears, 1944-55
Selected Over: Nobody

We turn to Chicago to produce two old-school Ends to round out our roster, with the expectation that they will be subbed in whenever the lineup needs steel over explosives.

Wilson and Sprinkle are very much plain and simple to describe. Wilson is a longtime End for Chicago who wasn't the Home-Run threat of Kavanaugh but provided tough blocking and solid defense(his downfield destruction of two Redskins during a long touchdown run in the '40 Championship summarize his style of play perfectly). Meanwhile Sprinkle is considered one of the 'Meanest' players of his time who hit with incredible aggression and became a pass-rush specialist at the end. In fact it is his rushing ability and fierce defense which puts him on this list. If you need a pure defender on the right side, Sprinkle's your man. (There's allegations about Sprinkle being a 'Dirty' player, but even if it were true, look up George Halas. He was above nothing to get an advantage and that wouldn't have fazed him.)

Next up; the AAFC Team who will serve as the opposition.

Last edited by Zycho32 : 03-12-2013 at 01:56 AM.
Zycho32 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-28-2013, 04:27 PM    (permalink
Zycho32
Veteran
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 624
Reputation: 103854
Zycho32 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Zycho32 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Zycho32 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Zycho32 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Zycho32 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Zycho32 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Zycho32 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Zycho32 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Zycho32 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Zycho32 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Zycho32 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.
Default

1940's AAFC All-Decade Team:


Alright, a few quick problems before I tackle the AAFC squad.

First off, anybody who has the most basic knowledge of what the AAFC was in the 1940's- namely an upstart league in direct competition with the NFL who were submitted and integrated into the senior league by the end of the decade- knows that the dominant team in that league was the Cleveland Browns. No debate. Seriously, no debate is tolerated. It's hard to debate Cleveland's place atop that league when they only lost four times and tied three and won all four championships and even posted a perfect season in '48. Their dominance was so thorough that it actually crippled the AAFC beyond any repair as far as reputation went- most upstart leagues tend to have that one comparative juggernaut that ruins the entire thing for the rest of them. Unlike most 'juggernauts' that actually make it to the established senior league and become average or worse, Cleveland went to six straight NFL Championship games after joining the NFL, winning three of them and losing closely in the others. They were never- NEVER- genuinely put down as an upstart who needed to learn their place.

The problem this generates is, 'well why not just use the entire Browns roster and call it a day?' And it's very tempting, but here's why I won't do it. Cleveland did not have a total monopoly on all the best players. A great deal of their success had as much to do with Paul Brown's innovation as it was the players he assembled who could run it. Equally talented players existed on the other teams, a handful actually trying out for the Browns and mistakenly let go.

'Yeah, but the best players to run the Browns system are the Browns players themselves, right?' Well to an extent yes, but not enough to make a major difference. The reason is the gap between a player's talents and the system he plays in is much narrower than you might think. Especially in this era where as revolutionary a playstyle as Paul Brown implemented was still relatively uncomplicated in the grand scheme of things. More to the point, you're playing with thirty-three players, not just eleven. You can put together a key core of Browns stars who you cannot function without- your foundation so to speak- and potentially roll the dice with others who had greater talent but not the knowledge of the Browns system.

A key reality going forward is that every Decade will have one or two ballclubs who dominated and their styles will probably be the styles implemented by the All-Decade team, probably because their Head Coach will be involved. It's not something to shy away from. The 20's and 30's did not use this concept because the T-Formation was revolutionary despite being ahead of its time (a profound dislike for the Single Wing had something to do with it). That's why the 20's had a strange hybrid which bent the rules a bit while the 30's had to distort the T to better match the personnel (again, a dislike of the Single Wing had a part in this). Only by the 40's was the chosen style used by the 'dynasty clubs'. Now going forward the formations will showcase comparatively little variation unlike in decades past, but the styles will become more subtle- philosophies of run or pass, defensive alignments, unit schemes, the introduction of specialists, and onward. At this point, the dominant styles will usually be the winners and the players will have to fit into them in order to be useful.

The second problem is the Platoon System. By the tail end of the 40's, Offensive and Defensive Platoons were utilized thoroughly by Paul Brown, just a couple years ahead of the NFL engaging in the same practice. In the senior league Platooning was on a player-by-player basis, with some unable to play one side(usually defense) which forces a backup player to play that vacated spot in the formation. The trouble comes because the NFL squads were picked on the players' ability to do both. You can see the quasi-unfairness of it all, with the NFL Team coming in Iron-Man style and the AAFC Team coming in with established platoons which keep the players fresher. However, there's a balm; it's still only 33 players. 22 maximum starters, but that means only 11 can be spread out as backups. Which means many of those specialists simply have no choice but to be available in emergency duty on the opposite side. And even the freshness factor can be countered by the NFL Team being more liberal with their substitutions. So the Platoon system stays.

DEFENSIVE NOTE: The Formation used on defense by Cleveland seems to have been a 5-3-3 rather than the 6-2-2-1. But seeing as how even the NFL team can change to a 5-3-3 this isn't a major issue.

Anyway, we start off with the easiest selection by far;

Starting Quarterback: Otto Graham- 1949
Defensive Position: Safety (Emergency Backup)
-6'1 196. Cleveland Browns, 1946-55

For the record, Otto Graham recorded five interception in '46, then picked up an interception both in '47 and '48. So he actually CAN play defense to some extent. Enough to qualify as an emergency backup. And for a Paul Brown-led team, he makes all the difference, being one of the best passers in football history. Accuracy, capable arm strength, fantastic vision, quality mobility, intelligent in execution(though yes, Paul Brown called the plays, not Graham). Basically there are no holes in his passing game. So he's worth the potential shakiness on defense.

