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Before the "EDGE" position came into the vernacular

M.S. : 1/14/2022 11:51 am

Was Lawrence Taylor the first, real legitimate EDGE player in the NFL?

Or, were there others who preceded him?

Any thoughts, insights much appreciated. Thanks in advance!
LT Was So Much More Than An Edge / Pass Rusher  
Trainmaster : 1/14/2022 11:57 am : link
He was great against the run, great against the pass, great on special teams etc. Could and did rush from inside on occasion.

RE: LT Was So Much More Than An Edge / Pass Rusher  
Victor in CT : 1/14/2022 12:03 pm : link
In comment 15552869 Trainmaster said:
Quote:
He was great against the run, great against the pass, great on special teams etc. Could and did rush from inside on occasion.


damn right!!
I believe the EDGE position was originally referred to as the elephant  
Grey Pilgrim : 1/14/2022 12:03 pm : link
position.

HTH
Tangentially...  
regulator : 1/14/2022 12:04 pm : link
I don't understand why "EDGE" needs to be fully capitalized. For other positions, it's an abbreviation... WR, QB, DE, OT, SS, etc. Edge is a word. "ER" would make more sense to me. Still, "EDGE" seems to be the conventional wisdom these days and who am I to question it?

Anyway, just something that I always thought was strange.
Charles Haley  
Grey Pilgrim : 1/14/2022 12:05 pm : link
was the first iirc...
RE: I believe the EDGE position was originally referred to as the elephant  
bw in dc : 1/14/2022 12:10 pm : link
In comment 15552888 Grey Pilgrim said:
Quote:
position.

HTH


That's what the Niners called it - yes. Seifert may have coined it.
It was really an evolution. Dolphins had the “53” defense and  
Ivan15 : 1/14/2022 12:33 pm : link
Bill Arnsbarger brought that to the Giants. Jack Gregory played all along the line and may have dropped back in coverage for the Giants. There was interest in having a Rover End-LB who could move around in the front 7. LT was just the first guy who was equally adept at playing DE and OLB. I think he also could have played DT or MLB equally as well.

Think of LT rushing from the MLB spot!!!
Deacon Jones  
Producer : 1/14/2022 12:39 pm : link
was probably the first prototypical sack specialist who paved the way for the EDGE specialty.

He was a proto-EDGE player.
I thought Mike Mayock was the guy who created the EDGE position  
Rjanyg : 1/14/2022 1:12 pm : link
With more teams playing nickel defense 70% of the time to attack the 3 WR offenses, the 3-4 defense became much more like the 4-3 defense which turned more teams into a hybrid that eventually became a base 4-2-5 defense that could also be a 2-4-5 defense.

I liken this to the 5 man defensive line when there was an alignment that looked like this:

DE - DT - MG - DT -DE

MG= Middle Guard

DT= Defensive Tackle

DE= Defensive End

This evolved into the 3-4 defense which used smaller fast OLB as DE and then the DT was change to DE and MG changed to NT= Nose Tackle.

Also, I believe the MG turned into a Middle Linebacker in the early 50's with Ron George of the Chicago Bears. Ray Nitchke and Same Huff became MLB as well. Both had Linemen numbers and moved to LB from the interior d line.

The evolution of the defensive is kinda fun!
I always thought of LT  
kdog77 : 1/14/2022 1:23 pm : link
as a WIL, Banks as SAM and Carson as MIKE.

Does Strahan count as an Edge Rusher? There were a lot of pass rush specialists in the 90s like Kevin Greene or Jumpy Geathers that seemed to pre-date the term Edge Rusher. I just think of it as any defensive player that lines up over/outside the OT and rushes the QB on obvious passing downs without going unblocked (i.e. blitzing).
RE: I always thought of LT  
Grey Pilgrim : 1/14/2022 1:59 pm : link
In comment 15553067 kdog77 said:
Quote:
as a WIL, Banks as SAM and Carson as MIKE.

Does Strahan count as an Edge Rusher? There were a lot of pass rush specialists in the 90s like Kevin Greene or Jumpy Geathers that seemed to pre-date the term Edge Rusher. I just think of it as any defensive player that lines up over/outside the OT and rushes the QB on obvious passing downs without going unblocked (i.e. blitzing).


Strahan was a quintessential DE.

Alot of people compare him to Reggie White. High praise indeed.
I say a resounding NO  
Matt M. : 1/14/2022 2:23 pm : link
To me, EDGE is a lazy term and makes for lazy D. It is more referenced for pass rush above all else. While we first think sacks with LT, he was about as complete an OLB as you can imagine. He set the edge, he played the backside with ferocity, he had the instincts to react run/pass and react accordingly. While most remember the sacks and ferocious pass rush, if you go back and watch games from the mid 80s, Lt still spent plenty of time in coverage and also played the run both to his side and away extremely well. He was not the one dimensional pass rush that most equate with EDGE.

