Talk of Fame Network
Joe Jacoby not only anchored one of the most renowned offensive lines in NFL history – the legendary “Hogs” of the Washington Redskins; but as its left tackle, he had to take on some of the best and strongest pass rushers in the game.
There was Lawrence Taylor … and Reggie White … and Bruce Smith … and Chris Doleman … and Lee Roy Selmon … and Charles Haley. Hall of Famers all, and they appeared regularly on the schedule.
“Those were challenges,” Jacoby told the Talk of Fame Network’s latest broadcast. “I enjoyed that aspect of going against the best. That’s the way you measure yourself on the football field and measure yourself in life.”
One of 25 semifinalists for the Hall-of-Fame’s Class of 2016, Jacoby will be measured again for Final 15 honors – with votes of the 46 selectors revealed Thursday. While he waits, however, we asked him to measure the opponents he faced. More to the point, we asked him to name the most difficult to block.
His answer wasn’t surprising.
“Hands down, Lawrence Taylor,” he said. “Because of his size (and) uncanny strong. We knew about his speed. I mean, he was a man on a mission every time you stepped on a field. His tenacity … his effort … and that was fun. You knew you weren’t going to have any plays off with him. So it made the games pretty exciting.
“There were a lot of great battles we had with the Giants back then with that (defense) that (Bill) Parcells had with Harry Carson and ‘L.T.’ and Leonard Marshall. They had a good defense. So it was a knock-down, drag-out heavyweight fight every time we played. It went 15 rounds.”
Taylor, of course, is a Hall of Famer. So is Jacoby’s former teammate, guard Russ Grimm. He and Jacoby played next to each other on the left side of the Redskins’ offensive line, and the two were … and still are … close friends who knew what they were getting the first time they met Taylor.
“I think we all knew who he was at that point,” said Jacoby. “(Former offensive line coach) Joe Bugel would do drills with me, and I would do pass-sets against wide receivers. No contact. Just getting used to the speed upfield … of me going backward … and that helped me immensely. Because ‘L.T.’ was running … what … 4.5s (in the 40-yard dash)? Maybe a 4.4. So you had to gear yourself for that speed.
“But you just can’t overconfident on that. Because then he comes back with his force and his strength coming straight into you. So you had to be pretty balanced and handle him the best way you could. Maybe the technique wasn’t 100 percent all the time, but the battles went on.”
Between 1982 and 1991 the Giants and Redskins went to six Super Bowls, winning five of them. Washington won in 1982, 1987 and 1991, and, since this is the week we measure just about everything, we asked him to name the best of those three Lombardi Trophy winners.
“Eighty-two was sentimental to me,” he said. “Number one, because it was the first one. Second, because it was on my mother’s birthday. My mother passed away my rookie year in camp. So that was special to me.
“Eighty-seven because of the Super Bowl records in a quarter with the points, Timmy Smith and 204 yards rushing and what Doug (quarterback Doug Williams) did that day. That was just unbelievable football for 15 minutes. Eighteen plays. Three-hundred and fifty-some yards in offense.
“But I would say the most talented team … and probably the best team … was ’91. We were on a mission, and we accomplished it. We give up in 19 games nine sacks. Pretty good for a non-mobile quarterback we had in Mark Rypien. We gave him ample time to throw the football.”