When selecting the rest of the Starting backfield, as you will come to understand in the subsequent decades, the emphasis is given a bit more to the formation and style of play as opposed to being all about the talent. This includes available touches for the players with significantly superior talent but questionable intangibles (note, this is NOT a black/white quandary). The formation and style is more prevalent here than most mainly because of Cleveland's established tendency to shift halfbacks into the 'slot' positions out wide or in tight like a wingback. This didn't happen ALL the time, naturally, and it wasn't just a one-man running show from the Fullback... but you do want your halfbacks in this offense to be competent receivers.

Starting Left Halfback: Joe "The Jet" Perry- 1949 (Out of Position)
Defensive Position: None
-6'0 200. San Francisco 49ers, 1948-60, 1963/ Baltimore Colts, 1961-62

When you select from a league that only lasts a small number of years, or even from a single decade, the desire is to pick players who were there for as much of it as possible, even to the exclusion of better talents who were at either beginning or end but spent significantly shorter time there. It's no different in the AAFC, where the better talent has obviously congregated in the latter two years. However, since the league only lasted four seasons, late arrivals don't have the same criteria for exclusion. This is where Perry falls in, even though he played as a Fullback.

Here are the reasons to have Perry out of position; one, from a purely athletic standpoint he's the most explosive of the ground-gainers. Two, his friendship with Marion Motley would serve as a means to keep him on the beam in regards to his role in the offense and the portion of touches he would be allotted- that's mainly if Perry might chafe at a diminished role but no proof has been found to indicate that he's been anything but a good teammate. And three, while his breakaway speed is fantastic by itself, there's nothing to imply Perry wouldn't be elusive enough or that he was a poor receiver. If anything, the worst damage the Jet would do is disrupt Otto Graham's timing on handoffs, but Graham seems to type of guy who could adjust.

Starting Fullback: Marion Motley- 1948
Defensive Position: Linebacker (Starter?)
-6'1 232. Cleveland Browns, 1946-53/ Pittsburgh Steelers, 1955

Like Graham, a painfully obvious selection. But to summarize, Motley was one of the most consistent lethal ground-gainers in the AAFC. Strong, nigh impossible to take down, faster than he ought to have been for that size and era, just that alone would've guaranteed his selection. But even after that he was the finest pass blocker you could expect to find in the backfield (his blocking is why Paul Brown always preferred Motley over Jim Brown) as well as a quality Linebacker. He even handled return duties for some time with the Browns though we won't ask him to do that here. Just the rest of the stuff he brings to the table is enough.

Starting Right Halfback: Orban "Spec" Sanders- 1946
Defensive Position: Defensive Halfback (Starter?)
-6'1 196. New York Yankees(AAFC), 1946-48/ New York Yankees(NFL), 1950

Finally, a name none of you will truly know about. The last three you probably have heard from time to time since they are all Hall of Famers. Sanders however is a 'comet'.

The 'comet' term I take from Bill Simmons in his Book of Basketball, which was part of the NBA Hall of Fame pyramid. A section below the Hall of Famers, the 'Comets' are players who would've been sure candidates had injury, personal problems, or even death not claimed them beforehand. But the analogy extends to other sports as well. Sanders only played three years in the AAFC before his knees gave out as a result of his hard style of running, then he returned in '50 as a pure Defensive Specialist and intercepted thirteen passes before retiring for good.

So what got him here? Well, I was won over by an article detailing how Sanders was going to be put in as the Tailback for New York's Single Wing offense and would be the primary passer- the guy at the helm before that was Hall of Famer Ace Parker in his last year as a football player. Sanders spent the offseason not only training to better increase his ability to run with the football, but he also worked extensively with his passing to give his team a fighting chance. Then he went out that year and lead the Yankees to a 11-2-1 record while doing just about everything but kick for points and catch passes (you thought for a second that he threw passes to himself, didn't you?).

So what does that tell me? It tells me that he could in fact do just about anything you would ask him to do. It tells me that if you wanted him to adopt a role where he wasn't running as much and focusing more on catching the ball and playing defense, you could tell him and he'd do it. And make no mistake, he actually could catch passes but was put in a position where that wasn't viable. And on top of all that he was one of the best returners in the league and could punt in a pinch and is more than willing to do double duty should you require it. In short, he's a 'Glue Guy' for your backfield.

Oh by the way, here's a good guideline if you're selecting Running Backs Wine-Cellar style; the vast majority of the time you want a runner the year BEFORE they have a career season. Because with precious few exceptions, the production starts to taper off after that year and you're not getting as complete a package as you want. Which is why we're taking Sanders a year before that '47 performance.

Moving on the the 'Line';

Starting Left End: Mac Speedie- 1949
Defensive Position: None
-6'3 203. Cleveland Browns, 1946-52

Since the days of Don Hutson you want a split-end who is a game-breaker, and the aptly named Speedie was no exception to that rule. Among the interesting tidbits is that a childhood bone disease left him with an unusual running style, which turned out to be perfect for faking out defenders. His camradery with Graham and fellow end Dante Lavelli led to a proper breaking down of passing strategy and reading covering defenders to exploit mistakes. And even without all of that Speedie had the tools you want in a receiver; athleticism and hands.

About the only thing that doesn't settle right is the implication of a long-standing animosity between Speedie and Paul Brown. This would be compounded by Speedie's decision to flee to Canada for better money and also challenging the then-established Reserve Clause. Some speculate this 'grudge' is why Speedie isn't in the Hall of Fame. I can't really comment either way, but it doesn't surprise me; for all of Paul Brown's innovations, he was domineering in all the aspects of Football but without any redeeming qualities to go with it.

Moving on, here's an annoying thing about the Linemen, the ones NOT going out for passes. They don't show up on stats. They're typically not supposed to. Sure, tackles and sacks gave defensive linemen some degree of credibility but that's still a long way down the line. For now linemen are noticeable mainly by All-Pro selections, soon to be bolstered by the Pro Bowl, but these are often subjective to bias. And eventually you have to scour individual teams to find linemen who played long enough to be a justifiable selection for these squads. It's a real headache, especially when the accolades you find in articles are slim.

