This is probably the best article I've seen regarding how Lawrence Taylor changed the game. Specifically, he turned the left tackle position into the 2nd most important position on offense.
....The football field is usually an efficient economy: There is seldom a free lunch on it. Of course there are the weaknesses and strengths of individual players, and a smart coach will know how to exploit them. Systematic opportunity is rare. Yet Walsh had stumbled upon a systematic opportunity, and in time other coaches borrowed heavily from him. His short, precisely timed passing game might not offer an entirely free lunch, but the discount to the retail price was steep. The passing game was transformed from a risky business with returns not all that much greater than those of the running game into a clearly superior way to move the football down the field. As a result, the players most important to the passing game became a great deal more valuable.
In that context Taylor posed a problem. The system Walsh brought to the 49ers of the early '80s enabled Joe Montana to get rid of the ball faster than anyone else in football, and usually that was fast enough. Now it wasn't. Walsh's system was all about rhythm, and rhythm was precisely what you didn't have when you heard Taylor's footsteps behind you. Walsh came to a pair of conclusions. The first was that he needed to find himself a player like Taylor to terrorize opposing quarterbacks. The second was that he needed to use his first pick of the next draft to find a left tackle, because, as Parcells observed, the only way to handle this monster coming off the edge without disrupting the rhythm of the new passing attack was to have a single player with the physical ability to deal with him. The old left tackle was coming to the end of his natural life.....
Last edited by joemorrisforprez; 04-10-2014 at 07:15 PM.
“Losers assemble in little groups and complain about the coaches and the players in other little groups, but winners assemble as a team,”
- Emlen Tunnell
Comparing and saying these kids coming into the NFL are the next LT,Geno Atkins or whoever is just out of control. These guys haven't proven anything on an NFL field to warrant comparisons to these All Pro Greats. Clowney not worthy of being compared to LT, Aaron Donald Not worthy of being compared to Geno Atkins or Suh, Evan can't be compared to Megatron until these guys come into the NFL and make big statements and continue to produce. All the comparison talk is nonsense.
You needed a LT that could block one.
Would a Demarcus ware or Aldon smith or Clay Matthews have been easily blocked by the previous type of LT? No they wouldn't have.
It was a schematic issue as much as Taylor was good.
Last edited by slipknottin; 04-10-2014 at 07:52 PM.
I mentioned Matheson with Miami as an example of a pass-rushing linebacker operating out of a 3-4 scheme in the 1970s. Another example is Robert Brazile, who played as a 3-4 pass-rushing linebacker under Bum Phillips, years before LT entered the NFL.
Also, Ted Hendricks and Phil Villapiano were used to rush the passer with the Raiders when they switched to a 3-4 in 1976.
The 3-4 was around before LT, and it was a scheme that used linebackers to pressure the QB. LT just took it to another level, and forced teams to change how they played offense.
As mentioned in an earlier post, LT forced Bill Walsh to change the emphasis he placed on left tackle. Another great coach, Joe Gibbs, redesigned his offense specifically to deal with Taylor....
By November 18, 1985, when the Giants went into Robert F. Kennedy Stadium in Washington, DC, to play the Redskins, opposing teams have taken to lining up their players in new and creative ways simply to deal with him.
The Redskins are a case in point. Early in the very first game in which his Redskins had faced this new force, back in 1981, Joe Gibbs had watched Taylor sprint past the blocker as if he wasn't there and clobber Joe Theismann from behind. "I was standing there," said Gibbs, "and I said, 'What? Did you see that? Oh Lord.' " Gibbs had flopped about looking for a solution to this new problem, and had come up with the "one back offense" -- a formation, widely imitated in the NFL, that uses one running back instead of two.
Until that moment, football offenses had typically used running backs to block linebackers who came charging after quarterbacks. But running backs were smaller, weaker, and, surprisingly often, given their job description, slower than Lawrence Taylor. Lynn Cain, a running back for the Atlanta Falcons, was the first to dramatize the problem. The first time Cain went to block Taylor he went in very low, got up underneath him, and sent Taylor flying head over heels. The next play Cain tried it again -- and was carried off the field on a stretcher.
"People figured out very quickly that they couldn't block Lawrence with a running back," Parcells said. "Then the question became: who do you block him with?" Hence Joe Gibbs's first solution: to remove the running back from the game and insert, across the line from Lawrence Taylor, a bigger, stronger tight end. The one back offense.
Last edited by joemorrisforprez; 04-10-2014 at 09:53 PM.
- Emlen Tunnell
A lot of fans on these boards haven't seen LT play, other than highlight reels and DVDs of playoff games. The reason I point that out is because they wouldn't have seen football on a weekly basis before he came into the league. There was never anyone as good as him at that position. He wasn't the first, as was accurately pointed out, but he was so much better than anyone else that he had to be double teamed very frequently when he rushed the passer. A running back couldn't block him, a TE needed help, the Redskins would try to chip him even though Joe Jacoby was assigned to him, sometimes Bostic would slide out to help Jacoby. We could debate whether he changed the game, but I got to go with the opinions of guys like Gibbs and Parcells. It was unheard of for an outside LB to push around 300 lb left tackles.
Most people who haven't seen him play think he was an edge rusher, but he moved around like crazy, free lancing and by design.
LT would have been the best defensive player ever in any scheme. He was that great.
Last edited by Roswell777; 04-11-2014 at 12:29 AM.
Even when left tackle Jim Lachey would have success against LT, he would find another way to disrupt the Redskin passing attack. I bet LT would say Lachey was the best tackle he faced.
Last edited by Roswell777; 04-11-2014 at 12:07 AM.