This post was originally posted at FRS Real Life Journal on WordPress
Back in 1975 then Redskins Head Coach/General Manager George Allen traded for S.t. Louis Cardinals defensive tackle Dave Butz, who was probably the best trade that coach Allen ever made at least in Washington. Because Butz would go on to anchor the Redskins defense for the next fourteen seasons. While the Cardinals after the 1975 pretty much went in decline failing to make the NFC Playoffs for the rest of their time in S.t. Louis. After making the NFC Playoffs both in 1974 and 1975.
Joe Gibbs and Bill Parcells didn’t have much in common, but they both believed in at least one thing together when it came to football. That you win football games by controlling the line of scrimmage. You run the ball well and stop the run, you protect your quarterback and pressure the other teams quarterback. And you protect the ball and come up with a takeaway or two.
You do those things well and you’ve dramatically increased your chances of winning. Because now you are in charge of who can move the ball down the field because you can run and throw. While your opponent is having their running game stuffed and consistently seeing their quarterback hit and under pressure. Joe Gibbs gets a lot of credit for the Redskins having such great offensive teams while he was in Washington as he should. But the fact is in his tenure and under assistant head coach Ritchie Pettibone, the Redskins except for maybe 1981, were always in the top ten in defense.
Because the Redskins were about as good as anyone or better than anyone in the 1980s at controlling the line of scrimmage. On both sides of the ball which is why their pass rush led by defensive ends Dexter Manley, Charles Mann and others including Dave Butz, was so good, because the Redskins forced teams to throw the ball a lot. And consistently throw the ball under pressure because they couldn’t run the ball.
Dave Butz was the anchor of the Redskins defense in the 1980s because he consistently commanded double teams if not triple teams. Because of his awesome size and strength, 6’7 300 pounds plus. Looked more like an offensive tackle with better mobility back in an era when defensive lineman weren’t generally that big. Which freed up a lot of one-on-one matchup's for DT Darryl Grant, Dexter and others.