Starting Left Tackle: Bob Reinhard- 1948
Defensive Position: Left Tackle (Starter?)
-6'4 234. Los Angeles Dons(AAFC), 1946-49/ Los Angeles Rams, 1950

Funny thing; Reinhard spent the '47 season playing Fullback. Coffin Corner says he was utilized more as a playmaker in key moments as he was too valuable on the lines, but that really says a lot about a player when he's good enough to play and generally thrive in the backfield. Not unlike Bruiser Kinard, come to think of it. Anyway Reinhard was blessed with exceptional athletic gifts for his position, first and foremost mobility to go with his large frame. In addition to being a genuine two-way player, Reinhard also demonstrated a gift for punting, which mainly was unutilized after '47 because of the arrival of Glenn Dobbs. All in all though, he symbolizes the very thing Paul Brown wanted his players to be; lean and hungry.

Starting Left Guard: Dick Barwegan- 1949
Defensive Position: Linebacker/Guard (Starter?)
-6'1 227. New York Yankees(AAFC), 1947/ Baltimore Colts(AAFC), 1948-49/ Chicago Bears, 1950-52/ Baltimore Colts(NFL), 1953-54

Barwegan's ability to play both Linebacker and Defensive Guard pays dividends here, as he is unquestionably the most superior Left Guard in the AAFC player pool. But the team runs a 5-3-3, and only one Guard plays on the line there, so that level of versatility offers less of a headache the further down we go. Barwegan's mobility is a major benefit here, especially in a Browns-Style offense that seems to emphasize line mobility more than just brute strength.

Starting Center: Frank Gatski- 1948
Defensive Position: Linebacker (Emergency Backup)
-6'3 233. Cleveland Browns, 1946-56/ Detroit Lions, 1957

The player pool in regards to Centers seems thin. Mostly it just lacks distinction. And when a pool lacks distinction, it's usually time to focus more on the players on the great teams, and this is where Cleveland seems to have a monopoly for the most part. Really, only three other Centers earned any accolades to speak of. Two of them have only a minor merit and pretty much had precious little information. The third, named Robert Nelson, has even LESS information about him even though he gained the most All-Pro selections out of any center in the AAFC's history. After that, there are the 'trio' of notable Cleveland centers.

Gatski is the most well-known, simply because he is a Hall-of-Famer, and was the only one to play well into the 50's. They called him "Gunner" for his strength and speed, and he was a mentally tough individual- he came from the Coal Mining regions and was one of the players who could take Paul Brown's somewhat-abrasive and perfectionistic intensity. As he put it, "you're supposed to be able to take that crap."

He was also an exceptional pass protector who earned another label, "The Rock of Gibralter." More than enough to warrant his selection here.

Starting Right Guard: Bruno Banducci- 1947
Defensive Position: Unknown (Defensive Guard, speculatively)
-5'11 216. Philadelphia Eagles, 1944-45/ San Francisco 49ers, 1946-54

Paul Brown's emphasis on lean linemen with speed sounds like it would be destined for failure, especially against an NFL squad that could throw out big men all along the line whenever they wanted. However, it's hard to knock this strategy since Brown has the championships to back it up. And this is a boon to the likes of Banducci, who is shockingly undersized for this exact position but brings so much more to the table than what his size takes off. While his accolades are somewhat cliche- described as one of the best blocking guards either in close line or downfield- that's more than enough for the unofficial 'weak link' of the Cleveland line. The only knock on him is there is no word about whether he played defense. Mark that as a mystery for now. Besides, it's going to be especially irrelevent real soon.

Starting Right Tackle: Lou Rymkus- 1948
Defensive Position: Tackle (Genuine Player, but won't play there)
-6'4 231. Washington Redskins, 1943/ Cleveland Browns, 1946-51

He was called "The Battler", and was in Paul Brown's personal opinion the best pass protector he had ever laid eyes upon. Heady praise to be sure, but Rymkus was the fundamental foundation for how tackles had to pass block. But the story gets even jucier from there. He spent the whole '46 season with a damaged knee that would lock up six times a game, and he would have to unlock it each freaking time. And he did this until the end of the season before he finally let his coach know about it. He was also a highly exceptional player on defense, easily the best linemen on that side for the Browns, but Paul Brown thought his pass blocking was too valuable and kept him mainly on Offense. Rymkus never liked it. And since Paul Brown is coaching this squad, that's not going to change. Later on as a coach he brought Paul Brown's style of abrasiveness, but that just got him fired from a Head Coach position with the Oilers, where he was effectively cut off from the professional ranks.

Interesting tidbit for Packers fans; after his playing days in the fifties he was the Line Coach for Leslie Blackbourn and apparently had a hand in developing the likes of Jim Ringo, Forrest Gregg, and Bob Skoronski. But after Blackbourn was sacked almost all of the coaching staff went with him.... except for Ray "Scooter" McLean. Gotta wonder what might've happened if Rymkus stayed long enough for Lombardi to arrive.

Starting Right End: Dante Lavelli- 1948
Defensive Position: None
-6'0 191. Cleveland Browns, 1946-56

They called him "Glue Fingers". I'll let you guess what that means. In addition, Lavelli was an accomplished route runner who had no problem deviating from the script and becoming Otto Graham's main improvisational weapon downfield. Then you get into the cliche descriptions labeling him as a 'Clutch receiver', meaning he was sure money once something important was one the line and would make the necessary plays. In short, everything you want in a Split-End, but he played a position that was meant to be played tight while the opposite End was split out. Painfully deliberate, right?

