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Old 02-14-2010, 07:35 AM   #25
Brad O.
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 792
Brad O. will become famous soon enough

Good points as usual, bachslunch.
Originally Posted by bachslunch View Post
Jackson also went to 6 pro bowls to Grimm's 4.
Normally I would agree that this helps balance things out. My issue is that Jackson was never a first-team all-pro. That means he was never seen as the best OLB in the league. I have really mixed feelings about inducting someone who was never the best at his position.

Originally Posted by bachslunch
--all-decade teams are indeed useful, but there are some oddities here, and most definitely some serious head-scratchers at LB.
Absolutely agreed, and I put minimal faith in them. The issue for me, again, is that Jackson didn't get a vote. You mentioned John Anderson and Carl Banks; they're on the 2nd team because they got one vote each. Jackson clearly wasn't regarded as the best of his own era, and in cases like this I'm always suspicious about committee politics. How does someone like Jackson, a fine player but not really a standout among HOF candidates, a first-time Finalist who's been eligible for years, suddenly make so much progress in the voting?

Originally Posted by bachslunch
--if one values longevity, number of productive years, and ability to produce well on both good and bad teams, Jackson has a definite edge over Grimm.
Jackson definitely has the edge in longevity. Worth noting also that Grimm played in about a season's worth of postseason games.

It seems unfair to give Jackson extra credit for producing on both good and bad teams, since Grimm never got an opportunity to produce on bad teams. Another way of looking at this would be that Washington was 130-57 with Grimm (incl. 15-4 in the postseason), but 16-16 in the two years before he arrived and 13-19 in the two years after he left. Maybe he made bad teams good, or average teams great.

Is a player who helps his team to championship appearances, like Grimm or Bennett, less valuable than one who makes a bad team respectable, like Jackson? That doesn't make sense to me. Did Grimm just happen to arrive when the team got good and leave when it got bad, or did he help make the team great? Did the Bills just happen to drop off when Bennett did, or was he suddenly unable to produce because the team was no longer great? Might his drop-off be as simple as age? He turned 30 around the time the Bills stopped going to Super Bowls.

I understand adjusting for context, but I think you're deflecting too much credit from the individual here. The cause-effect relationship is not established, and I think the players deserve the benefit of the doubt. Raleigh McKenzie wasn't a Pro Bowler. Darryl Talley wasn't a two-time AFC DPOY.

Originally Posted by bachslunch
Personally, I'd prefer to see a safety or two get in from this decade first, for starters.
I would definitely trade Jacoby for Kenny Easley.

Originally Posted by bachslunch
I don't see that it's therefore better to not vote in Jackson or Greene unless Brazile, Howley, and Hanburger make it. That just makes the problem worse. No point creating another wrong to add to one already there, to my way of thinking.
Agreed, I wasn't proposing that we should vote against everyone until Player X finally gets his due. Players who deserve to go in should go in. My point ... well, next paragraph...

Originally Posted by bachslunch
All but Bennett (1/5/90s) are Senior-eligible only -- same problem as above. Bennett vs. Jackson? My impression, maybe right and maybe not, is that Jackson had a longer if lower peak than Bennett, while Bennett had a shorter but higher peak than Jackson. Both had long careers, though my impression is that Jackson was better over a longer period of time. Jackson also played well on good and bad teams, while Bennett's best play coincides with the Bills Super Bowl appearance run and seems to drop off after that. Bennett of course is none too shabby a LB, maybe HoF worthy depending on how many LBs one wants.

Swilling wouldn't be the worst choice either (2/5/none), though his career is shorter than Jackson's (and Bennett's). Plus one can argue that Jackson excelled on worse Saints teams with minimal help as well as during times when the Saints were good. Swilling's best years on the Saints coincide fully with the period when there was more LB talent in Sam Mills and Vaughan Johnson as well as Jackson -- in short, he had more help.
This is my point. You can argue for Jackson over Bennett and Swilling, but you can also argue for them over Jackson. As I already said, I don't really have a problem with Jackson being in. That said, I don't think he was a particularly strong candidate, and his getting in while Tim Brown, Cris Carter, Dermontti Dawson, Don Coryell, and innumerable deserving non-Finalists were left out is a bit disappointing. As you pointed out, there's a lot of competition, and some of these guys are getting left by the wayside because the voters don't know their heads from their, uh, feet.

