Favorite Non-Eagles

Posted: July 13th, 2019 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | Comments Off on Favorite Non-Eagles

I’ve been reading a book called the Genius of Desperation by Doug Farrar. This is a terrific book on the men who changed the game of football. You might not know about Clark Shaughnessy or Mouse Davis, but you certainly know Buddy Ryan, Bill Walsh and Tom Landry. This book covers a lot of history and is must read material for anyone interested in the schematic development of football.

Reading the book has been a trip down memory lane, taking me back to the games of my youth. That got me to thinking about my all-time favorite players. So here is a list of my favorite non-Eagles. And this won’t be a boring list of only Barry Sanders and Jerry Rice type guys.

WR Anquan Boldin
WR Wesley Walker

I loved Boldin going back to his days at Florida State. He is one of my favorite football players of all-time and defines the phrase “ultra-competitive” for me. Boldin is one of the toughest players to ever play the game. He wasn’t afraid to work the middle of the field. Taking big shots was just the price you paid for making plays.

Walker was completely different in the way he played the game. He averaged 19 yards per catch for his career. Boldin caught 1076 career passes, including 82 TDs. Walker only caught 438 passes, but 71 went for TDs. He was a big time playmaker. One of the can’t miss matchups of the 1980’s was the Jets and Dolphins. Dan Marino would throw his bombs, but then Ken O’Brien would find Walker for a long TD. Check out this box score to appreciate just how incredible Walker could be at times. I hated the Dolphins so watching Walker catch bombs on them was especially fun for me.

TE Kellen Winslow

I loved Air Coryell as a kid and Winslow was the star of the show. He was big at 6-5, 251, but also a gifted athlete. He actually led the NFL in receptions twice. Winslow could move the chains or be a playmaker. Don Coryell moved Winslow around and used him creatively, allowing Winslow to be a true weapon. He is the first TE I remember being blown away by.

QB John Elway

There was a ton of hype surrounding Elway when he came out. Would he play baseball or football? Where would he play? Elway forced the Colts to deal him and quickly became a Broncos legend. The Elway of the 80’s carried the Broncos on his back and was good enough to get them to Super Bowls. He wasn’t surrounded by great talent or playing in a creative scheme so his numbers aren’t impressive. Anyone who watched Elway back then knows the numbers don’t come close to telling the story.

Mike Shanahan was hired as head coach in 1995 and things changed. He made good personnel decisions and brought a much better scheme for the offense. Elway no longer had to carry the team on his back. He was able to use the weapons around him and posted good numbers. Oh yeah, and Denver finally won a couple of Super Bowls.

I loved Elway because of his big arm and his ability to make plays. I also loved the way he came alive late in games. He was just fun to watch. You could maybe think of him as the 1980’s version of Brett Favre.

RB Tony Dorsett
FB Matt Suhey

I loved watching Dorsett run the ball. He was a small, speedy RB at a time when the NFL seemed to like bigger guys (John Riggins, Rob Carpenter, George Rogers, Earl Campbell, Chuck Muncie, etc.). Dorsett could use his speed to get wide on sweeps or toss plays. He was really good on screen passes. Get him into space and Dorsett could make defenders look silly.

Walter Payton can make a strong case for being the best RB in NFL history. He ran for more than 16,000 yards in his career, with many of them coming behind Suhey. In the days of the I-formation and the pro set, RBs needed a gifted lead blocker. Suhey was a really impressive FB. Not only could he block, but he was a gifted runner and receiver. In 1981, Suhey averaged 10 carries per game. Man, football has changed since then. FBs went from being key starters to role players to barely existing in today’s game.

OT Tony Boselli
OG Larry Allen
OC Dermontti Dawson
OG Randall McDaniel
OT Walter Jones

Boselli was dominant until injuries shortened his career. I loved watching him play. He could shut down edge rushers with his athleticism. Boselli could also use his strength and physicality to overwhelm DEs, in the pass game or run game. He was a bully and that made him fun to watch.

Speaking of bullies, Allen is one of the most physically dominant OL to ever play. Just watch this.

Dawson started every game for a decade. He was an outstanding run blocker, able to get movement at the LOS or to pull and blow up defenders out in space. The Steelers were a great running team in the 90’s and Dawson is one of the big reasons why.