Frankly though, I'm convinced Paul Brown never had Lavelli line up tight. Mostly because I haven't found anything that indicated his blocking ability and because limiting one of your primary threats at End to the inside wasn't something I see Paul Brown doing. Lavelli's skill-sets match a Split-End more than a Tight-End. So you have not one but two Ends split out, with the ball potentially going either way. Later on in the 50's the Flanker would be invented while the Tight-End could be retained, and offenses would take another step forward.

Now onto the genuine Defensive Starters.

Using the 5-3-3, we have Marion Motley at Linebacker, Spec Sanders at Defensive Halfback, Bob Reinhard at Tackle, and Dick Barwegan at Linebacker. That leaves four linemen, one linebacker, and two defensive backs. And even the established starters aren't 'safe' from being platooned. But we're just going with the definitive specialists and let the rest who might get the nod be labled with the rest of the bench.

Starting Defensive Left End: George Young- 1948
Offensive Position: None
-6'3 214. Cleveland Browns, 1946-53

It was really down to him or fellow Defensive End John Yonakor for this spot. Even though Yonakor actually played on the right side of the line, that wasn't what eliminated him. The fact was, Yonakor was sold to the New York Yankees after the Browns joined the NFL, while Young remained (granted, Yonakor was sold because of Len Ford, but still...). At any rate, Young is a stalwart pass-rusher and probably the lone defender in this position, meaning somebody may have to come from the opposite side should something happen to him.

Starting Middle Guard: Bill Willis- 1948
Offensive Position: Right Guard (Backup)
-6'2 213. Cleveland Browns, 1946-53

For a Middle Guard, Willis looks puny. It's not what you expect, seeing as how the Middle Guard is the ancestor to the Nose Tackle, and you know how big you want THOSE guys to be. Like Bucko Kilroy. That's the size you want in a Middle Guard.

Well, Willis made that irrelevent for one key reason. His explosiveness and speed were off the charts when compared to anyone and everyone else who played on the line. He was so quick and powerful that his weight ceased to matter everytime he blew through the opposing line to tackle the ballcarriers. He would actually draw double and triple-teams which freed up his teammates to make plays. And to make matters worse, he would also drop back to cover just like a linebacker would. He was the genuine predecessor to the 4-3 Middle Linebacker, well before the 4-3 was invented.

Small wonder when Platooning became viable Paul Brown took away his responsibilities as an offensive guard (though to be fair, his athleticism alone probably made him very capable there too) and had him focus solely on defense.

Starting Defensive Right Tackle: Arnie Weinmeister- 1949
Offensive Position: Tackle, either side (Backup)
-6'4 235. New York Yankees(AAFC), 1948-49/ New York Giants, 1950-53

Going back to Lou Rymkus for a second. He'll never EVER like the idea of being platooned. But there's really only one person at his position who can justify it, and it's this guy. Weinmeister is notable for have one of the shortest professional careers and still making the Hall of Fame, a presumed testament to his ability on the field. And to be fair, his mobility on this unit is probably second only to Bill Willis. Weinmeister is notable for his fantastic ability to diagnose offensive plays and could shift laterally to stop the ball carriers. All this on top of an exceptional pass-rushing ability. And like Rymkus, Weinmeister was a quality two-way player who was shifted to one platoon later on- a tactic Brown will likely imitate. Still, Weinmeister's versatility could come in handy.

Starting Defensive Right End: Len Ford- 1949
Offensive Position: Right End (Backup)
-6'4 245. Los Angeles Dons(AAFC), 1948-49/ Cleveland Browns, 1950-57/ Green Bay Packers, 1958

Ford rounds out what is easily the most lethal defensive line yet and may be for some time to come. And like all great things, the best has been saved for last, for Len Ford would become a prime candidate to be the best defensive end of the 1950's. In fact, Ford's influence may very well have developed the 4-3 or lead to it because Cleveland would drop the linebackers further out- including Bill Willis- and bunch the remaining linemen closer to the center. This fit just fine with Ford's spectacular ability to rush the passer from the outside. Even in his pre-Cleveland days Ford always had that devastating potential on top of a quality ability to catch passes- he was actually considered one of the best in the AAFC's history when it came to receiving, which is an added comfort when taking into account how Speedie and Lavelli never played Defense, which never helps when you have such a short roster.

Starting Linebacker: Lou Saban- 1948
Offensive Position: Center (Emergency Backup)
-6'0 202. Cleveland Browns, 1946-49

You know Lou Saban as a famous coach. You don't know him as a player, which is actually a bit of a shame. Saban seems to have been one of the best linebackers in the AAFC, and not only that but a highly accomplished pass defender in his own right- most interceptions by a linebacker in the AAFC. Saban was an outside linebacker in the 5-3-3 formation Cleveland ran in their pre-NFL days, and was actually the Team Captain, so that tells you a few things about his leadership skills and physical ability. Much like the decades prior, pass rushing was the job of the linemen with the linebackers picking up the slack and getting to ball carriers when the line failed to contain them. However, the increasing trend of passing gave linebackers an extra responsibility in pass defense. A lot of the greatest Centers did double duty as exceptional pass-defending linemen (some like Mel Hein were actually better than their counterparts in the secondary). Saban's skills in pass defense, and the added emphasis of the linebacking corps. to defending the pass because the line was really freaking good at controlling the run, probably helped Cleveland live with just three players in the secondary.

Starting Defensive Halfback: Tom Colella- 1946
Offensive Position: Left Halfback (Emergency Backup)
-6'0 187. Detroit Lions, 1942-43/ Cleveland Rams, 1944-45/ Cleveland Browns, 1946-48/ Buffalo Bills(AAFC), 1949

For the first half of the AAFC's existence, Colella could very well have been the finest Defensive Back in the league. He was also one of the first genuine platooners, paired with halfback Edgar Jones, in a time when the Substitution rules had not yet been adjusted. He also holds more water than his contemporaries simply because he was genuinely described as a Left Cornerback, a distinction that can't really be found in any of the other candidates. Whether that works against the NFL team and the likes of Pete Pihos and George McAfee among others remains to be seen.

