Sunday, October 26, 2008

The ALMOST All Time Philadelphia Eagles = Defense

Defensive Tackle : Charlie Johnson

Charlie was drafted by the Eagles in the 7th round of the 1977 draft. He was the 175th player picked overall. Charlie worked his way into the starting lineup fairly quickly in his rookie season, starting nine of the twelve games he played. Charlie would start in every game he played for the Eagles after that. By 1979, Charlie was honored with his first All Pro team. Johnson was a key member of an excellent Eagles defense that helped lead the franchise to Super Bowl XV in 1980. Charlie intercepted 3 passes that season. He was named to the All Pro team once again that season as well. 1981 was Charlie's last season to earn a Pro Bowl nod, and he intercepted another pass. After that season, he ended up with the Minnesota Vikings, where he recorded the last interception of his career during his first season as a Viking. Charlie recorded 4 sacks in 1984, then retired after the season. Sacks were not recorded until 1982, but Johnson was known for being a good pass rusher. Often he and Claude Humphrey would harass the opposing teams QB all game. Charlie was also important to the Eagles run defense as a Nose Tackle. He occupied several blockers, which helped Eagles linebackers like Bergey, LeMaster, Bunting, and Robinson. Charlie Johnson is one of the very best defensive linemen to have ever been an Eagle.

Defensive Tackle : Floyd Peters

Floyd was drafted by the Baltimore Colts in the 8th round of the 1958 draft. He was the 93rd player chosen overall. Floyd's rookie year took place in 1959 as a member of the Cleveland Browns. He stayed 3 years there, and intercepted a pass. Peters joined the Detroit Lions for one season in 1963, then joined the Eagles the next year. He immediately blossomed into one of the better Defensive Tackles in the NFL with Philadelphia. He earned his first All Pro team nod in that first year with the Eagles in 1964. Floyd missed 5 games because of injury the next season, but rebounded in 1966 with another fine season that saw him earn another Pro Bowl honor. Peter's earned his last Pro Bowl invitation the following year in 1967, and he also intercepted a pass. Floyd picked off the last pass of his career in 1968, then would join the Washington Redskins in 1970. He retired after that season. Floyd would go on to be a noted Defensive Coordinator for the Minnesota Vikings and Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 1990's. The Eagles have had quite a few excellent Defensive Tackles during their history, and Floyd Peters is one of the very best that they ever had.

Defensive End : Clyde Simmons

Clyde was drafted by the Eagles in the 9th round of the 1986 draft. He was the 233rd player picked overall. Clyde's rookie year saw him slowly work his way into the Eagles rotation on the defensive line, and he accrued 2 sacks. He starter 12 games the next season, and had 6 sacks. Simmons then had 8 more sacks the following year. He also recorded the only safety of his career, and scored a touchdown off of a lateral. Clyde exploded in 1989, when he had 15.5 sacks. He also intercepted a pass and took it 60 yards for a touchdown. Clyde scored another touchdown, via a fumble recovery, in 1990. He also had 7.5 sacks. 1991 saw Simmons earn his first All Pro honors. He had 13 sacks and scored a touchdown off of a fumble recovery. Clyde's best season in the NFL may have taken place in 1992. He led the NFL with 19 sacks, and earned his last All Pro bid. Clyde picked off a pass and had 5 sacks the following season, then joined the Arizona Cardinals in 1994. He had 6 sacks that , year, then 11 the next. He also picked off the last regular season pass of his career, and scored his last touchdown. He also recovered a career high 6 fumbles. Clyde joined the Jacksonville Jaguars in 1996. He had 7.5 sacks that year, and would intercept a pass and score in the playoffs. Simmons then had 8.5 sacks the following year. He joined the Cincinnati Bengals in 1998, and had 5 sacks. He then joined the Chicago Bears. Used primarily as a pass rush specialist, he had 7 sacks in 1999. Clyde only got a half of a sack, a career low, in 2000. He retired after that year with 121.5 career sacks, 25 fumbles recovered, 5 touchdowns, and a safety. 76 of those sacks came in 8 years as an Eagle as an integral member of the famous Gang Green defense. Clyde Simmons is certainly one of the better Defensive Ends to have ever played for Philadelphia.

