The New Democrat Online

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Joey Mesa: Video: ABC Sports: NFL 1978-MNF-Baltimore Colts @ New England Patriots: Joe Washington Highlights

I'm posting this because as a Redskins fan who is not quite old enough to have a very good memory of the Baltimore Colts before escaped to Indianapolis in 1984, I remember Joe Washington with the Redskins in the early and mid-1980s. He was what the NFL calls now and perhaps then a hybrid on offense. Someone between a wide receiver and running back. Someone you could run out of the backfield in a traditional set, but run draws, catch screens and swing passes out of the backfield. But you also line him up in the slot position as a possession receiver, or even big play receiver.

Hybrid offensive players tend to not be big for running backs and not tall for receivers. They tend to be about 5'9-5'11 around 190-200 pounds or smaller than that. Strong enough to run the ball out of the backfield and catch the ball as a wideout and get open. But not quite big enough you want that player to be doing full-time, at least as your go to runner or receiver. The guy who really reminds me of Joe would be Eric Metcalf who played for the Cleveland Browns and Atlanta Falcons in the 1990s. And played both halfback and wide receiver, as well as return kicks and punts.

Bob Smith: Video: CBS Sports: NFL 1986-NFC Final-Washington Redskins @ New York Giants: 2nd Half

On paper at least this was a great matchup. Two big physical very good teams on both sides of the ball. I think under normal conditions this is a one touchdown game and perhaps the New York Giants would've won again, but not in a shutout. Even when the Giants did beat the Redskins in this era, their victories tended to be very close even at Giants Stadium. But this obviously wasn't normal conditions, at least for the Redskins. The Redskins are from Washington, where it doesn't tend to get very cold until January. Winter tends to start in New York/New Jersey in November.

This was a Giants game in Giants weather at Giants Stadium where they were extremely difficult to beat. Very similar to the Green Packers at Lambeau Field when they are good. And now the Seattle Seahawks in Seattle. The Giants got off to a very hot start in this game putting up seventeen points in the first half. With the weather being the way it was and with the Giants defense in 1986, that was more than enough for a shell-shocked Redskins team that weren't prepared or didn't seem to be able to deal with the stadium and the weather.

Timothy Wehrfritz: Video: NFL Network's Missing Rings, The 1990s Buffalo Bills: The One Super Bowl That Got Away From The Bills

This post was originally posted at FreeStateExtra on Blogger

When I look at the Buffalo Bills of the late 1980s and early 1990s, I see very good football teams and in the early 90s the best teams in the American Football Conference. But there's an issue right there. From 1984 except for maybe the underachieving Raiders of the mid 80s and the 1987 Browns, 1988 Bengals, 1990 Bills and the two best teams in the NFL were not in the AFC and AFC Champions. But were in the NFC, the top two teams in the NFC the champion and finalist. In 1986 the two best teams in the NFL were the New York Giants and Washington Redskins, but they not only played in same conference, the NFC. 

And by 1992 the two best teams in the NFL were always in the NFC, until 1997 with the Denver Broncos winning the Super Bowl. This was not a good era for the AFC, 1985, 1986, 1987 the Super Bowls were all blowouts, the NFC team beating the AFC team. In 1989 the San Francisco 49ers blew out the Denver Broncos 55-10, 1992 the Dallas Cowboys blew out the Bill 52-17. 1994 the 49ers blew out the San Diego Chargers 49-23. The Bills of the late 80s and early 90s were the best team in the AFC. And won four straight AFC Final's from 1990-93, but in the worst era for the AFC. I'm not taking anything away from the Bills of this era, they had very good teams and would've been very successful in the National Football Conference, but they wouldn't of dominated the NFC like they dominated the AFC.

If you look at those four Super Bowls that the Buffalo Bills lost from 1990-93, they were only favored to win one of them the, 1990 Super Bowl when they played the New York Giants. But the Giants were a very good football team, they still had one of the best defenses in the NFL. Even though they were getting older and they still had their ball control offense, power run, possession passing, shorten the game and limit the Bills chances on offense to have the ball and score. Giants running back OJ Anderson was the SB MVP, quarterback Jeff Hostletter completed passes when he had to. And had TE Marc Bavaro I believe the best all around TE in the NFL at the time and had WRs Chris Calloway, Mark Ingram and Steve Baker.

The Giants could throw when they wanted to and when they needed to and the strength of their offense fit in perfectly with the weakness of the Bills Defense. They had a power offense going up against and somewhat finesse undersized 3-4 Bills defense with a small 270 pound nose tackle in Jeff Wright. And the Bills were able to stay in the game because even though they didn't have the ball much, they moved it almost every time they had it. And when the Giants scored they used a lot of time to score, keeping the Bills in the game. 