Starting Safety: Cliff Lewis- 1948
Offensive Position: Quarterback (Backup)
-5'11 167. Cleveland Browns, 1946-51

Out of the Safeties who played Quarterback, Lewis tops them all. Mostly because the others don't mesh well. Frankie Albert was a willing safety, especially against the Browns, but as a Quarterback he was more of a compulsive gambler, a quality which would've driven the controlling Paul Brown up the wall. Glenn Dobbs meanwhile was also a willing defender and a quality punter, but absolutely struggled in the T-Formation. In fact, his breakout year in the AAFC in '48 was personified by a gimmicky offense that is very comparable to the 5-WR Shotguns you sometimes see in desperate passing situations. And as much as Paul Brown is an innovator, he wouldn't throw away his playbook for Dobbs. So that leaves Lewis, by all accounts a career backup to Graham who supplemented his reliability behind center in a pinch by being the most capable safety in the league. He also returned punts but wasn't anything truly spectacular in doing so.

With the undisputed Defensive Specialists in place, time to do the rest of the bench. Some players will most likely be Defensive Starters, because Brown is quirky like that, and will be labeled as a (Projected Starter) on their profile. Easy to understand, right?

Backup Quarterback: YA Tittle- 1948
Defensive Position: None
-6'0 192. Baltimore Colts(AAFC), 1948-50/ San Francisco 49ers, 1951-60/ New York Giants, 1961-64

There was almost no 3rd Quarterback on the AAFC Roster. Albert and Dobbs were discarded for reasons already written. Others simply didn't perform up to snuff (one of the passers in question was in fact Spec Sanders, which at the very least gives you an emergency Quarterback who can learn the job and train himself to throw passes). Then there was Tittle, one of many players who didn't play the entire length of the AAFC and had a lengthy career after it. But he gets in for one reason- the Browns picked him up after the '47 season. So why didn't he play there? Because the AAFC decided to bolster the lesser clubs by taking some players from the best clubs and allocating them. That's why Tittle started off in Baltimore for a sad-sack ballclub. If any fledgling league in any sport tried something like that today? Stick a fork in them, they have nothing left in the tank.

Anyway, Tittle had genuine talent as a passer, enough so for Paul Brown to pursue him under the belief that Otto Graham would actually retire after the '48 season. Who knows how Brown might've felt about Tittle after a year or two Quarterbacking the Browns, but for right now, that potential gets him on board and solidifies the key position on offense. Onto the backfield!

Backup Halfback: Buddy Young- 1947
Defensive Position: None
-5'4 175. New York Yankees(AAFC), 1947-49/ New York Yankees/Dallas Texas, 1950-52/ Baltimore Colts(NFL), 1953-55
Backup Halfback: Tommy James- 1949
Defensive Position: Defensive Halfback (Projected Starter)
-5'10 185. Detroit Lions, 1947/ Cleveland Browns, 1948-55/ Baltimore Colts, 1956
Backup Halfback: Jim Cason- 1949
Defensive Position: Defensive Halfback (Backup)
-6'0 171. San Francisco 49ers, 1948-54/ Los Angeles Rams, 1955-56

With three remaining bench spots for the Halfbacks, and looking at who we have as the starters, I went with one offensive specialist and two defensive specialists.

Buddy Young gets the Offensive Player spot over Chet Mutryn, a criminally under-written workhorse for the Buffalo franchise who posted fantastic numbers for his era on the ground, was a quality receiver out of the backfield, and was a dynamic returner on both kickoffs and punts. So why was Buddy Young selected over him? Because not only could he do the same things Mutryn did, he had the far greater athletic potential of the two, had a good personality, and was personally vouched for by Spec Sanders, describing him as a real help during that '47 season when Sanders had to throw the ball, and said Young was a better friend than he could ever find.

Young is another African-American trailblazer with the added scrutiny of being a genuine waterbug (who may have been SMALLER than his listed size) in a sport that's supposed to run them over. But Young's athleticism permitted him to thrive against the bigger boys, and while he was never utilized as a workhorse, he had a solid chance of screwing up defenses with his set of skills.

On the other side of the field, Tommy James would likely get the job of 'right cornerback', which has the distinction of covering the Left End. Against the NFL, this means facing the likes of Don Hutson, Ken Kavanaugh, and Jack Ferrante. If there was a Defender out there who was swifter than James, let me know. At any rate, Tommy James was a highly coveted part of the Cleveland Defense during the transferal from the AAFC to the NFL.

Jim Cason was the Defensive Captain of the 49ers during his career there, but gets the nod here over other contemporaries such as Ray Ramsey and Eddie Carr and even Elroy "Crazylegs" Hirsch because his post-AAFC career was spent either at cornerback or safety. The safety part is key, you see. Because Cliff Lewis is the only actual safety on the roster, and both Graham and Tittle won't be playing defense (besides, Graham played Defensive Halfback in '46). So having someone who can fill in on short notice is worth a lot, and nobody else in the pool seems to have filled that role.

Backup Fullback: Norm Standlee- 1946
Defensive Position: Linebacker (Backup)
-6'2 238. Chicago Bears, 1941/ San Francisco 49ers, 1946-52
Backup Fullback: Tony Adamle- 1949
Defensive Position: Linebacker (Projected Starter)
-6'0 215. Cleveland Browns, 1947-51, 1954

Standlee was actually one of the top ground gainers in the NFL in '41, which actually said a lot about how running games were comittee-style affairs than anything indicating Standlee's talent. Still, he was a solid ground gainer when the war ended and he went to San Francisco. Then Joe Perry showed up and he took a backseat. In the meantime, he played enough at Linebacker to switch fully to that position after the 49ers went to the NFL. That level of versatility is very valuable.