I have seen too many focused on pass rush. We need as complete an OLB as we can get, because there is nobody on our roster who sets the edge or is particularly strong against the run or in coverage. We need true impact players on D.
To add, EDGE is the term now  
Matt M. : 1/14/2022 2:24 pm : link
But, i my estimation, that is the same as what used to be referred to simply as a pass rush specialist. NOT what we need. We have no impactful players on our front 7, and that includes a healthy Martinez.
3-4 wasn’t as common then  
jeff57 : 1/14/2022 2:25 pm : link
So yes he was the first “edge” rusher. But certainly not the first great pass rusher. Deacon Jones might have been that.
RE: 3-4 wasn’t as common then  
Matt M. : 1/14/2022 2:33 pm : link
In comment 15553165 jeff57 said:
Quote:
So yes he was the first “edge” rusher. But certainly not the first great pass rusher. Deacon Jones might have been that.
LT wasn't a pass rusher. He was a LB. A true, complete OLB.
Robert Brazile was the first EDGE type of LB  
Osi Osi Osi OyOyOy : 1/14/2022 2:44 pm : link
LT's talent combined with Parcells and Belichick's intelligence just took it all to a completely different level.
RE: I always thought of LT  
LakeGeorgeGiant : 1/14/2022 2:48 pm : link
In comment 15553067 kdog77 said:
Quote:
as a WIL, Banks as SAM and Carson as MIKE.

Does Strahan count as an Edge Rusher? There were a lot of pass rush specialists in the 90s like Kevin Greene or Jumpy Geathers that seemed to pre-date the term Edge Rusher. I just think of it as any defensive player that lines up over/outside the OT and rushes the QB on obvious passing downs without going unblocked (i.e. blitzing).


I think Jumpy played DT. He was a pass rushing specialist from the inside, not an edge player.
RE: RE: I always thought of LT  
Matt M. : 1/14/2022 2:50 pm : link
In comment 15553203 LakeGeorgeGiant said:
Quote:
In comment 15553067 kdog77 said:


Quote:


as a WIL, Banks as SAM and Carson as MIKE.

Does Strahan count as an Edge Rusher? There were a lot of pass rush specialists in the 90s like Kevin Greene or Jumpy Geathers that seemed to pre-date the term Edge Rusher. I just think of it as any defensive player that lines up over/outside the OT and rushes the QB on obvious passing downs without going unblocked (i.e. blitzing).



I think Jumpy played DT. He was a pass rushing specialist from the inside, not an edge player.
Strahan. As LT was about as complete a LB as you could imagine, Strahan, for most of his career, was about as complete a DE or DL as you could have. He had multiple pass rush techniques, he set the edge as a DE, he played the run extremely well, he could stunt, drop in a zone blitz, pursue the backside, etc. He was a DE, not a pass rusher.

You want a Giants example? Osi was a pass rush specialist.
3-4 defenses...Big Fast STANDING Defenders  
Rafflee : 1/14/2022 2:59 pm : link
Lawrence didn't change the Game...BB and Parcells Did.... They ALLOWED a Large Fast Man to stand up and use all of his skills. The confusion and mahem caused by the spread of those defenses pushed very significant talent flows to "OLB".
RE: 3-4 defenses...Big Fast STANDING Defenders  
Matt M. : 1/14/2022 3:42 pm : link
In comment 15553225 Rafflee said:
Quote:
Lawrence didn't change the Game...BB and Parcells Did.... They ALLOWED a Large Fast Man to stand up and use all of his skills. The confusion and mahem caused by the spread of those defenses pushed very significant talent flows to "OLB".
LT didn't change the game? You may want to both go back and re-watch Giants games and then listen to interviews with BB and Parcells. While LT was known for napping in the film room, not having the strongest work ethic in terms of the weight room and individual work, he should not be confused for stupid or lazy. He knew the playbook and knew what he was supposed to do. He also had outstanding instincts and could diagnose the action quicker than anyone on that side of the ball. Then his physical dominance allowed to use those skills to completely dominate. There are so many times, he went off scheme or off play based on what he saw and blew things up. He is the best defensive player and perhaps the best player period in NFL history. You ask Gibbs, Walsh, etc. if LT changed the game.
RE: RE: 3-4 defenses...Big Fast STANDING Defenders  
Rafflee : 1/14/2022 3:57 pm : link
In comment 15553283 Matt M. said:
Quote:
In comment 15553225 Rafflee said:


Quote:


Lawrence didn't change the Game...BB and Parcells Did.... They ALLOWED a Large Fast Man to stand up and use all of his skills. The confusion and mahem caused by the spread of those defenses pushed very significant talent flows to "OLB".

