Gibbs: When considering Jacoby, consider those he had to oppose


Talk of Fame Network

When Joe Jacoby‘s candidacy is discussed at Saturday‘s Hall-of-Fame election, maybe those who opposed the former offensive linemen should be heard … and we‘re not talking about voters.

Nope, it‘s defensive linemen … linebackers … pass rushers … anyone who lined up opposite Jacoby. Because, as former Washington coach Joe Gibbs explained on this week‘s Talk of Fame Network broadcast, it was those players who helped define the Hall-of-Fame finalist.

“When you think about the people he went up against,” said Gibbs, “and playing left tackle … we all know what a premium that is. You think about him … he goes through four Super Bowls with us. He was a mainstay. He could have played guard, but we kept him out there at tackle because he was so valuable out there for us.

“One of the best things Joe has going for himself is that all those guys ... Lawrence Taylor and all those people you talk about playing across from Jacoby ... those games were wars. I remember those things and some of the goal-line stands and everything that we had. And Joe meant so much to us.

“He played at a time when there were some great players lined up across from him. And the NFC East in those days … think about it: The Giants, the Redskins, Philly. You think about that defensive line from Philadelphia. And then, of course, Dallas also. He played at a time when it was black-and-blue division, and you have to make it happen. And Joe made it happen for us.”

Jacoby is an intriguing case.He wasn’t a Hall-of-Fame finalist until last year when, in his 18th year of eligibility, he reached the top 15. But that’s not all. He also made the top 10, which can be the launching pad for the next year.

Well, this is that year, and with the class wide open, Jacoby has a shot at one of what appear to be three open spots – with LaDainian Tomlinson and Kurt Warner the others. The question is: How does that happen? Jacoby was undrafted and so unrecognized that Gibbs first thought he was a defensive lineman. Now he‘s on the doorstep of Canton.

“Here‘s what happens with sports,” said Gibbs. “We all get caught up in how fast they can run, how high they can jump, how much they weigh. All those things that scouts can tell you. But the one thing you can't weigh is what? Your heart. And what kind of person and what kind of heart they have.

“As a consequence, you have a guy like Tom Brady getting drafted in the (sixth) round and sitting on the bench for two years. You talk about our quarterbacks. (Joe) Theismann was a third. Mark Rypien was a fifth. Listen, it is hard to evaluate people.

“And I used to laugh because in every city when someone takes a first-round draft choice, they say, ‘This guy‘s going to be a Hall of Famer.' And that isn’t the case. How many times do we miss on picking people? Because it’s the intangibles. It‘s really what makes a person come early, stay late and is willing to pay a price.

“It‘s so hard to evaluate people because those are the things that you really need to know what‘s inside of them. And that’s one of the best things Joe's got going for himself. He‘s an elite player who would pay a price. He was there early, stayed late, he was a mainstay and we could always count on Joe.

“We used to turn out with him on pass protection against 4-3 ends, and, as we all know, you‘ve got to have an athlete at left tackle. And Joe was an athlete. Plus, he was super strong and super big. He‘s a massive guy with a great heart.”


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