Tag:Gale Sayers
Posted on: June 4, 2011 1:16 pm
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Sayers: Current players need to help NFL alums

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Clearly, former Bears great Gale Sayers doesn’t mind speaking publicly about the thoughts that bounce around his brain all day. In the past, he’s talked about the problems with the Chicago organization and why Devin Hester KR might need to show more versatility in order to have a chance at the Hall of Fame.

So, it makes sense that he’d be disappointed in the way the current players think about the players that paved the way for them, and it makes sense that he’d share those thoughts with us.

Sayers speaks
"Some players of today's game think that they made the game what it is today. I beg to differ," Sayers said, via the Associated Press, Friday night at an event hosted by the Gridiron Greats Assistance Fund. "The players who are playing today are standing on the shoulders of those who made the game what it is that played the game for peanuts.

"If today's players cannot help these players, shame on you."

Former Bears coach Mike Ditka, who’s been an outspoken ally for the NFL alumni, also weighed in on the issue of the day.

"If they want to fix the pension for former players, all they have to do is match what baseball does for their former players. They have the best pension in all of sports," Ditka said. "I'm fighting for the disability and the medical help that we need. One thing the current players should be fighting is for medical care for after their careers. Not for five years, but for 20, 30, 40 years. We're finding guys who are 50, 60, 70, they're suffering from head injuries and everything else."

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Category: NFL
Posted on: January 22, 2011 10:37 am
 

The best way to play vs. Hester

How to play against D. Hester isn't always the easiest decision (US Presswire). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

What is the best way to punt the ball to Devin Hester? I asked the same question to Gale Sayers Friday morning in our Five questions (or more) segment, and we never really came up with an answer.

Do you punt the ball out of bounds? Do you try to pin him on the sidelines? Do you, as the Seahawks did last week, say, “Screw it, we’re kicking right at him?” What can do you do?

Maybe the Seahawks had the right idea, though maybe not in the way you’d expect.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel caught up with Seattle P Jon Ryan on Friday, and basically, the Seahawks’ game plan was to kick it high and make Hester fair catch as many punts as possible.

It’s not going to help your punting average – presumably, those high, end-over-end punts are going to be shorter than normal – but as Seattle showed last week, it can be effective. Out of nine punts last week, Hester let four of them bounce, fair-caught three of them and returned two for a combined total of 30 yards.

"Our plan was to go after every punt as if it was a pooch punt," Ryan told the paper. "So I kicked all the punts end over end. They told me they didn't want anything over 35 yards and get as many fair catches as we could.

"You're not going to have a 50-yard average, by any means. But you're also not going to be watching Hester celebrate in the end zone. It's a bit of a trade-off. I think it's a very effective way to control Hester.

"The game plan was to eliminate Hester. We weren't going to flip the field. Our special-teams coach (Brian Schneider) believed we succeeded."

For the game, Ryan averaged 35.0 yards per punt with a 31.7 net and a hang time of 4.16 seconds. And no Hester returned TDs.

One other interesting aspect of this article. One scout said Hester would much prefer to catch the ball outside the hash marks – meaning that trying to pin him on the sidelines isn’t always an effective plan – because he knows there are less defenders there that can bring him down. Said that scout, "He won't run up and catch it. He's scared. He thinks he's going to get hit."

Read the rest of the story. There’s some interesting insight there about how to deal with the game’s most dangerous returner since … well, Gale Sayers.

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Category: NFL
Posted on: January 21, 2011 1:37 pm
 

Five questions (or more) with Gale Sayers

Gale Sayers (Getty). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Gale Sayers is a Hall of Fame running back who isn’t afraid to tell Bears fans what he thinks about their team. Earlier this season, the legendary Bears RB dismissed Chicago’s success – a move that predictably drew some heat – and he’s said recently that he thought he was a better kick returner than Devin Hester.

But Sayers also wants to know what YOU think. Which is why he’s teaming up with the Pro Football Hall of Fame (along with Van Heusen and JC Penny) to highlight Fanschoice.com, where fans can pick who they think should make the HOF from this year’s list of finalists.

Said Sayers: “We have about 4 million people who have voted for who they want to see in the Hall of Fame. There are some people they put down that are pretty good players. You have Ray Guy, Jim Plunkett, Lester Hayes and Donnie Shell. There are some people that probably should be in the Hall of Fame but they’re not for some reason.”

Earlier today, we caught up with Sayers and asked his thoughts about his controversial Bears predictions, about Hester’s chances for the Hall of Fame and about his thoughts for Sunday’s Packers-Bears tilt.

Previous Five Questions (or more):

Dec. 10: former Patriots WR Troy Brown

Dec. 3: Panthers QB Brian St. Pierre

Nov. 12: 49ers LB Takeo Spikes

Nov. 5: former WR, current NFL analyst Keyshawn Johnson

Oct. 29: Chargers LS Mike Windt

Oct. 15: Redskins WR Anthony Armstrong

Oct. 8:
Patriots LB Rob Ninkovich

Sept. 24: Texans WR Kevin Walter

Sept. 17: former Bengals, Titans DT John Thornton

Sept. 11: Seahawks RB Leon Washington

1. CBSSports.com:
Since we’re talking about the Hall of Fame and since you’re already in there, what do you think about a guy like punter Ray Guy? He was the most dominant punter of his time – and of all time – and I know there is only one kicker in the Hall, but what do you think? Should a player like Guy be in?

Gale Sayers:
I was playing in the league when Ray Guy was playing in the league. He was the best kicker I’ve ever seen. He could bullet that ball 70 yards. He was so unbelievable. I just don’t know why they’re not letting a punter into the Hall of Fame. It’s so crazy. One of these days he will get in there.

