COACH: FRANK IVY
1937 RECORD: W 3, L 9, 6TH
1958 EXHIBITIONS: W 3, L 2, T 1
A lack of really great receivers may handicap the Chicago Cardinal offense this year. Lamar McHan, a competent quarterback, has Gern Nagler and Max Boydston at ends, Ollie Matson at halfback as his principal targets. No one of them ranks with the topflight receivers in the league. McHan will find his targets getting out more quickly from Pop Ivy's double-wing T, which posts the halfbacks a yard outside of the ends and a yard back; whether this formation will compensate for the lack of adequate pass-protection blocking is doubtful.
Ollie Matson, who played most of the 1957 season underweight after a bout with Asian flu, is healthy again. At 210, Matson is a big halfback who runs like a sprinter and hits like a fullback. He's probably the most respected running back in professional football. Mel Hammack has replaced Johnny Olszewski at fullback; he is a strong blocker and a journeyman runner. The Cardinal running is helped considerably by the addition of Rookie John Crow of Texas A&M, who shares a halfback post with veteran Joe Childress. King Hill, the Rice quarterback, lends depth to the end and backfield corps, since he plays either position, plus defensive halfback.
Bobby Joe Conrad, who kicked his first field goal in the All-Star Game this August, will kick field goals for the Cardinals, but his most valuable contribution to the team may come at defensive halfback, where the Cards were notably weak last year. Moving into a combination which includes veteran Dick Lane, Conrad can make a tremendous difference in the Chicago pass defense. Poor rushing of the passer hurts, too.
The Cardinals have a massive, nearly immovable front line keyed by Leo Sugar. Lack of speed in the immediate secondary may hurt.
With a new coach and a new offense, the Cardinals may have a certain element of surprise going for them in early games. However, the team has defects on defense which will have to be remedied by trades or by judicious drafting—a long process.
COACH: PAUL BROWN
1957 RECORD: W 9, L 2, T 1, 1ST
(LOST TO DETROIT FOR LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP)
1958 EXHIBITIONS: W 3, L 3, T 0
Milt Plum, who has the demanding job of making Cleveland fans and Paul Brown forget Otto Graham, may do it this year. Not that Plum will reach the perfection of the old Brown quarterback so quickly; he'll have a team with so explosive an offensive potential that it may erase the memory of even the best of previous Brown teams. Tremendous running will make the Brown passing even more dangerous, and it was strong enough anyway with Plum and Jim Ninowski, the All-Star sensation, throwing to topnotch receivers Ray Renfro, Preston Carpenter, Bobby Mitchell (another All-Star ace) and Frank Clarke.