McDaniel was not a massive blocker, going 6-3, 276. He was hardly a finesse player, though. McDaniel used his superb athleticism to get the best of defenders, but he would put them on the ground when he had the chance. McDaniel played from 1988-2001 and only missed two games. That is astonishing. He was voted to 12 Pro Bowls and was 7-time All Pro. I love watching OGs with great movement skills so McDaniel was my kind of player.

Orlando Pace and Jonathan Ogden were the bigger names of the era, but Walter Jones was the guy I loved to watch. He went from being dominant at Florida State to being dominant for Seattle. Stud LT for 12 years. He was voted to 9 Pro Bowls.

DE Jason Taylor
DT John Randle
DT Randy White
DE Kevin Greene

I remember watching the Blue-Gray game in 1996. There was a tall, skinny pass rusher from Akron who really impressed me. He went to the Senior Bowl a month later and was just as good down there. I’ve been a fan of Taylor’s since seeing him in those all-star games. He played DE and OLB. He played right side and left side. Taylor produced no matter where he lined up or what the scheme was.

Randle was undersized at just 6-1, 290. He was pure energy, playing 100 mph and being constantly disruptive. Randle had double-digit sacks every year from 1992-1999. That is incredibly impressive for a DT. Randle did play some snaps at DE, but spent most of his career playing inside. He was a lot of fun to watch. Randle could be torturous to opponents, because of his talent and his big mouth. The only thing worse than getting beat is having to hear about it over and over.

White is the rare guy who played LB in college and moved to DL in the NFL. He was 6-4, 257, an odd build for a DT. White was powerful and athletic. He was highly disruptive throughout his 14-year career. I loved watching him get down into a 4-point stance and then fire into the backfield.

Greene mainly played 3-4 OLB, but he did play some 4-3 DE. Regardless of where he lined up, Greene was disruptive and productive. He had double-digit sack seasons for four different teams. Greene finished his career with 160 sacks, putting him 3rd all time, only behind Bruce Smith and Reggie White.

LB Karl Mecklenburg
LB Chris Spielman
LB Lance Briggs

Mecklenburg is one of the most versatile players in NFL history. He played ILB, DE, DT and NT. Mecklenburg didn’t play well at NT so he got moved. He found a home at ILB, but was such a good pass rusher that he got used as a DE/OLB as well. No matter where he lined up, I loved watching the former 12th round pick play.

I read about Spielman when he was a high school player. Sports Illustrated wrote about the young sensation from Massillon who was heading to Ohio State. I followed his career at OSU and then in the NFL. Spielman was an old school MLB. He was a team leader and tackling machine. Spielman wasn’t going to wow you with athleticism or make a bunch of big plays, but he seemingly made every tackle. Spielman played like his life depended on it, which made him easy to love.

Brian Urlacher was the star, but Briggs was the guy I loved to watch. He was outstanding in coverage and strong against the run. Urlacher was the huge, athletic freak. Briggs was just a damn good LB. He was athletic and instinctive. He could run and hit. The Eagles could have really used a player like him.

SS Darren Woodson
FS Nolan Cromwell

Woodson is a player I should hate. He delivered a devastating moment to Eagles Nation. Back in 1994, the Eagles trailed Dallas in a close game. The Eagles drove down the field and were about to score. Randall Cunningham threw a pass that Woodson picked off and ran back 94 yards for a TD. Game, set and match. That play made my blood boil and I hated Woodson for a time. But I came to appreciate him and how good he was.

Cromwell was a QB at Kansas and he moved to defense in the NFL. Trivia bit…Cromwell is the reason we have the Combine. Cromwell got hurt as a senior in college so teams wanted to check him out before the draft. That meant a lot of traveling for Cromwell. This sparked an idea of centralizing a pre-draft event to check out players. Thus, the Combine. Cromwell spent his entire career playing S for the Rams and picked off 37 passes.

CB Peanut Tillman
CB Antoine Winfield

Tillman was the human turnover machine. He picked off 38 passes, but forced fumbles were his specialty. He finished his career with 44, an astonishing total for a CB. Ronnie Lott and Rod Woodson combined for 36, if that gives you any idea of how freaky Tillman was. I loved watching him play. Tillman could cover, play the run and make plays. He was a complete corner.

Winfield was small at 5-9, 180, but he played like he was the biggest, toughest dude on the field. I fell in love with him in Ohio State’s game vs Michigan in 1998. Winfield had a monster game and was all over the field. He then went to the NFL and played for 14 years. Winfield was never a great NFL player, but he was fun to watch.


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