CBS: Just to dismiss punters doesn’t make sense to me. I mean, you see it every week how much they can affect the game. It’s just kind of crazy.

Sayers:
It really is. If you have a great punter, he’s almost (as valuable as a) great running back. Ray Guy was that great punter. What happens also is that a lot of those people and reporters who vote for Hall of Famers, some of the people who were around when Ray Guy was around are deceased. And some of the reporters don’t remember Ray Guy. He should have been in the Hall of Fame 15 years ago.

2. CBS: Considering you were one of the best kick returners of all time, tell me your thoughts about Devin Hester. Especially since he, like you did, plays for the Bears.

Sayers: They got him now, and he’s run back 14 kicks for touchdowns. That’s pretty good. That’s not bad at all (laughs). Will he be in the Hall of Fame? If he doesn’t get hurt in the next two or three years, and he’s still doing the same thing, there’s no doubt in my mind that he’ll get in the Hall of Fame. He’s been a super young man to run back punts and kick returns. He has a gift to do that. You hope he goes in the Hall of Fame, but the voters might think, “Well, he’s a kickoff returner, but he should be something else also.” Personally, I think he will get in, but you don’t know. Is (his returning only) enough to get him in the Hall of Fame?

3. CBS: Every week, there’s so much talk about how teams should play Hester. Should they kick to him? Avoid him? Punt it out of bounds? When you were playing, was there that much talk about what other teams should do about you?

Sayers: They punted to me, and after they saw what I could do with the football, they started punting away from me. But we always had two men back. When they kicked to me, I always thought I had a chance to run it back. What we did when they knew I could run back kicks, my coaches put in the offensive line to block for me. Usually, you don’t do that. You usually put in scrubs. But we had the offensive line up in front of me, and they gave me a good chance to get a block that would allow me to return the kick. With Devin Hester, they’re doing some of the things they were doing when I was playing.

4. CBS: You’ve taken some heat for some of the things you said about the Bears in the preseason and earlier this year. I wrote on this blog also about how I didn’t think the Bears were all that good and about how those early wins seemed like flukes to me. What do you think now, and do you like their chances to play for a Super Bowl?

Sayers:
I’m not against the Bears. What I saw out there earlier in the season, they didn’t look that good. I didn’t think they would be competing for the Super Bowl. With them playing the Packers, it’s going to be an outstanding game. I don’t think it will be a high-scoring game. Jay Cutler, he’s a fine quarterback, but I think at times he gets a little nicked up. And (Aaron) Rodgers for the Packers, he’s had a hell of a season. One hell of a season. I think if Cutler is not on and Rodgers is on, the Bears are in trouble. Hopefully, we can stay free of injury, and that’s one thing the Bears have done. You need to do that when you get into the playoffs. The Packers have some injuries, and that might be the difference.

5. CBS: Tell me about the Bears-Packers rivalry when you played in the mid to late-1960s.

Sayers: The Bears fans and the Packers fans really hated one another. But when we got on the football field, the Packers knew and we knew that they were going to give us their best shot and that we were going to give them our best shot. We talked to them on the field, but once the game was over, we shook hands and went home. When we got on that field, we hated one another. Ray Nitschke and Willie Wood – Hall of famers and great football players for them – and you have Gale Sayers and Dick Butkus and Mike Ditka for us, and we fought like dogs.

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Posted on: January 4, 2011 7:49 pm
Edited on: January 4, 2011 8:17 pm
 

Hot Routes 01.04.11: Is Todd Haley a 'fraud'?

Posted by Will Brinson



Got a link for the Hot Routes? Hit us up on Twitter (@CBSSportsNFL) .
  • In case you didn't read it, Jason Whitlock of FOX Sports called Todd Haley "the biggest fraud in football." Well, "quite possibly the biggest fraud in football" anyway. That's a bold statement from a guy who knows KC pretty well. 

Posted on: August 23, 2010 9:49 am
 

Hot Routes: No Favre here whatsoever

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Got links for the Hot Routes? Follow us on Twitter or send an email to josh [dot] katzowitz [at] cbsinteractive [dot] com.

-Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com has a nice breakdown of how well the 49ersfirst-team offense and first-team defense played in their 15-10 win vs. the Vikings on Sunday. Most impressive on defense was LB Patrick Willis, who had four tackle on just nine snaps played. Most impressive on offense was QB Alex Smith, who completed 5 of 6 passes and completed all three of his third-down attempts on San Francisco’s opening drive.

-The Minneapolis Star Tribune is already looking forward to Saturday’s third preseason game against Seattle. It’s because, like most every team when it heads into the third exhibition of the year, the starters likely will play into the third quarter.

-San Diego allowed disgruntled Vincent Jackson to speak with Seattle’s representatives, but Michael Lombardi of NFL.com thinks that might have been a bad idea.

-With Rams QB A.J. Feeley injured, don’t be surprised if No. 1 overall pick Sam Bradford gets the start in the team’s third preseason game Thursday at New England. Feeley is thought to have a sprained thumb, but he underwent an MRI Sunday to better determine the damage.

-With Michael Matthews turning his ankle in practice Sunday, the Bills are down to just one tight end . That lucky man is Jonathan Stupar. Expect Buffalo to take a look at the free agent market.

-Apparently, New York Jets RB LaDainian Tomlinson loves playing in the preseason. I mean, he absolutely LOVES it . Which is probably news to everybody in the NFL.

-With the return of Patriots WR Wes Welker and Seahawks RB Leon Washington from gruesome leg injuries, Tim Layden of Sports Illustrated discusses Gale Sayers’ shot knees and the pain tolerance the Bears legendary RB has. Pretty awesome/gruesome stuff there.

-Cowboys S Gerald Sensabaugh will miss the rest of the preseason and his status for Dallas’ season-opener is in question because of a subluxation in his shoulder.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com