Adamle meanwhile was Motley's genuine backup at Fulback, and a full-fledged Defensive Star at Outside Linebacker for the Browns. And much like several players before him, Tony left football to study medicine, though he came back in '54 for one last season. On a further note, Adamle received the Team Captaincy role after Lou Saban retired to go into coaching in '50.

Backup Left End: Lamar Davis- 1948
Defensive Position: Left End (Backup)
-6'1 185. Miami Seahawks/Baltimore Colts, 1946-49

They called him "Racehorse", and that's about as much information as one is likely to get about the man in question. But as a guy who could play both sides on End, he did have a quality year in '48, intercepting 5 passes and catching 7 touchdowns and playing as a genuine long-range threat. Out of the stable of players, he had the best production to be Speedie's understudy. Whether he could play DE on a five-man front may be another question since he looks a little undersized for what the position demands as opposed to the traditional 6-Man front.

Backup Left Tackle: Martin Ruby- 1946
Defensive Position: Left Tackle (Projected Starter)
-6'4 249. Brooklyn Dodgers(AAFC), 1946-48/ New York Yankees(AAFC), 1949/ New York Yankees(NFL), 1950
Backup Left Tackle: Lou Groza- 1948
Defensive Position: None
-6'3 240. Cleveland Browns, 1946-59, 1961-67

Ruby is another player who has largely fallen through the cracks and become a bit of a mystery, but by now I'm used to the lack of information other than he was a well-respected two-way player, one of the select bunch who fled north to Canada for more money, and who made the Canadian Hall of Fame for the same devastating play he performed down in the states. For a key Defensive Tackle and occasional backup on the offensive side, he's high quality.

Groza meanwhile gets stuck as the Designated Placekicker, but two things separate him from everyone else who was a capable kicker in the AAFC. First, he turned into a valuable offensive lineman, giving him a genuine skill to justify his place. Second, Groza had far better range than anyone else, and was utilized by the Browns to attempt long field goals in the range of over thirty or forty yards rather than punt. This explains why Groza's accuracy actually pales in comparison to a few other candidates, though I'm not sure HOW he became so dang efficient statistically speaking once Cleveland went to the NFL in '50.

Backup Left Guard: Ed Ulinski- 1948
Defensive Position: Linebacker (Backup)
-5'11 203. Cleveland Browns, 1946-49
Backup Left Guard: Alex Agase- 1948
Defensive Position: Linebacker (Projected Starter)
-5'10 212. Chicago Rockets, 1947/ Cleveland Browns, 1948-51/ Baltimore Colts, 1953

As much as I said the idea wasn't to fill every nook and cranny with Browns players, when in doubt you should go with the best team by far in the conference... especially in regards to the line.

Ulinski and Agase are here for a specific reason; they both have experience playing Middle Linebacker in Cleveland's 5-3-3 formation. Rather, Ulinski played it in '47, then Agase played it in '48 and '49. Knowing Paul Brown, he might play Ulinski over Dick Berwanger in the starting spot, based on his own opinion that Ulinski was the best offensive guard in the AAFC. Agase meanwhile had value primarily as a linebacker but could in fact play Guard passably. But his real value is as a Middle Linebacker.

Backup Center: Robert Nelson- 1947
Defensive Position: Linebacker (Backup)
-6'1 214. Detroit Lions, 1941, 1945/ Los Angeles Dons, 1946-49/ Baltimore Colts(AAFC), 1950

The fact that Nelson was earning the lions' share of the accolades at Center over contemporaries such as Gatski, Mo Scarry, and Lou Saban implies he was a quality two-way player (in fact, he was put in the same limelight as fellow lineman Bob Reinhard). That probably makes up for any distinct lack of knowledge about the man.

Backup Right Guard: Lin Houston- 1949
Defensive Position: Middle Guard (Emergency Backup?)
-6'0 213. Cleveland Browns, 1946-53

Again, when in doubt. Houston is here because of his immaculate technique in blocking. Besides, the guards were alternated repeatedly on the Browns because they relayed plays from the coach to Otto Graham. So Houston and Banducci would get plenty of PT regardless. In addition, Houston did replace Bill Willis at Middle Guard at least once, when Willis suffered a broken hand during the '49 season and was temporarily shifted to tackle for a game. It was notable because Houston got into a slugging match against an opposing lineman during that game. (The fool elbowed Houston, who then decked him on the following play).

Backup Right Tackle: Forrest "Chubby" Grigg- 1949
Defensive Position: Tackle/Guard (Backup)
-6'2 294. Buffalo Bills(AAFC), 1946/ Chicago Rockets, 1947/ Cleveland Browns, 1948-51/ Dallas Texans, 1952

The weight isn't entirely accurate. Grigg could get as low as 275 at the start of training camp but would reach 300 by the end of the season. He wasn't a guy who disciplined himself all that well... then again, that mass is exactly why he makes the roster. Grigg is the lone lineman that Paul Brown had during the AAFC days who was a genuine load for the opposition to handle. And he could play the interior rather well. Tackle or even Middle Guard (well, the Middle Guard bit was a gimmick used against San Francisco because they wanted to use Bill Willis at Tackle on occasion). In addition, he also filled in for Lou Groza as a kick-taker (albeit AFTER the AAFC days).

Backup Right End: Horace Gillom- 1949
Defensive Position: End (Backup)
-6'1 221. Cleveland Browns, 1947-56

Gillom is a perfectly reasonable backup on both sides of the ball, and probably on either side of the field as well, but that's not why he's here. Gillom is here because of his punting.