Defensive End : Norm Willey

Norm was drafted by the Eagles in the 13th round of the 1950 draft. He was the 170th player picked overall. He was nicknamed "Wildman" by his team mates for his reckless abandon on the field. He intercepted a pass, in his rookie year, and took it 41 yards for a touchdown. He also had a career high 4 fumbles recovered that year. Norm picked off the last pass of his career in 1952. In 1954, Norm scored the last touchdown of his career off of a fumble recovery. He also caught 2 passes for 50 yards. He was named to his first All Pro team that year. Willey would then make his final All Pro team in 1955. He returned 2 kickoffs for 32 yards in 1956, then retired after the 1957 season. Willey is one of the best pass rushers in the history of the Eagles. Sacks were not an officially recognized statistic in his era, but he once had 17 sacks in just one game alone. Carl Hairston, Greg Brown, Dennis Harrison, William Fuller and Hugh Douglass deserve mention. Norm "Wildman" Willy should be in the Eagles Ring of Honor.

Linebacker : Bill Bergey

William Earl Bergey was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in the second round of the 1969 AFL draft out of Arkansas State and was an AFL All-Star in his first year. Bergey started for the Bengals for 5 years. In 1974 Bergey was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for two first-round and one second-round draft picks. With the Eagles, Bergey went to four straight Pro Bowls, and became the highest-paid defensive player in the league. He earned Eagles MVP status three times. Bergey recorded 233 tackles in a single season with the Eagles. After the Eagles lost to Oakland in Super Bowl XV, Bergey retired with a then NFL record for most interceptions by a linebacker in a career. Bergey is a member of the Bengals 40th Anniversary Roster, the Eagles Honor Roll, and the city of Buffalo's Hall of Fame. Though Bill Bergey was excellent in Cincinnati, it was with Philadelphia he enjoyed his best years in the NFL. In his 5 years with the Bengals, Bergey had 9 interceptions and 6 fumble recoveries. He accumulated 18 interceptions and 15 fumble recoveries in 7 seasons as an Eagle. He was a tackling machine that allowed fellow Eagle LB'S John Bunting, Frank LeMaster and Jerry Robinson to excel. When you talk of the rich history of the Eagles, names like Van Buren, Bednarik, McDonald, White, Montgomery, Carmichael, and Bill Bergey roll off the tongues of most die hard Philly fans. He may not get into Canton, but he is a Hall of Fame player in my book.

Linebacker : Jeremiah Trotter

Trotter was drafted in the 3rd round of the 1998 draft by the Eagles. He was the 72nd player picked overall. He mostly played special teams in his rookie year, but earned the starting job in 1999. Trotter piled up 91 solo tackles, 2.5 sacks, and had 2 interceptions. 2000 was his first All Pro season, as he had 100 solo tackles, 3 sacks, and took an interception 27 yards for a touchdown. Jeremiah made the All Pro team the next year, as he scored another touchdown off of an interception. He then joined the Washington Redskins in 2001. In his 2 injury plagued seasons with the Redskins, he had 2 INT's, 150 solo tackles, and 1.5 sacks. He rejoined the Eagles in 2004, and made the Pro Bowl despite only having 59 solo tackles. 2005 was his last All Pro year, as Trotter had a career best 102 solo tackles. He had 88 solo tackles the following season, and had the last interception of his career. Trotter joined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2007, but only played 3 games. He retired after that year. Trotter was known for his fierce leadership, and his ability to run downhill and explode on opponents. His 5 All Pro bids ranks 4th in Eagles history for a linebacker behind Hall of Famer Chuck Bednarik, Bill Bergey, and Maxie Baughan. Maxie Baughan is a future CCC profilee, so I still hope he gets his deserved induction.

Linebacker : Seth Joyner

Seth was drafted in the 8th round of the 1986 draft by the Eagles, the 208th player chosen overall. Seth worked his way into the lineup his rookie year, starting 7 of the 14 games he played. He intercepted a pass, and recorded 2 sacks. He started in all of the 12 games he played the following season, intercepting 2 passes and having 4 sacks. He also scored a touchdown off of a fumble recovery. 1988 saw Seth record a career best 136 tackles. He also had 4 interceptions for 96 yards and 3.5 sacks. Seth recorded 12.5 sacks and 2 interceptions over the next two years. 1991 was one of the better years of his career, as he earned his first All Pro birth. He was also named the Sports Illustrated Defensive Player of the Year. He scored 2 touchdowns off of fumble recoveries, had 6.5 sacks and 3 interceptions. He matched that sack total the next year, to go with 4 interceptions for 88 yards and the last 2 touchdowns of his career. Seth made the Pro Bowl team in 1993, then joined the Arizona Cardinals the next year. He made his final All Pro team in 1994, as he had 6 sacks and 3 interceptions. Seth ended up playing OLB and Strong Safety in 1995 because of injuries to the Cardinals secondary. He picked off 3 balls. He had 6 sacks and the last interception of his career the next year. He joined the Green Bay Packers in 1997, and started in 10 of the 11 games he played. The Packers reached Super Bowl XXXII, but lost to the Denver Broncos. Joyner then Joined the Broncos in 1998. He played mostly on pass coverage, as the Broncos repeated as champions by winning Super Bowl XXXIII. He then retired. Seth Joyner is one of only nine members in the 20/20 Club for interceptions and sacks in NFL history, and he is one of the better Outside Linebackers in Eagles history.

