Re: Ray Lewis the Greatest Defender Ever??
posted at 1/5/2013 2:12 PM EST
In response to zbellino's comment:
Yeah, he is a thug and accomplice to crime etc.
I won't pretend that he isn't part of that conversation.
He was all over the field like no other ILB before. I would consider him analogous to a modern day Butkus ... or perhaps better. He played in a era so distant from Butkus'. I mean really, Butkus could tackle a WR before the ball got there and claim the INT.
RESPONSE: Stop it. The Polian passing rules didn't take affect until 2004. Ray Ray had his best years prior to that.
Also, the elite inside linebackers are the QBs of the defense. They do so much more than a simple DE. When they change the game physically at the level Butkus and Lewis did, you have to add points for how they coordinated the defense as well.
RESPONSE: A "simple DE"?? A great DE is the most valuable defensive commodity that a team can have, these days. Look at J.J. Watt! I took Jones and Atkins high because, as great as they were in their day, they would be even more valuable today. Rushing the passer has become the primary way to stop the elite passing attacks in todays' game.
Butkus was the QB of the Bears' "D" , too. Granted that offenses are more complicated now than when Butkus played. The game was more physical...3 yards and a cloud of dust, in his era. Also, medical techniques aren't what they are now. Butkus played much of his career with a bad knee. The injury would eventually force him into early retirement. Modern medical care would no doubt have extended his career, and could have, and likely would have allowed him to be even better than he was.
I like the nod for Deion Sanders who was the best cover corner I've ever seen play, in an era where you couldn't just mug WRs.
RESPONSE: Agreed...best CB I've ever seen.
But I would rate Rod Woodson, myself, over Sanders. He just played all over the field. Played two positions. And he will never come close to Woodson's 32 career FR, an NFL record. Twice as many tackles. 13.5 sacks as a CB(!).
RESPONSE: I'd take Sanders any day of the week. Woodson played on some great defensive teams. Sanders helped Dallas to two titles...then switched teams to SF, tilting the balance of power in the NFC to the 49ers.
Ed Reed too. If Ed Reed equals his INTs he won't be able to claim to having done it at CB as well. He won't come close to his tackles numbers. He won't come close to his sack numbers. OR his FF/FR numbers.
RESPONSE: Great player. But, I took Deion because he literally took half the field away from a QB.
Rod Woodson was all over the field constantly making plays like no other DB I've seen, the closest being Lott. Although they are practically equal in my book because Lott was definitely he most indtimidating character ever.
I dismiss old school DBs out of hand because their job was a cakewalk compared to modern defenders.
RESPONSE: I tend to agree.