"There are two kinds of rushers," he says. "The impatient type is going to bust in head on the instant the play begins. The cautious type pauses for a second to try to diagnose the play before committing himself.
"I have learned that the second type—the reader—varies the position of his feet, depending on whether he is going to move inside or outside.
"If there is a linebacker in the gap [the space between defensive linemen] then it's the hands I watch. If he has his weight on his knuckles then he'll probably shoot the gap. That is a sign for me to get out in a hurry, perhaps even anticipate the snap by a split second if my assignment is to pull."
There are times when the rusher comes in so fast and follows Kramer so closely that there is no simple way of keeping him out of the play. "When it is a trap play," he says, "there is nothing to be done. I let the rusher go and hope the quarterback will be quick enough to get away or have time to hand off to an alternate ball carrier. If it is a sweep, I might call out to Forrest Gregg, the tackle beside me, 'You go,' and let him lead the interference while I take the charger."
Unlike Kramer, Fuzzy Thurston does not try to read the defensive charge. "I play percentages," he says, "and let Jerry do the reading. For instance, on pass rushes, players have a tendency to go either inside or out most of the time. I know from experience which to expect and concentrate on."
"At pass blocking," says Kramer, "Fuzzy hasn't a peer." An opponent complains, "I just can't shake that man. He's like a kid brother—always in the way."
Thurston places pass rushers in two categories: bulls and dancers. He says, "The bulls you pop [uncoil from the three-point stance upward into the defender's chest or chin, head up and forearms working]. They usually head straight in on the passer so you move them to the outside by keeping low with your feet spread wide and with your back to the passer.
"With the dancers you can't commit yourself too soon. What you do is fake and dance with them until they have to make their move. Then you hit."
"Some of the bulls," says Kramer, "are just too big to handle with a normal pass block. Big John Baker [ Pittsburgh's 270-pound defensive end] likes to run over pass blockers. The pass block is too passive to handle him, so I drive-block to get momentum and even things up." Kramer and Thurston agree that the Rams' Merlin Olsen, the Giants' John LoVetere, the Bears' Stan Jones and the Lions' Roger Brown are the National Football League's best and toughest bulls.
Artie Donovan of Baltimore was a dancing master. "I never touched him the first time I played against him," Kramer says. "I felt like Ned getting his first look at the Third Reader. He'd give me a shake right, a shake left and be past. Then Ray Krouse came in and gave me the same stuff, so I leg-whipped him. Krouse spent the rest of the afternoon coming at me all arms and elbows. That was fine by me. I didn't have to worry about him getting to the passer." Both Kramer and Thurston regard Detroit's Alex Karras, the huge defensive tackle returning this year after a season's suspension, as the best pass rusher in football. He is a maddening dancer with the strength of a bull.