LT didn't change the game? You may want to both go back and re-watch Giants games and then listen to interviews with BB and Parcells. While LT was known for napping in the film room, not having the strongest work ethic in terms of the weight room and individual work, he should not be confused for stupid or lazy. He knew the playbook and knew what he was supposed to do. He also had outstanding instincts and could diagnose the action quicker than anyone on that side of the ball. Then his physical dominance allowed to use those skills to completely dominate. There are so many times, he went off scheme or off play based on what he saw and blew things up. He is the best defensive player and perhaps the best player period in NFL history. You ask Gibbs, Walsh, etc. if LT changed the game.


My point is that Parcells and BB allowed him to play to his full abilities.... I liken it to Basketball--somebody needed to decide that bigger players would be allowed to shoot jumpers/3 pointers... Dirk was the best example, but he needed to be allowed to do it.
RE: RE: RE: 3-4 defenses...Big Fast STANDING Defenders  
Grey Pilgrim : 1/14/2022 4:04 pm : link
In comment 15553310 Rafflee said:
Quote:
In comment 15553283 Matt M. said:


Quote:


In comment 15553225 Rafflee said:


Quote:


Lawrence didn't change the Game...BB and Parcells Did.... They ALLOWED a Large Fast Man to stand up and use all of his skills. The confusion and mahem caused by the spread of those defenses pushed very significant talent flows to "OLB".

LT didn't change the game? You may want to both go back and re-watch Giants games and then listen to interviews with BB and Parcells. While LT was known for napping in the film room, not having the strongest work ethic in terms of the weight room and individual work, he should not be confused for stupid or lazy. He knew the playbook and knew what he was supposed to do. He also had outstanding instincts and could diagnose the action quicker than anyone on that side of the ball. Then his physical dominance allowed to use those skills to completely dominate. There are so many times, he went off scheme or off play based on what he saw and blew things up. He is the best defensive player and perhaps the best player period in NFL history. You ask Gibbs, Walsh, etc. if LT changed the game.



My point is that Parcells and BB allowed him to play to his full abilities.... I liken it to Basketball--somebody needed to decide that bigger players would be allowed to shoot jumpers/3 pointers... Dirk was the best example, but he needed to be allowed to do it.


IIRC LT lasted exactly one day as a backup in practice. His talent was obvious.
RE: RE: RE: 3-4 defenses...Big Fast STANDING Defenders  
Matt M. : 1/14/2022 4:16 pm : link
In comment 15553310 Rafflee said:
Quote:
In comment 15553283 Matt M. said:


Quote:


In comment 15553225 Rafflee said:


Quote:


Lawrence didn't change the Game...BB and Parcells Did.... They ALLOWED a Large Fast Man to stand up and use all of his skills. The confusion and mahem caused by the spread of those defenses pushed very significant talent flows to "OLB".

LT didn't change the game? You may want to both go back and re-watch Giants games and then listen to interviews with BB and Parcells. While LT was known for napping in the film room, not having the strongest work ethic in terms of the weight room and individual work, he should not be confused for stupid or lazy. He knew the playbook and knew what he was supposed to do. He also had outstanding instincts and could diagnose the action quicker than anyone on that side of the ball. Then his physical dominance allowed to use those skills to completely dominate. There are so many times, he went off scheme or off play based on what he saw and blew things up. He is the best defensive player and perhaps the best player period in NFL history. You ask Gibbs, Walsh, etc. if LT changed the game.



My point is that Parcells and BB allowed him to play to his full abilities.... I liken it to Basketball--somebody needed to decide that bigger players would be allowed to shoot jumpers/3 pointers... Dirk was the best example, but he needed to be allowed to do it.
He wasn't all that big. That was the size of LBs then. He was about 243 lbs. It's not like he was 265 and playing LB.
I remember LT's very first practice in training camp  
River Mike : 1/14/2022 4:24 pm : link
When it was over, Carson said "I'm playing next to Superman!"
This thread got me watching the LT run defense video again  
tpgiantsfan : 1/14/2022 4:43 pm : link
As crappy as the current streak has been for the Giants growing up watching LT and seeing 4 Superbowl wins in my lifetime makes it sting a little less.
LT Run Defense - ( New Window )
RE: 3-4 defenses...Big Fast STANDING Defenders  
Optimus-NY : 1/14/2022 5:42 pm : link
In comment 15553225 Rafflee said:
Quote:
Lawrence didn't change the Game...BB and Parcells Did.... They ALLOWED a Large Fast Man to stand up and use all of his skills. The confusion and mahem caused by the spread of those defenses pushed very significant talent flows to "OLB".


