The big change in the New York offense is Fran Tarkenton, the skittery quarterback from Minnesota, for whom the Giants traded lifeblood. With an offensive line as leaky as New York's, it has to be a help to have a quarterback who can run for his life. Tarkenton can do that, but he has a penchant for creating a need for a third-and-40 offense. It is doubtful that Sherman has even a third-and-15 offense. This is unfortunate, because New York has exceptional long receivers in Homer Jones, who is truly fast, and Del Shofner. While Tarkenton wanders about, eluding the charge of defensive linemen and blitzing linebackers, Jones may outrun his range as a passer. Often Tarkenton's alternate receiver will be Aaron Thomas, who is tall enough to outreach most defensive backs and big enough to run over them. His speed will help a lot, too.
When he wants to hand the ball off, Tarkenton will be luckier than Earl Morrall, now Tarkenton's backup quarterback, was last year. Tucker Frederickson, who had a marvelous freshman year, then damaged his knee in his second season, has come back. Running with him will be Bill Triplett and Allen Jacobs. Other backs are Joe Morrison, who must win an award for versatility if for nothing else; Les Murdock, who will kick placements; and Ernie Koy, who will run and handle the punting.
Whichever team wins the division will be demolished by the winner of the Capitol Division. The Steelers, for whatever it is worth, should earn that honor.
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