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EASTERN CONFERENCE

Oct. 05, 1959
Oct. 05, 1959

Table of Contents
Oct. 5, 1959

Race For Power
Football Murder
Horse Racing
Spectacle
Pro Football Preview
Tip From The Top
Trotting
Baseball
Bears
19th Hole: The Readers Take Over
Pat On The Back

EASTERN CONFERENCE

CHICAGO CARDINALS

This is an article from the Oct. 5, 1959 issue

COACH: FRANK IVY
1958 RECORD: W 2, L 9, T 1, TIED FOR 5TH
1959 EXHIBITIONS: W 5, L 2

PASSING OFFENSE
It usually requires three years for a college quarterback to master the complexity of the professional game. King Hill, the big, tough kid from Rice Institute, may improve on that schedule by a year. Quarterback was the soft spot in the Cardinal passing offense last year; Hill still must show he can throw long, but he has the other requisites, plus good protection from an improved line and fine receivers in Bobby Joe Conrad, John David Crow and John Tracey, all Texans.

RUSHING OFFENSE
You would think a club which had given up one of football's finest runners in Ollie Matson must suffer in its ground attack. But Texas A&M's John Crow may be just as good as Matson running, and he's a better pass receiver. Add two good big fullbacks—Mal Hammack and Larry Hickman—and a skittery converted defensive halfback named Bobby Conrad and you have a strong running attack.

PASS DEFENSE
In the trade which sent Matson to the Rams, the Cardinals received Frank Fuller, a 250-pound veteran tackle who gives the Cards an ingredient sadly lacking last year: the ability to rush a passer. Ivy's secondary defense has been shored up with the addition of Jerry Norton, who came from the Eagles, and it is now solid.

RUSHING DEFENSE
Here again Fuller has been a big help to the Cardinals. Ivy has calked up a rather porous line; now the defensive unit is a canny blend of rookies, second-year players and a few steadying oldtimers.

OVER-ALL
The Cardinals move to Soldier Field this year in hopes of attracting more fans. Coach Pop Ivy, trading astutely and drafting wisely, has provided a team which should be one of the most exciting in the league on offense, running from his unusual double-wing T formation. More important, this year's edition of the Cardinals looks better, much tougher on defense, with a quick, big line plus a set of veteran pass defenders and good linebackers. A young team, only a year or two away at most and improving.

CLEVELAND BROWNS
(Lost conference playoff to New York Giants)

COACH: PAUL BROWN
1958 RECORD: W9, L3, TIED FOR 1ST
1959 EXHIBITIONS: W2, L4

PASSING OFFENSE
Early in the exhibition season after a loss to Detroit, Coach Paul Brown said: "I could always see rays of hope in the past; now I see none." But things aren't quite as bad as he saw them, though. Milt Plum is an improving passer, Jim Ninowski could develop into a fine one. The receivers—Bill Howton, Ray Renfro, Preston Carpenter and Rich Kreitling—could be the fastest group in the NFL.

RUSHING OFFENSE
Jim Brown is the best and most versatile runner in football. Bobby Mitchell is a little less powerful and a little more elusive. The offensive line is strong with Tackle Mike McCormack healthy. This is the strongest running team in the East.

PASS DEFENSE
One rookie moves into the veteran Brown defensive secondary—Bernie Parrish of Florida. Luckily he plays next to canny 36-year-old Warren Lahr. This unit, which has been juggled with the departure of Don Paul, may take a while to settle down. The linebackers, operating behind a very strong quartet of rushers, are all veterans and all very good.

RUSHING DEFENSE
Sid Youngelman, a 262-pound tackle who was released by the Philadelphia Eagles last year, has been very useful to the Browns. Youngelman and Willie McClung close the middle well; Bob Gain is one of the league's better defensive ends, but Paul Wiggin, the other end, is still developing. The linebacking of Chuck Noll, Vince Costello and Walt Michaels makes the Brown defense against rushing solid.

OVER-ALL
Milt Plum, who is a constantly improving quarterback, may lead the Browns back to the championship they lost by a hair last year. Although Cleveland finished in a tie for the Eastern Conference title, perfectionist Paul Brown considers anything less than the league crown a complete failure. A rebuilt defensive unit—only three players are at the same position they played last year—appears to have improved the Brown pass defense. The Browns' success formula is superb running, plus Plum and a better defense.