You don't know what you're talking about.
Funny story  
TroyArchersGhost : 1/14/2022 5:53 pm : link
So this is a totally unrelated story, but since Taylor and Strahan are being mentioned a lot in this thread, I'll repeat a story I heard Strahan tell on TV once:

It's pre-season of Strahan's rookie year, the only year he and Taylor played together, and Strahan goes into the game with the defensive call: the BEAR defense. And they're in the huddle, and Strahan calls out "BEAR! BEAR!," but in his Texas drawl, "BEAR" comes out like "BURR." And the guys in the huddle are all looking at each other, clueless to what the call is. Finally, Taylor turns to Strahan with a look of total confusion on his face and says, "What the fuck is BURR?"
I'm absolutely blown away that anyone at all, but especially a Giants  
Matt M. : 1/14/2022 5:55 pm : link
fan can downplay the impact of LT.
My memory of it is that...  
Milton : 1/14/2022 6:01 pm : link
The Edge Rusher description came about as a way to lump 4-3 Defensive Ends and 3-4 pass-rushing Outside Linebackers together when categorizing them for draft evaluations. This distinguished 3-4 OLBs from 4-3 OLBs (who would "blitz" on occasion but were mainly for stopping the run and covering running backs and tight ends).

Lawrence Taylor might've been the first outside linebacker who only rarely dropped into coverage, thus starting a trend that would ultimately lead to a need for a term like Edge Rusher to distinguish this kind of outside linebackers from his fellow linebackers and instead lump him with the defensive ends. Charles Haley was the first to be called an Elephant (this from when he was with the Niners, before the Cowboys). I don't think LT was ever called an Elephant.

In any case, this is how I remember it, but my memory isn't perfect.
RE: My memory of it is that...  
larryflower37 : 1/14/2022 6:42 pm : link
In comment 15553424 Milton said:
Quote:
The Edge Rusher description came about as a way to lump 4-3 Defensive Ends and 3-4 pass-rushing Outside Linebackers together when categorizing them for draft evaluations. This distinguished 3-4 OLBs from 4-3 OLBs (who would "blitz" on occasion but were mainly for stopping the run and covering running backs and tight ends).

Lawrence Taylor might've been the first outside linebacker who only rarely dropped into coverage, thus starting a trend that would ultimately lead to a need for a term like Edge Rusher to distinguish this kind of outside linebackers from his fellow linebackers and instead lump him with the defensive ends. Charles Haley was the first to be called an Elephant (this from when he was with the Niners, before the Cowboys). I don't think LT was ever called an Elephant.

In any case, this is how I remember it, but my memory isn't perfect.

Milton early in his career he was a very good cover LB Parcells used him as a prototypical Linebacker. wasn't until 85' 86' when he rushed most of the time.
Best defensive player ever  
Csonka : 1/14/2022 6:43 pm : link
Best LB ever but I'm not sure why he was considered a LB.
He almost always played as a standup DE. He was almost always up on the line. He rushed, whether it was a pass rush or ended up a run rush, almost all the time too.
Amazing motor.
RE: Best defensive player ever  
Matt M. : 1/14/2022 6:53 pm : link
In comment 15553458 Csonka said:
Quote:
Best LB ever but I'm not sure why he was considered a LB.
He almost always played as a standup DE. He was almost always up on the line. He rushed, whether it was a pass rush or ended up a run rush, almost all the time too.
Amazing motor.
That's the perception. But, if you go back and watch games form the mid-80s, he spent a lot more time than you would think in coverage. He also wasn't like today's EDGE players, who crash down and are solely rushing the passer. He read the play. He dominated in the running game. You couldn't run at him or away from him. He was very much a LB.
RE: RE: My memory of it is that...  
Matt M. : 1/14/2022 6:55 pm : link
In comment 15553456 larryflower37 said:
Quote:
In comment 15553424 Milton said:


Quote:


The Edge Rusher description came about as a way to lump 4-3 Defensive Ends and 3-4 pass-rushing Outside Linebackers together when categorizing them for draft evaluations. This distinguished 3-4 OLBs from 4-3 OLBs (who would "blitz" on occasion but were mainly for stopping the run and covering running backs and tight ends).