Stats don't tell the whole story. Just going by punt yards per average, Gillom looks fairly pedestrian, especially in the AAFC years, but that's misleading. Much like Lou Groza's range made him a better kicker than the rest of the competition, Gillom is the best punter by far because of a valuable factor; Hang Time.

Most of you who know about Hang Time figure it was invented by Ray Guy, when it fact it was invented by Gillom. To the uninitiated, Hang Time is the length of time a punted ball is in the air before it hits the ground or lands in the arms of a player. The more hang time a punt has, the longer the coverage team has to converge upon the returner in question, effectively disrupting most punt returns and turning them into fair catches or unproductive gains. This helps off-set the decrease in yards traveled and admittedly takes all the fun from the statheads, but too many people do that anyways so no big loss.


...I gotta tell you, going through this team was a nightmare in itself. Thankfully next time around we'll have relative stability in a 50's Squad which is effectively Platooned and labeled for easy analysis.

Last edited by Zycho32 : 03-28-2013 at 04:43 PM.
Zycho32 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-30-2013, 04:38 AM    (permalink
Guru
Rookie
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 221
Reputation: 78436
Guru is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Guru is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Guru is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Guru is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Guru is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Guru is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Guru is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Guru is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Guru is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Guru is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Guru is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.
Default

Serious question, where would Sean Taylor have ended up in the 'all time great' discussion if he wasn't murdered?
Guru is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-04-2013, 01:04 PM    (permalink
flave1969
Rookie
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: London, England
Posts: 246
Reputation: 26822
flave1969 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.flave1969 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.flave1969 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.flave1969 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.flave1969 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.flave1969 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.flave1969 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.flave1969 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.flave1969 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.flave1969 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.flave1969 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.
Default

I have a real problem with Waterfield over Baugh in the 40's squad. You give the nod to Waterfield because of his ability to kick FG's and whilst he clearly was pretty good for his time, I struggle both with the sample size we are talking about here and the impact on the teams they played for. Given that most players in the league played multiple roles Waterfield's ability to kick a FG is not a defining criteria in my book.

Waterfield was 29/55 through 1949. The Redskins who used Dick Poillon/Joe Aguirre were 26/49 in the same period, players who doubled up as Ends. The % made actually favours the Redskins. We are talking about an average of 10/11 FG's per season, if you look at it season by season you see how little they were used in those days, hardly a defining factor.

You said that Waterfield is close enough in other facets to make the kicking a deciding factor but I just don't see it. As we are talking about the 40's team here and given that Waterfield played only 5 seasons during the decade it is only fair to compare the same seasons for Baugh and frankly Baugh clearly elevated his game from 1945 onwards, he really was a trailblazer in that period. Without harping on the stats he is significantly ahead of Waterfield in yards, completion %, TD's and Int's. Over those 5 seasons Baugh completed 59.5% of his passes, that was unheard of in the 40's. Waterfield by comparison completed 49.4% of his passes. None of the other stats are really close either.

Given that the Punting/Defensive careers did not really overlap I don't wan't to get into who was better I think it is close enough to call even. Although Baugh held that punt average record for years and led the league in Passing, Interceptions and Punting all in the same season, an achievement not to be scoffed at or easily asterisked.

So for me it comes down to who was the better QB and I think it is not really close over the time frame where their careers overlapped. were the Redskins any worse because Sammy Baugh did not kick, clearly not. The position after all in your list is starting QB.
flave1969 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-05-2013, 09:15 PM    (permalink
Zycho32
Veteran
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 624
Reputation: 103854
Zycho32 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Zycho32 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Zycho32 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Zycho32 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Zycho32 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Zycho32 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Zycho32 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Zycho32 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Zycho32 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Zycho32 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Zycho32 is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by flave1969 View Post
I have a real problem with Waterfield over Baugh in the 40's squad. You give the nod to Waterfield because of his ability to kick FG's and whilst he clearly was pretty good for his time, I struggle both with the sample size we are talking about here and the impact on the teams they played for. Given that most players in the league played multiple roles Waterfield's ability to kick a FG is not a defining criteria in my book.

Waterfield was 29/55 through 1949. The Redskins who used Dick Poillon/Joe Aguirre were 26/49 in the same period, players who doubled up as Ends. The % made actually favours the Redskins. We are talking about an average of 10/11 FG's per season, if you look at it season by season you see how little they were used in those days, hardly a defining factor.

You said that Waterfield is close enough in other facets to make the kicking a deciding factor but I just don't see it. As we are talking about the 40's team here and given that Waterfield played only 5 seasons during the decade it is only fair to compare the same seasons for Baugh and frankly Baugh clearly elevated his game from 1945 onwards, he really was a trailblazer in that period. Without harping on the stats he is significantly ahead of Waterfield in yards, completion %, TD's and Int's. Over those 5 seasons Baugh completed 59.5% of his passes, that was unheard of in the 40's. Waterfield by comparison completed 49.4% of his passes. None of the other stats are really close either.

Given that the Punting/Defensive careers did not really overlap I don't wan't to get into who was better I think it is close enough to call even. Although Baugh held that punt average record for years and led the league in Passing, Interceptions and Punting all in the same season, an achievement not to be scoffed at or easily asterisked.

So for me it comes down to who was the better QB and I think it is not really close over the time frame where their careers overlapped. were the Redskins any worse because Sammy Baugh did not kick, clearly not. The position after all in your list is starting QB.

A solid critique. Thank you very kindly. It was a very uncomfortable decision to make and I knew it would stir up dissenting opinions, but that is the aim of this thread and I'm happy I could stir some up before we get to the modern era.

Anyway, some notes;

1. The comparison between Waterfield and Aguirre/Poilon is sort of flawed for the following reasons; first, Waterfield's numbers are kind of skewed mainly because the Rams attempted an astonishingly low 3 FGs during the '45 season. Take that away and you find Waterfield attempted and MADE more Field Goals per year than Poilon/Aguirre did. Second, out of the remaining four years, Waterfield, with those same averages of FGs attempted and made, only went below fifty percent once, an efficiency that no one else actually managed in my research.

