Walter Jones - Outside the Box

Part I


Q.  Any baseball segways as to Jones’ chances of returning?

A.  First thing that I thought of, when hearing all the obituaries, was the 39-year-old Lefty Grove going 15-4, 2.54 as a lefthand pitcher in Fenway Park (185 ERA+).   The rules are different for the special guys.


I have a lot of fun watching super-dominant athletes in any sport.  When Wayne Gretzky, Jari Kurri and Mark Messier were together with the Oilers, I watched hockey a lot.  :- )   With Van Persie, Arshavin and Fabregas getting 3.5 goals a game for Arsenal, I watch Fox Soccer Channel a lot.

It's been a lot of fun watching Walter, whatever your primary sport.  Hopefully he gets another season or two pushing DE's around.


Q.  What has made #71 so good, exactly?

A.  Robbie Tobeck answered this on the radio today:  some guys it's long arms, some guys it's strength, some guys it's feet, some guys it's technique... Jones excels at literally everything.

90% of the time Jones will beat his man at the line of scrimmage, with long arms and superior hand placement... but if the guy gets around the corner, BOOM, Jones has been the best recovery LT also, as quick as a very small lineman.


I've played a few chessplayers like this -- only 10% of the time can you get them into a bad position.  Then, guess what?  They are masters of bad positions and beat you that way. 

There is nothing more frustrating than knowing that if you do luck out and take down an All-State wrestler, that he's going to have fun reversing you.  I mean, why try, right?

Alexander Alekhine, a world champ, said "In order to beat me, you have to beat me three times:  once in the opening, and again in the middlegame, and then in the ending."  You couldn't do any one of them, so how would you do three?

This, to me, is a key element of greatness -- an athlete is a great fighter from the bottom, "guard" position.   Ichiro is such a player:  if he doesn't like his matchup, he can slap the ball through the SS hole.

That has been the situation with Walter.


Baseball segway here:  Ron Luciano talked about an argument he had with Ted Williams when Teddy was about 55 years old.  Teddy claimed he could see the ball hit the bat and Luciano assured him that was just an optical illusion.

“C’mon,” Teddy said, and they recruited a young 90+ fastballer.  Williams coated his bat in pine tar, or something, and the pitcher fired the heater in.  Teddy swung and torched a deep blast to CF.  Luciano “was thrilled he could still make contact.”  Teddy said, “Got that one a quarter inch above the laces.”

Teddy hit seven balls and when they retrieved the balls, he called five of them right.

Some guys are freaks, even compared to other great athletes.  Jones is one of these.  Common sense tells us to let Walter make his own rules.  (Which the Seahawks just finished doing, the first six weeks of the year.


Q.  Jones has been that dominating?

A.  Brock Huard last week was talking about a #1 draft pick -- Lawrence Jackson was it? -- lining up in drills against Walter for the first time.  A particular type of drill in which the pass rusher wins 90% of the time if not more -- like a penalty kick in soccer.

The DE would push inside, put a move on, cut back outside and power the edge... and then #71 would stick out a 10' long, telephone pole left arm, hit him in the chest and "boom, it was over."

People were cracking up watching a rook DE get snuffed umpteen straight times on it... like a soccer midfielder getting snuffed on 10 straight penalty kicks by the goalie.

Tobeck claims, straight-faced, that Jones can punch a DL harder in the chest with one hand than Tobeck could with two hands.


NBA centers play until they're 40 :- ) because their physical attributes and simple techniques transcend their footspeed.  Walter's long arms, great CG and experience are still going to be there when he's limping.


Part III

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