Safety : Bill Bradley

Bill was drafted in the 3rd round by the Eagles in 1969, the 69th played picked overall. The Eagles made use of Bill's versatility right away. He intercepted a pass and took it 56 yards for the only touchdown of his career. He also had a career best 74 punts for a 39.8 average. He also had 28 punt returns and 21 kickoff returns for 653 total yards. In 1971, Bradley led the NFL with 11 and 248 interception return yards. He also punted the ball 61 times, and had 18 punt returns. He was named to his first All Pro team. Bradley once again led the NFL with 9 interceptions in 1972, and was named to the All Pro team. He only punted twice that year, and had 2 kickoff returns, as well as 22 punt returns. Bradley made his final All Pro team in 1973, when he had 4 interceptions, 8 punt returns, and 56 punts at a 40.2 average. Bill played just 3 more years with the Eagles. He had 35 punt returns, 20 punts, and 9 interceptions. He joined the Saint Louis Cardinals in 1977, and returned 11 punts, 4 kickoffs in just 4 games. He retired after that year. Bill Bradley is the first player in NFL history to lead the NFL in interceptions in consecutive seasons, a feat that has been matched by only Everson Walls. He had 34 interceptions in his 8 years with the Eagles, to go with 213 punts and 1,384 yards off of 134 punt and kickoff returns. He also ran for 19 yards on 3 attempts. He is a member of the Eagles Ring of Honor. Bill Bradley is one of the best safeties in Eagles history.

Safety: Tom Brookshier

Tom was drafted by the Eagles in the 10th round of the 1953 draft, the 117th player picked overall. His impact was immediate, as he had a career best 8 interceptions in his rookie season. Due to the Korean War, Tom joined the Air Force after that season, and did not return to the NFL until 1956. He had an interception for 31 yards that year. In 1957, Tom had 4 interceptions for 74 yards. He had another pick the next year. Tom made his first Pro Bowl team in 1959, while having 3 picks. He moved to Cornerback in 1960, and had an interception. He made his last All Pro team, as the Eagles won the NFL Championship. Tom had 2 interceptions going into the 7th game of the 1961. He suffered a compound fracture of his leg in the game, then retired. He is one of just 7 Eagles to have had their number retired, and is a member of the Eagles Ring of Honor. He was known as a ferocious hitter who had a nose for the ball. Tom Brookshier is certainly one of the best defensive backs in Eagles history.

Cornerback : Eric Allen

Eric was the Eagles 2nd round pick in 1988, the 30th overall player chosen overall. The Eagles started him right away, and Allen produced immediately. He had 5 interceptions for 76 yards in his rookie year. He made his first All Pro team the very next year, when he had 8 interceptions. In 1990, he had 3 more picks. He also scored his first touchdown on a 35 yard return. Allen returned to the Pro Bowl the next season, as he had 5 swipes. He had 4 the next season, and was named to the All Pro team again. 1993 was probably his best season. He led the NFL with 4 touchdowns off of interceptions, as well as 201 interception return yards. One touchdown came on a 94 yard interception return. He had 6 total picks, and recorded the first 2 sacks of his career. Allen's last year with the Eagles was 1994. He had 3 interceptions, and made the All Pro team. He joined the New Orleans Saints the next year and made his last All Pro team with 2 interceptions. He snagged 3 more balls over the next two years, then joined the Oakland Raiders in 1998. He had 5 interceptions in 10 games before injuring his knee. He had 3 more interceptions the next year. 000 saw Allen score 3 more touchdowns off of 6 interceptions. He also recorded the last sack of his career. Allen's last year in the NFL was 2001. He had 1 interception, and scored the last touchdown of his career via a fumble recovery. He retired with 54 career interceptions, and had at least 1 in every season he played. He scored 9 total touchdowns, and the only NFL player to run back at least three interceptions for scores in two seasons. 34 interceptions and 5 touchdowns came in his 8 years with the Eagles. Eric Allen may one day get the call into Canton, though there are many, many better defensive backs who still await the call themselves. Still, he is certainly one of the best Cornerbacks in Philadelphia Eagles history.

