LAST week a friend of mine said that part of the Eagles problem on Defense is that we don’t have any tough guys on it. I shared that with you all and some of you went nuts over that statement. Some of you pointed out Eagles that you yourselves identify as tough guys.
I went down to the bar specifically to talk to Rhodie about some of the names some of you mentioned. He laughed so hard that I almost started to take it personal. I haven’t seen him laugh that hard since a couple guys in Kensington caught the guy who raped an 11 year old girl, and beat him to Death’s door with 2×4’s. (Thankfully they weren’t charged.)
“Cary Williams is a tough guy? Why, because he fought Riley Cooper while surrounded by Black guys? Those guys know where each other parks his car. If Williams had a real issue with Cooper, he coulda waited by his car to settle it without a million people there to break it up. Williams wanted an audience and insurance.
[Mychal] Kendrick and [DeMeco] Ryans? I like them guys they play good. But tough guys? At linebacker a tough guy is guys like Singletary, Butkus and [Chuck] Bednarik. [Seth] Joyner was a tough guy. Lambert was a tough guy. You know who else was nails? Jack Youngblood. He played one playoffs on a broke leg. Not bruised, broke. He was an End not a linebacker. But he didn’t play End like an End, he played End like the linebackers play linebacker today. Linebackers used to scrape. Nobody even knows what scrape is today. Everything is blitz or cover.”
It’s not an accident that Ray Lewis and Brian Urlacher aren’t mentioned on his list. He talked about them, but I decided to edit out that part. Suffice it to say he respected them as athletes, but he wouldn’t list them as intimidators. As far as Jeremiah Trotter, his tickling Tiki Barber after tackles, ruined his tough guy cred with Rhodie. “Tough guys don’t tickle.”
Which is sort of why I wrote this. While I won’t question anybody’s heart when they play, you have to admit, it has been a while since anyone was scared of any of our defenders. Seth Joyner is on my friends list, and even though his picture is smiling I swear you can still see the derisive, withering sneer that we all thought of as his only facial expression. The man had exactly 2 modes when he played: Hitting you and chasing you. For my money he’s the most intimidating LB we’ve had in a quarter century, and in that department he’s the standard I judge by. Since then we’ve had no one even come close.
When I asked about tough guy D-linemen, he told me to give him a minute. Then he made the bartender laugh by ordering me a “Virgin Special” (it’s an inside joke), while on his way to the can. When he got back he gave me his answer: Darwin Walker.
That made me feel good because I’m a Darwin Walker guy as well. To me Walker was versatile, strong and workmanlike. But I wouldn’t call him an intimidator. Then Rhodie (yet again) turned on spotlight.
“If you can find the tape or old games you’ll see. Reid moved that kid around. Played him at both Ends and Tackle. What you’ll see if you look is that wherever he lined up, teams didn’t run there. Intimidating a player is one thing. But intimidating a whole coaching staff is entirely different.”
Of course I had to ask if he thought of Trent Cole as an intimidator .
“If it’s Halloween and I’m dressed as fuckin’ Bambi, and he comes in with bow and arrow, ask me then. Shit, if he gets here late and I’m already pickled, we might all just stuff that bastard in ******’s cleavage and forget about him.”
At which point the place erupted in laughter.