1990 was the best chance for the Buffalo Bills to win a Super Bowl and they were favored in that game and they only lost 20-19 and had plenty of chances to win that game. But missed a lot of tackles probably because they were so tired, because their defense couldn't get off the field. But the other three Super Bowls they were a clear underdog playing teams, like the Redskins and Cowboys twice that were much bigger and stronger which is what the NFC was back then over the AFC. Run the ball, stop the run, rush the QB, protect the QB and win the turnover battle. And the Bills happened to be the best of a weak American Football Conference.

Ian Ward: Video: NFL 1983: The Washington Redskins Yearbook

This post was originally posted at FRS FreeStatePlus on Blogger

Even though the 1983 Redskins won the NFC Championship but lost Super Bowl 18 to the Los Angeles Raiders in a blow out, I believe they are the best offensive team the Redskins have ever had in the Super Bowl era. The only other team that I would consider would be the 1982 Redskins that did win Super Bowl 17 over the Miami Dolphins because they were better defensively, but the 1983 Redskins had a dominant offense, one of the best ever scoring something like 540 points.

The 1983 Redskins blew teams away and also playing a toughest schedule just to get to the Super Bowl. In the NFC East alone, playing the Dallas Cowboys twice and the Philadelphia Eagles and St. Louis Cardinals that were still competitive. Playing three conference finals teams in the regular season, the San Francisco 49ers, Raiders and Seattle Seahawks. Playing the Anaheim Rams (as I called them) twice in 1983 including in the NFC Playoffs, playing the Atlanta Falcons that were in the NFC Playoffs in 1982.

The Redskins played a lot of playoff teams in 1983 and still won 16 games including in the NFC Playoffs and lost 3 including the Super Bowl. They also had some close games, but those games were against playoff teams, including against the Cowboys twice. The 1983 Redskins were also in a bunch of shootouts as the game against the Raiders would indicate. Because even though their run defense and pass rush were still very good, the pass defense slipped a bit because they were working in people like rookie corner back Darrel Green who's in the Hall of Fame and safety Ken Coffey. But offensively they were much more explosive.

Super Bowl 18 against the Raiders where the Redskins lost 38-9, the score is a little misleading. I'm not saying the 1983 Raiders didn't have a great team, because they obviously did if you look at their team, their head coach Tom Flores, where they ranked in the NFL and who they beat. But the Redskins made some key mistakes in that game, first on defense trying to cover Raiders wide receiver Cliff Branch who I believe should be in the Hall of Fame with a rookie CB Darrel Green, they should've double teamed Branch the whole game at least on post routes.

And on offense when the Raiders were playing 8-9 Man Fronts on defense, with the Redskins consistently trying to run and getting nowhere against those fronts they should've thrown the ball against them short routes worked the tight end throw screen passes, to both tailback Joe Washington and work TB John Riggins in the pass offense as well when they couldn't use him in the run offense. And the late in the first half when they were trailing 14-3 deep in their territory instead of throwing that (infamous) screen pass to Joe Washington that worked for a long TD against the Raiders in the regular season, they threw that same pass, but it was picked off by linebacker Jack Squirek for a TD making the score 21-3. Because the Raiders defense saw that same play and remembered it and saw it coming. They should've tried to run out the clock instead.

I'm not saying the Redskins would've beaten the Raiders in Super Bowl 18 had they had a better game plan, but without that INT in the first half for a TD, its probably 14-3 Raiders at the half. And the Redskins scored a TD to start off the 2nd half but got the extra point blocked. This should've been a 14-10 game Raiders leading in the 3rd quarter with the momentum with the Redskins. Their defense feeling recharged thinking they are back in it. Super Bowl 18 should've been one of the best Super Bowls of all time, had the Redskins had a better game plan instead of a 38-9 blowout as it was.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Wayne Barros: Video: NBC's The Tonight Show: Steve Martin Interviewing Richard Pryor in 1978

Sounds to me Steve Martin was going dry trying to interview Richard Pryor on The Tonight Show. And what I mean by that for all of you who just speak English, is that Martin was struggling to think of stuff to ask Big Richard (ha ha) and was having to go off the top of his head. And apparently not having much upstairs to pick from to talk to Pryor about. With Pryor doing the best with what Martin would eventually find to talk to Pryor about. This interview to me is sort of like a blind date involving two people that basically have nothing in common. Perhaps their friends put them together as a practical joke.

Which is strange to me because Steve Martin is obviously not just a very funny man and great comedian, but a very bright guy. Otherwise he wouldn't of gotten the opportunity to fill in for the great Johnny Carson. But this interview to me looks like a couple of complete strangers being forced together and forced to talk to each other like their life depended on it. And they basically get down to "nice weather we're having. Yeah the weather tends to be nice around here in May. What's you favorite color? I had a cold recently, but it wasn't that bad".

But being the two great professionals that they were despite Steve Martin's lack of preparation and homework, (ha ha) I think they did pretty well together, despite the lack of and material and topics they had to work with. Because of Steve Martin not knowing what he was doing in that big chair and perhaps not understanding what the job of the comedic interviewer was. Perhaps The Tonight Show Staff didn't give him the memo, or Steve's dog ate his homework.