To me, Jackson is a guy who could easily be left out, and the Hall wouldn't miss him. I suppose I feel about him the way I do about Floyd Little. Eh, they're in, they were good players and I'm happy for them. But Little was a hugely disappointing Senior candidate, and Jackson was about the 5th-best OLB without a bust in Canton, if that.

Little, we've agreed, doesn't really stand out from the best RBs not in the Hall. I think the same is true of Jackson. This is not someone who was obviously deserving of induction. If he deserves to be in, there are about a dozen other OLBs who probably should also: Baughan, Bennett, Matt Blair, Brazile, Bill Forester, Fortunato, Greene, Hanburger, Howley, Tom Jackson, Greg Lloyd, Clay Matthews, Robertson, Dave Robinson, Russell, Mike Stratton, Swilling, George Webster...

Is Jackson near the top of that group? Probably. But he's part of that group. He's not obviously better than most of those guys, and IMO he's clearly behind a few of them.

Originally Posted by bachslunch
One thing I do like about Jackson, and Tippett for that matter, is their reputations for all-around LB play. My understanding is that both were great in pass rush, very good against the run, and decent in pass coverage. That seems to be greatly valued by HoF voters, too.
I'm not sure where you got this impression. Tippett was totally one-dimensional, and Jackson only a little better. They were superlative pass rushers with very few coverage responsibilities. I'm not aware that they had a particular reputation one way or the other on run defense; not liabilities, but not "very good", either. If you have a source, I'd be interested to see it.

Originally Posted by bachslunch
My point here is that the field is going to get clogged in a hurry over the next three years.
Definitely true. I think we're already there, actually. This year they nominated more than 25 candidates I thought were deserving.

Originally Posted by bachslunch
I'd like to see Greene in as well and support his candidacy. Haley's 2/5/none postseason profile actually isn't far off that of Greene's 2/5/90s, Tippett's 2/5/80s, and Jackson's 0/6/none. I'm not fully sold on Haley, but am thinking it's not so easy to say he doesn't belong and the rest do.
Yes, but this is why you don't go exclusively off the postseason profiles. Greene had a number of good seasons in which he wasn't chosen, whereas Haley was honored basically every time he had a good year. Both of them were primarily pass rush specialists, but Greene retired with 160 sacks, Haley with 100.5. Greene had 10 seasons of double-digit sacks, Haley 6. Greene played 15 seasons, Haley was only a full-time player for 8. Greene was all-90s and NFC DPOY in '96, Haley not. I see a great deal of difference between them.

I don't know how closely you followed football in the 80s, but Andre Tippett was a big deal. In an era of phenomenal pass rushers, maybe the golden age of pass rushers, he was really regarded as someone special. He was a victim in some ways of bad luck (Easley in 84, the Bears in 85, LT in general), but he's clearly in Canton for what he was at his best.

Compared to Haley, Jackson had far more sacks (+36), forced fumbles (+14), and fumble recoveries (+21). He also had more interceptions (+6) and is unofficially credited with more than twice as many tackles (1173-485). Can you think of anything Haley did better than Jackson? Again, I don't see this as particularly close. Haley had six good seasons, one of them very good, and played on a bunch of good teams. Other than the rings, nothing about him stands out to me.

I'm actually working on a column right now that I suspect will interest you. It's almost done, but it probably won't appear on the main site until next week.

Last edited by Brad O.; 02-14-2010 at 11:13 PM. Reason: added Jackson's unofficial rookie year to sack total (+8.5)
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