2. Actually, I can give you the statistics right now. Through '45 to '49;

Samy Baugh: 755/1267- 10272, 84-73
Bob Waterfield: 533/1119- 8088, 70-94

Statistically and purely by passing prowess alone, I openly concede Baugh is the superior passer. However, this isn't the specialist era just yet. Versatility dumps Baugh here in this period because he ceased to be a defender after '45. (This is where I could admit a platoon system of Baugh at QB and Waterfield at S would be viable, but I could only really attempt that in the AAFC with Graham and Lewis because they really did play that style and I know there was no chafing whatsoever in that department.)

So that leaves the Sammy Baugh in the first half of the decade, in a period where he didn't run the T-Formation until '44. A flimsy excuse considering I spent that two prior decades forcing round pegs into square holes (Benny Friedman and Cecil Isbell were Tailbacks remember, and I repeatedly used the T-Formation because of a bias towards the unimaginitive Single Wing.), but at the times there were no exceptional 'T' Quarterbacks to be found. This decade there were three if you rely on the Hall of Fame inductions.

3. The sad truth is any sort of record achieved during the period of World War 2, when so many players from the NFL went off to fight overseas, is forced to have an asterisk. Baugh's '43 campaign is no exception to that rule. Not an excuse to drum it from the record- I didn't do so to Don Hutson in '42- but it does require you to downgrade the achievement somewhat. In all truth, is was really only the finest overall season in Baugh's career because of his eleven interceptions, six of which I believe were from one game in itself. As a passer it was one of his best seasons in efficiency, but the numbers pale to the eye-popping stats produced in the late eighties. And his punting numbers are inflated by an abnormally larger amount of punts attempted, and his yard averages are actually lower than the preceeding years where he almost reached FIFTY yards per punt. And again, he was still a Tailback during that time.

4. Could '43 Baugh have been a better overall fit for the starting roster, and could have a kicker substitute been found? It's possible. Ted Fristch made the starting roster as the Fullback and he was one of the kickers who came close to Waterfield's consistancy but he was still one of the pack. Though it does lead to an issue of how well Baugh would be utilized by George Halas; the Bears teams he ran were run oriented even with Sid Luckman at the helm, which is gravy for a running corps. headlined by Steve Van Buren but would drastically cut down on Baugh's stats. It's really unfair to base any sort of rejection on that speculation because so little information is out there one way or another, especially in regards to Baugh taking on a diminished role.

In the end, that's all the defense I can muster. Now I gotta go and see if Vince Lombardi is a good fit for 50's Offensive Assistant.
Zycho32 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-06-2013, 09:07 AM    (permalink
Iamcanadian
All-NFLDC
 
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Wallaceburg, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 12,142
Reputation: 287181
Iamcanadian is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Iamcanadian is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Iamcanadian is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Iamcanadian is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Iamcanadian is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Iamcanadian is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Iamcanadian is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Iamcanadian is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Iamcanadian is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Iamcanadian is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Iamcanadian is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.
Default

It is useless to compare different eras, the rule changes and scheme changes, have changed positions so much, making comparison extremely difficult.
The term 'best ever' rarely holds up for any player. Often, it is just a product of personnel around that player, the scheme they played in and longevity.
__________________
And proud of it!!!
Iamcanadian is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-06-2013, 09:29 AM    (permalink
Iamcanadian
All-NFLDC
 
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Wallaceburg, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 12,142
Reputation: 287181
Iamcanadian is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Iamcanadian is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Iamcanadian is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Iamcanadian is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Iamcanadian is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Iamcanadian is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Iamcanadian is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Iamcanadian is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Iamcanadian is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Iamcanadian is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Iamcanadian is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by bigbluedefense View Post
There's no way Harry Carson was better than Ray Lewis.

I think Ray propelled himself above Butkus, Lambert and Singletary. Singletary couldn't defend the pass all that well. So Ray beats him by default.

Lambert was great as was Butkus, but what gives Lewis the edge is his versatility. Lewis has been dominant in multiple fronts and schemes, and he's every bit the run stuffer that Butkus and Lambert were, every bit the leader, every bit the intellect, while being a far superior pass coverage backer than both of them.

Ray was just better than them. I gotta give the nod to Ray. You can debate Butkus and Lambert. But he's definitely better than Singletary.
I don't think you can even compare these guys. Butkus, Lambert and Singletary all played in eras where the run dominated the game and a MLB was required to stop the run as his first priority. Lewis played in an era where stopping the pass became the top priority changing forever how a MLB plays the game.
Lewis played in a 3-4 defense where the DL kept him clean to make the tackle unopposed. Lewis was definitely the best in dropping into coverage but I don't think he matches up as well as a run defender.
Really, comparing different eras is just a waste of time and you can say that for every position.
Up until the 50's, a RB had to be on the ground and held there before the play stopped, even if he was tackled, he could still get up and continue his run as the game of football still retained a lot of Rugby rules.
__________________
And proud of it!!!
Iamcanadian is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-06-2013, 10:40 AM    (permalink
Halsey
Pro Bowler
 
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Cookeville,TN
Posts: 4,965
Reputation: 621344
Halsey is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Halsey is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Halsey is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Halsey is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Halsey is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Halsey is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Halsey is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Halsey is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Halsey is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Halsey is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.Halsey is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Guru View Post
Serious question, where would Sean Taylor have ended up in the 'all time great' discussion if he wasn't murdered?
He wouldn't. He would have suffered a major knee injury in 2010 that would have seriously reduced his effectiveness. He would have spent the next 8 NFL seasons as an above average starter, but not an 'all time great'.
__________________
What?
Halsey is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:46 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.