NEW YORK GIANTS
(Won conference, lost to Colts for title)

COACH: JIM LEE HOWELL
1958 RECORD: W 9, L 3, TIED FOR 1ST
1959 EXHIBITIONS: W 3, L 3

PASSING OFFENSE
Charlie Conerly, literally a gray-haired old quarterback, is still the key to the Giant passing attack. Coach Jim Lee Howell looked at five quarterbacks and wound up with Conerly as his No. 1 man again. The Giant passing attack is essentially the same this year as for several years past—same passers, same receivers, linemen like massive Rosey Brown for blocking; a good, even spectacular air arm.

RUSHING OFFENSE
The new, improved Giant ground game has the same personnel, with more frequent use of Phil King at fullback. King is a fast 225-pounder and at least as good as Triplett. Frank Gifford, after a fling at quarterback, is back where he belongs at halfback. Alex Webster is still the other halfback. Why quarrel with success?

PASS DEFENSE
The departure of Emlen Tunnell for Green Bay leaves a gap in the Giant secondary, but Tom Landry, who handles the Giant defense, has good personnel with which to fill it. The massive rush of the Giant line helps the secondary, and the Giant linebackers are masters of the red dog—rushing from their positions.

RUSHING DEFENSE
The Giant line is among the stoutest in pro football. Rosey Grier, Dick Modzelewski, Andy Robustelli and Jim Katcavage combine 20 years of experience and add up to a little more than 1,000 pounds of mobile muscle. Add a trio of capable linebackers, masterminded by genial, tenacious Sam Huff, and it means, as usual, a magnificent defense.

OVER-ALL
The Giants are a stand-pat team. This is no indictment, however, since Howell is standing pat with a good team, which is mature but not old. A rash of late exhibition-game injuries may slow the Giants at the start, but the team is deep enough in formidable players to survive. Howell has a rarity in pro football—a quarterback in the bank. Lee Grosscup, who was put on waivers but not claimed, will sit out the season on the Giant bench and be the wiser and better for it in 1960. But Conerly may go on forever.

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES

COACH: BUCK SHAW
1958 RECORD: W 2, L 9, T 1, TIED FOR 5TH
1959 EXHIBITIONS: W 2, L 4

PASSING OFFENSE
Norm Van Brocklin is still the most accomplished passer in pro football. He throws long, short, hard or soft with equal facility. He could use more protection, but he unloads so quickly that he can get by with what he has. He has fine receivers in Tommy McDonald, Pete Retzlaff, Bobby Walston and husky Bill Barnes.

RUSHING OFFENSE
Philadelphia has lacked truly useful runners for the past couple of seasons. Bill Barnes, a tough, bouncy halfback from Wake Forest, can take up some of this slack. Walt Kowalczyk, a second-year man, may come into his own at fullback; if so, the Eagles' ground attack can complement Van Brocklin's passing. The up-front blocking needs improvement.

PASS DEFENSE
The Eagles could use more enthusiastic rushers in the front line. The addition of Tom Catlin and Chuck Weber to go with Bob Pellegrini as linebackers helps. Tom Brookshier is good, but the deep secondary is not as sound as it should be. This is the spot where the Eagles are vulnerable; luckily the best passers in the NFL are in the other conference.

RUSHING DEFENSE
Marion Campbell and Jess Richardson are big, nearly immovable tackles. This is the foundation upon which good ground defenses are built. The Eagle defensive ends are good and the linebackers good enough. Against most ground games they should hold up well; against the kind of running attack the Giants or Browns will mount they could be in some trouble.

OVER-ALL
With the most accurate passer in football throwing to very competent receivers, the Eagles will not be at a loss for touchdowns. They need an explosive offense to counteract a defense which last year gave up over 300 points and seems not to have improved much. With good running from Barnes and Kowalczyk, Van Brocklin's passing should be more effective and the burden on the defense eased a bit. Buck Shaw is still building and still a long way from finished, for he badly needs some more talent on defense.

PITTSBURGH STEELERS

COACH: BUDDY PARKER
1958 RECORD: W 7, L 4, T 1, 3RD
1959 EXHIBITIONS: W 2, L 4

PASSING OFFENSE
Bobby Layne, the flamboyant Texan, is still one of the best clutch passers in football. He's calm, judicious and inspirational on the field, and he has good targets in Jack McClairen, Jimmy Orr, Darrel Brewster, Gern Nagler, Ray Mathews and Tom Tracy. All these, plus a determined, hard-to-crack offensive line.