Ian Ward: Video: NFL 1987: The Story of the Washington Redskins

The 1987 Redskins to me exactly goes to the brilliance of General Manager Bobby Beathard and Head Coach Joe Gibbs. A strike season where the NFL decides to play on with replacement players. That Beathard and his staff had to find for Joe Gibbs and his coaching staff. And Coach Gibbs and his crew having to determine which of these part-time NFL players can even play under these conditions and against NFL players that decided not to strike and how to use those replacements in the best way possible. Because the Redskins still had a job to do, which was to win as many games as possible in 1987.

The 1987 NFL season also goes to the depth of the Redskins with the players they lost to the players strike and the player they lost to injury. They had two starting quarterbacks in 1987, both Pro Bowl caliber quarterbacks that could start for a lot of NFL teams in Jay Schroeder and Doug Williams. They lost their starting tailback in George Rogers, another Pro Bowl running back. They had injuries on the offensive line and had to bring in new starters like Raleigh McKenzie. Gibbs was constantly having to change his lineups around on offense and defense.

The 87 Redskins perfectly exemplify the Joe Gibbs era in Washington. As a club that just had great depth everywhere and perhaps the best depth in the NFL. They didn't have the most talent in the NFL, but they arguably had the best players and the most good players and talent in the NFL. And when the strike was over and had they had all of their key players back, that is when the NFL got to see how really good of a team that they had. I believe especially on defense where they dominated the NFC Playoffs and Super Bowl. And on offense that could pile up points in the air and dominate on the ground.

Cherie Altuaimeh: Video: Steel Curtain Tribute: The Steel Curtain Steeler Dynasty

This post was originally posted at FreeStateExtra on Blogger

The 1978 Pittsburgh Steelers are what a great team looks like and to me the definition of what a great team looks like so to the point as their cover corner back Mell Blount saying that "the NFL changed its rules in 1978 to slow down the Steelers so they weren't so dominant". That they went from being a power run ball control offense in the mid-1970s to a vertical pass offense with two deep threats in wide receiver in John Stallworth. Who to me is the Michael Irvin of his generation with his size and strength, but with great speed and could get by you just by running by you. Which made QB Terry Bradshaw's job a lot more fun because he had a big strong accurate arm that could go deep.

Bradshaw had the WRs to throw the ball to and the Steelers still had their power running game with tailback Franco Harris and tailback Rocky Blier. And they still had their Steel Curtain Two-Gap defense that could stuff the run and attack the QB just with their front four. With defensive tackle Joe Greene arguably the best defensive lineman of all-time. Defensive end LC Greenwood who should be in the Hall of Fame and DE Dwight White. And with middle linebacker Jack Lambert the best MLB of his era and Jack Ham the best outside linebacker of his era. With the Steelers front seven they could stuff the run, attack the QB and cover the whole field.

With those players and with CB Mell Blount I believe the best CB off all-time, you hated being the top WR on the other team because it meant the QB wasn't going to throw you the ball. And with safeties Donnie Shell and Mike Wagner, you weren't throwing the ball deep against the Steelers. You couldn't really run the ball on the Steelers even though you really only had to block four players. Pass protection was almost impossible with the Steelers front four and even if you had time to throw, who you going to throw the ball to, no one is open.

The 1978 Steelers were so great not so good, but so great that the NFL changed the rules to slow them down. And so they were so dominant, other than the Oakland Raiders, Dallas Cowboys and maybe the Miami Dolphins no one could give the Steelers a hard time before the 1978 rule changes. Which were aimed at the Steelers Steel Curtain defense. The illegal contact rule, meaning you couldn't jam a WR after five yards. The new blocking rules aimed at Joe Greene that outlawed head slapping. But that didn't slow the Steelers because they just adapted to the new rule changes meaning that their defense was probably not going to be as dominant anymore.

But again these are the Pittsburgh Steelers, they have Chuck Knoll as their head coach, Terry Bradshaw as their QB and Franco Harris the at TB, with John Stallworth and Lynn Swann at WR. Which meant they just needed to open up the offense and score more points. Go to the vertical pass offense to complement their power running game. The Steelers didn't change to fit in with rest of the NFL, but they adapted and overcame and made themselves better to utilize the other talent that they had and not rely so much on their defense and power running. That's what the 1978 Steelers were and what a great team looks like. You make a move at them they make another move and get better than they were already are. 

There are a lot of teams to choose from as the best team of all-time and I'm referring to the Super Bowl era including the undefeated 1972 Miami Dolphins. But I take the 78 Steelers because of their head coach who was also their general manager in Chuck Knoll, who was great at both jobs. And could go to the Hall of Fame in either role, who was a defensive head coach as he built the Steel Curtain defense. But understood offense well enough that he knew what type of offense he wanted the Steelers to have. And then go out and get the players to play in that offense and of course not just the talent but how well they played together and how dominant they were.