Carson did the one thing no defensive player ever
gets enough credit for, even though it's the first thing every defensive coach talks about with his team every week: He defended the run. You've heard it a hundred times: If we don't stop the run, we can't win. And when the Giants contended consistently, the hallmark of that team was not the running game or Lawrence Taylor
terrorizing quarterbacks. It was having opponents in second-and-9. And that was Carson's job. From 1981 to 1987, the peak of his career, when he was making the Pro Bowl every year as a run-stuffing inside linebacker, the Giants averaged 3.59 yards per opponents' rushing attempt.
Consider these three stats about that 3.59 over the seven-year period that Carson was at his peak:
1. The great Chicago Bears defense of 1985, one of the best of all time, with defensive tackles Steve McMichael
and Dan Hampton
and middle linebacker Mike Singletary
, gave up an average of 3.64 yards per rush. The Giants beat that ... over a seven-year period.
2. Only three teams in 2005 were better than 3.59 yards per opponents' rush, for a single season.
3. Mike Shanahan
said the Patriots had one of the best run defenses he'd ever seen before he faced them in the playoffs. New England allowed 3.62 per opponents' rush.
And consider that none of Carson's run-stopping 'mates over a seven-year period -- good but not star players like Erik Howard
, Jim Burt
, Gary Reasons
, Kenny Hill
, Byron Hunt
, Greg Lasker
, Herb Welch
, Terry Kinard
-- will ever be discussed for the Hall of Fame. And you think: if Carson was the on- and off-field leader of this group, if Bill Belichick
considered Carson the best all-around linebacker he ever coached, and given the way that Carson stopped the run, shouldn't the guy make the Hall of Fame?