RUSHING OFFENSE
In all of his free trading, Buddy Parker hasn't been able to remedy the two missing ingredients on this club: a fine fullback and good outside speed. Larry Krutko hasn't been consistent at fullback. Tom Tracy is a wonderful halfback, but he hardly has the speed to spread a defense. These are the defects which may cost the Steelers a conference title.

PASS DEFENSE
A trio of backs blooded in league play plus a youngster in his third season give the Steelers a very solid rank of pass defenders. Jack Butler, Dean Derby and Dick Alban have been around a total of 17 years; Don Bishop fits into this team smoothly. Only a lack of strong pressure on the passer weakens the Steeler pass defense, and the veterans in the line may perk up when the campaign is under way.

RUSHING DEFENSE
The four men who man the trenches for the Steelers are good. Ends Ernie Stautner and George Tarasovic provide weight and wiles. Tackles Joe Krupa and Ray Fisher are light but willing. The linebackers—Dale Dodrill, Dick Lasse and John Reger—are underrated. They're battle-wise, big and quick on their feet.

OVER-ALL
Only the lack of a good running game holds back the Steelers. With an over-supply of fine receivers, a good offensive line and football's most productive passer in Bobby Layne, the Steeler offense can move. Unfortunately, the defense can stack to stop the Steeler passing, if necessary. The Steeler defense is very good, for good defense is a Buddy Parker trademark. This club won six of its last seven games in 1958, and it's ready. Even as old as he is, Layne can handle some of the running chores.

WASHINGTON REDSKINS

COACH: MIKE NIXON
1958 RECORD: W 4, L 7, T 1, 4TH
1959 EXHIBITIONS: W 1, L 5

PASSING OFFENSE
Tiny (5 feet 7 inches), brave Eddie LeBaron is an exciting quarterback to watch for two reasons: he is a dexterous ball handler, and he's so small you always wonder if he'll survive. He throws the short pass very well when he can see over the behemoths rushing him, but his pass protection breaks down much too often. The Redskin ends (Joe Walton and John Carson) are good journeyman pass catchers when, and if, the ball reaches them.

RUSHING OFFENSE
Don Bosseler and Johnny Olszewski are good fullbacks. Ed Sutton and Jim Podoley are good halfbacks too. But none of them is a game buster, liable to go all the way on any play. The Redskins' offense is not equipped to overpower any of the usually good defenses in the East.

PASS DEFENSE
The Redskin pass defenders last year gave up more yards to the opposition than any other team in the league. To stem this unwelcome tide of footballs, Mike Nixon traded for two veteran defenders, Linebacker Bob Hudson from the Eagles and Halfback Richie McCabe from the Steelers. While his new unit is jelling, Nixon may have troubles, but he is sure of improving the Redskin air defense.

RUSHING DEFENSE
Tackle Bob Toneff beefs up the line, with John Paluck making a good bid to fill All-Pro Gene Brito's shoes at end. The linebacking is vastly improved with Bob Hudson, Emil Karas, Ralph Felton and old pro Chuck Drazenovich available. The Redskins should be harder to move.

OVER-ALL
The Redskins' big improvement has come on the defensive platoon, where Coach Mike Nixon filled in the weak spots with tried veterans obtained by judicious trading. Toneff gives the team good inside rushing against the passer, and Paluck and Chet Ostrowski will apply strong pressure from outside. Add to it better linebacking and—when old hands like Richie McCabe and Doyle Nix recover from early injuries—a cohesive secondary, and the 'Skins would be in contention if they had the offense.

PHOTOFRANK IVYPHOTOJOHN CROWPHOTOFRANK FULLERPHOTOBOBBY JOE CONRADPHOTOKING HILLPHOTOPAUL BROWNPHOTOJIM NINOWSKIPHOTOBOB GAINPHOTOJIM BROWNPHOTOWARREN LAHRPHOTOJIM LEE HOWELLPHOTOALEX WEBSTERPHOTOROSEY BROWNPHOTOSAM HUFFPHOTOCHARLIE CONERLYPHOTOBUCK SHAWPHOTOBOB PELLEGRINIPHOTOTOMMY MCDONALDPHOTOTOM BROOKSHIERPHOTONORM VAN BROCKLINPHOTOBUDDY PARKERPHOTOBOBBY LAYNEPHOTOERNIE STAUTNERPHOTOJACK BUTLERPHOTOJACK MCCLAIRENPHOTOMIKE NIXONPHOTOJOE WALTONPHOTOCHUCK DRAZENOVICHPHOTOJOHN PALUCKPHOTOJIM PODOLEY