Cornerback : Troy Vincent

Troy was a first round draft pick of the Miami Dolphins in 1992, the seventh player chosen overall. Troy made abit of history before he even donned an NFL jersey. He was the first player in the history of leagues televised draft, of the first round, whose selection was missed. ESPN was still on commercial break when Troy was selected. He picked off 2 passes in each of his first seasons, as he established himself quickly as a lock down defender. Vincent picked off 5 passes in 1994, scoring a touchdown. He had 5 more interceptions the next year, and scored another touchdown. Troy then joined the Eagles in 1996. He had 3 picks that year, and scored on a 90 yard interception return. He then had 5 swipes over the next 2 seasons. In 1999, Trot led the NFL with 7 interceptions. He was named to his first All Pro team that year, and would again garner that award the next season after having 5 interceptions. Vincent made the Pro Bowl team in 2001, and had 3 interceptions. Troy Vincent won the 2002 Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, and snared 2 balls. He was named to the All Pro team as well. 2003 was Troy's last season to make the All Pro team, as he had 3 picks. Vincent then went to the Buffalo Bills in 2004. He was moved to Free Safety, and had 1 interception in the seven games he played. Troy stayed at FS the next year, and had 3 more picks. After playing one game for Buffalo in 2006, Troy was released. He later signed with the Washington Redskins. Though this was the only season in his 15 NFL seasons that he did not intercept a pass, he still made a big play for the Redskins against Dallas. With the game tied at 19 with the clock at a few seconds remaining, Vincent blocked the Cowboys field goal attempt. The ball was recovered by the late Sean Taylor, who was face masked on his return. That penalty, coupled with the return, put the Redskins in field goal range. The Redskins converted and won 22-19. Troy then retired after that season. In his 8 seasons with the Eagles, Troy made his only 5 All Pro teams. His 5 Pro Bowls are tied with Allen as the most ever by an Eagle. 28 of his 47 career interceptions came as an Eagle. Irv Cross, and Herm Edwards deserves mention, but Troy is one of the best CB's in Eagles history.

Punt Returner: Wally Henry

Brian Mitchell, Boss Pritchard, Timmy Brown, Vai Sikahema, Larry Marshall, Brian Westbrook, and Steve Van Buren all deserve mention. Brian Mitchell's 117 punt returns is tied with John Sciarra as the second most punt returns in Eagles history behind Henry's 148, and his 1,369 punt return yards are the most in Eagles history. Wally's 1,231 are the second most punt return yards in Eagles history. He was signed as an undrafted rookie by the Eagles in 1977. He returned just 2 punts, and caught 2 passes as a rookie. Wally played only 3 games in 1978, but did score on a 57 yard punt return in 11 attempts. He also returned 3 kickoffs. 1979 was Henry's only All Pro season. He returned 28 kickoffs at a 23.9 average, and returned 35 punts at a 9.1 average. In the Eagles Super Bowl year of 1980, Henry had 26 punt returns, and 7 kickoff returns. He also caught 4 passes for 68 yards. In 1981, Henry led the NFL with 54 punt returns. He also returned 25 kickoffs, and caught 9 balls for 145 and the last 2 touchdowns of his career. 1982 was Wally's last year in the NFL. He returned 20 punts and 24 kickoffs. In his 6 seasons in Philadelphia, Henry had 3,406 return yards on 225 returns via punts and kickoffs. Though the Eagles may have had better punt returners in the history of their franchise, Wally Henry is all over the top of the teams record books.


Lester's Legends said...

Some greats when I was growing up. Clyde, Joyner, Eric Allen.

I also like Byron Evans, Wes Hopkins, and the late Andre "Dirty" Waters.

The Eagles were my team on Tecmo Bowl.

CK0712™ said...

how in dahell did i miss this?

this is some great great stuff 3rd, can i print this & the Oline one out?

tcp said...

Great work 3rd!

Trotter was one of my favorite Eagles and I was upset when they let him go both times.