- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
In 1952, the year that Marchetti turned pro, a defensive lineman was expected to jolt his man with a forearm or a fist, obtain separation and then go for the ball. Marchetti played offensive tackle that season, and he says the experience changed his approach. "I realized that the hardest guy for me to block wasn't the guy who took me on straight up but the one who made me miss," he said. "So those were the techniques I worked on the next year when I became a defensive end."
Marchetti, who played in 10 Pro Bowls, developed a new pass-rush technique-grabbing and throwing—and relied on quick moves and footwork. "I've heard defensive players say, 'Hell, I didn't even get my uniform dirty playing against Marchetti,' " said Weeb Ewbank, Marchetti's coach with the Colts. "Well, he dirtied a lot of quarterbacks' uniforms."
This selection will not sit well with a lot of folks. Opponents and teammates disliked him. His famous sack dance so infuriated Rams tackle Jackie Slater, one of the game's true gentlemen, that Slater went after him following one play. Bengals guard Max Montoya did a trap dance after Cincinnati ran for a touchdown over Gastineau, who'd been trap-blocked by Montoya. Gastineau's teammates on the Jets' famed Sack Exchange hated the idea that he took little interest in playing the run and often refused to run inside stunts.
In the three full seasons of 1981, '83 and '84 (the '82 season was strike-shortened, but Gastineau was named the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year after picking up six sacks in nine games) he averaged 20? sacks, including an NFL-record 22 in 1984. A pure outside rusher, he was practically unblockable. He relied on 4.56 speed, martial arts techniques and weight training devoted to the abdominal muscles, which he said gave him the ability to coordinate arm quickness with his speed.
No one was more aware of his sack totals than Greene. In 1996, the year the Panthers reached the NFC title game, he told me he was worried about blurred vision caused by a concussion. He was 34. "Better think about retiring," I said. "Can't," Greene said. "Got to get LT's record for linebacker sacks." The next year, after Greene had vaulted over a blocker to make a sack, a Carolina p.r. man called down to the bench to congratulate him on getting the record. "Not yet," Greene said. "I need one more." Sure enough, the press box stats were wrong. He got the record in the next game.
He played many roles in his 15-year career: designated open-side rusher, an outside linebacker in a 4-3 and a 3-4, a stand-up defensive end. He preferred the outside move, but if he had to, he could turn on a ferocious power rush.
He stood 6'6", weighed a lean 265 pounds and had played basketball at Colorado State. He would post up his man from his end spot, spin inside, spin outside, sometimes use a double spin. Occasionally he would fake the spin and then come in with a club and bull rush. He was a most confusing player to block.