Lawrence Taylor might've been the first outside linebacker who only rarely dropped into coverage, thus starting a trend that would ultimately lead to a need for a term like Edge Rusher to distinguish this kind of outside linebackers from his fellow linebackers and instead lump him with the defensive ends. Charles Haley was the first to be called an Elephant (this from when he was with the Niners, before the Cowboys). I don't think LT was ever called an Elephant.

In any case, this is how I remember it, but my memory isn't perfect.


Milton early in his career he was a very good cover LB Parcells used him as a prototypical Linebacker. wasn't until 85' 86' when he rushed most of the time.
Earlier during the pandemic, there were some entire games from the mid 80s linked here. I was surprised watching how often he was in coverage, even at the height of his game. He was even put on an island on the outside covering WRs one on one.
This thread is making me sick.  
Matt M. : 1/14/2022 6:59 pm : link
Comparing LT to today's one dimensional EDGE players. Disgusting.
Meanwhile I can’t stand how edge is all-capped  
sb from NYT Forum : 1/14/2022 7:25 pm : link
It’s not a freakin acronym. It just seems douchey.
Its just a new way of saying DE or 3-4 OLB  
Snablats : 1/14/2022 8:26 pm : link
Players now called Edge used to be Defensive Ends and 3-4 Outside Linebackers

There is no mystery to it, just the typical "let's change this name even though we dont have to" crap. Education does it all the time: English became Language Arts, went back to English, and is now ELA (combining English with Language Arts).

Some people feel they have to reinvent the wheel
RE: This thread is making me sick.  
Osi Osi Osi OyOyOy : 1/14/2022 8:44 pm : link
In comment 15553474 Matt M. said:
Quote:
Comparing LT to today's one dimensional EDGE players. Disgusting.


I love your thoughts on this. I think LT gets underrated as an all-around LBer by those who think he rushed the passer non-stop. When asked to be an ILB, he played at an All Pro level.

From what I’ve seen/read, he was much more Parsons in terms of pass rush/dropback split than he was to the modern Von Miller/Khalil Mack/Ware/TJ Watt pure pass rusher types. Not to say I think Parsons (who was brilliant this year) is like LT, since his game is almost all based on insane quickness/speed but is not even close to LT in terms of the power aspect which can be seen in Run D.
RE: Meanwhile I can’t stand how edge is all-capped  
FStubbs : 1/14/2022 9:10 pm : link
In comment 15553489 sb from NYT Forum said:
Quote:
It’s not a freakin acronym. It just seems douchey.


It was invented by Mayock. Before then these guys were known as designated pass rushers or elephants, but were always listed as OLBs in 3-4s and DEs in 4-3s.

Guys like Chris Doleman, Charles Haley, and Greg Townsend were EDGEs.
RE: RE: Meanwhile I can’t stand how edge is all-capped  
Rjanyg : 1/14/2022 9:46 pm : link
In comment 15553585 FStubbs said:
Quote:
In comment 15553489 sb from NYT Forum said:


Quote:


It’s not a freakin acronym. It just seems douchey.



It was invented by Mayock. Before then these guys were known as designated pass rushers or elephants, but were always listed as OLBs in 3-4s and DEs in 4-3s.

Guys like Chris Doleman, Charles Haley, and Greg Townsend were EDGEs.
RE: RE: Meanwhile I can’t stand how edge is all-capped  
Rjanyg : 1/14/2022 9:47 pm : link
In comment 15553585 FStubbs said:
Quote:
In comment 15553489 sb from NYT Forum said:


Quote:


It’s not a freakin acronym. It just seems douchey.



It was invented by Mayock. Before then these guys were known as designated pass rushers or elephants, but were always listed as OLBs in 3-4s and DEs in 4-3s.

Guys like Chris Doleman, Charles Haley, and Greg Townsend were EDGEs.


Exactly what I said, Mike Mayock coined the “ EDGE position group when talking about DE and OLB.
RE: It was really an evolution. Dolphins had the “53” defense and  
81_Great_Dane : 1/15/2022 1:02 am : link
In comment 15552959 Ivan15 said:
Quote:
Bill Arnsbarger brought that to the Giants. Jack Gregory played all along the line and may have dropped back in coverage for the Giants. There was interest in having a Rover End-LB who could move around in the front 7. LT was just the first guy who was equally adept at playing DE and OLB. I think he also could have played DT or MLB equally as well.

Think of LT rushing from the MLB spot!!!
LT moved inside one season while Harry Carson was out. Said afterward how hard it was and that he preferred OLB. But he was good at ILB.
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