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TrueBlue4ever

The MBB All-Time Blue Bomber Team: Defensive Ends

The MBB All-Time Blue Bomber Team: Defensive Ends  

29 members have voted

This poll is closed to new votes
  1. 1. Who are the greatest defensive ends in Blue Bomber history (choose 2)?

    • Tom Canada
      2
    • Pete Catan
      4
    • Herb Gray
      17
    • Michael Gray
      8
    • Jim Heighton
      3
    • Bud Marquandt
      1
    • Jeff Nicklin
      1
    • Tony Norman
      9
    • Gavin Walls
      5
    • Jamaal Westerman
      2
    • Bill Whisler
      3
    • Odell Willis
      1

  • Please sign in or register to vote in this poll.
  • Poll closed on 01/19/19 at 05:59 AM

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Here are the bios. Vote for 2 of them:

NOTE:

Tackles were not recorded before 1987, so any tackle numbers will not be complete for players who played before that year.

Sacks were not recorded before 1981, so any sack numbers will not be complete for players who played before that year.

 

Tom Canada – 81 games in 5 seasons (2004-08), 1 int., 45 yards, 1 TD, 6 fumble recoveries, 0 yards, 171 tackles, 41 sacks, 2 time divisional all-star (2004, 07), team nominee Most Outstanding Rookie 2004, team nominee Most Outstanding Defensive player 2007, 2007 Grey Cup appearance

Pete Catan – 41 games in 3 seasons (1981-83), 6 fumble recoveries, 26 yards, no tackle stats available, 26.5 sacks, 1982 divisional and CFL all-star, team nominee Most Outstanding Rookie 1981

Herb Gray – 156 games in 10 seasons (1956-65), 2 Int., 21 yards, 2 TD, 12 fumble recoveries, 42 yards, no tackle or sack stats available, 4 time team nominee most outstanding lineman (1957, 59, 60, 63),  CFL Most Outstanding Lineman (1960), 7 time divisional all-star (1957-62, 65), 1962 CFL all-star (*first year a league wide all-star award was given in addition to the divisional award), 4 time Grey Cup Champion (1958, 59, 61, 62), 6 Grey Cup appearances (1957-59, 61, 62, 65), CFL Hall of Fame, Blue Bomber defensive player of the half century (1930-80)

Michael Gray – 107 games in 7 seasons (1987-93), 9 fumble recoveries, 26 yards, 1 TD, 223 tackles, 43 sacks, 1989 divisional all-star, 1988 Grey Cup defensive MOP, 2 time grey Cup champion (1988, 90) , 4 Grey Cup appearances (1988, 90, 92, 93)

Jim Heighton – 125 games in 8 seasons (1970-77), 1 Int., 26 yards, 9 fumble recoveries, 8 yards, 1TD, no tackle or sack totals available, 2 time divisional all-star (1972, 74), team nominee Most Outstanding defensive player 1974, 2 time team nominee Most Outstanding Canadian (1974, 76)

Bud Marquandt – no stats available, bio reads: NDSU grad, 7 seasons (1935-41), 3 time divisional all-star (1937, 39, 40) as an end, 3 time Grey Cup champion (1935, 39, 41)

Jeff Nicklin – no stats available, his bio reads: born and raised Winnipegger, 7 seasons (1934-40), 4 time divisional all-star (1937-38 as an outside wing, 1939-40 as a flying wing), also played halfback and end, 2 time Grey Cup Champion, military career with Royal Winnipeg Rifles and C.O. of 1st Cdn. Parachute Battalion, one of the first paratroopers who jumped on D-Day, killed in action in 1945, the Jeff Nicklin Memorial trophy is annually awarded to the Most Outstanding Player in the CFL Western Division.

Tony Norman – 95 games in 7 seasons (1980-86), 1 Int., 3 yards, 7 fumble recoveries, 46 yards, no tackle totals available, 59 sacks, 3 time divisional all-star (1983-85), 1984 Grey Cup champion

Gavin Walls – 82 games in 5 seasons (2005-09), 1 Int., 10 yards, 1 TD, 5 fumble recoveries, 114 yards, 2 TD, 197 tackles, 47 sacks, 3 time divisional all-star (2005,06,08), 2005 team nominee for Most Outstanding defensive player, 2005 CFL Rookie of the Year, 2007 Grey Cup appearance

Jamaal Westerman – 47 games in 3 seasons (2015-17), 127 tackles, 32 sacks, 2015 divisional, CFL, and CFLPA all-star, 2015 team nominee for Outstanding Player and Outstanding defensive player, and 2015 Western nominee for outstanding Canadian player

Bill Whisler – 108 games in 8 seasons (1962-69), 4 Int., 20 yards, 8 fumble recoveries, 32 yards, no tackle or sack totals available, 4 time divisional all-star (1964, 67-69), 2 time team nominee Most Outstanding Lineman (1964, 67), Grey Cup Champion (1962), 2 Grey Cup appearances (1962, 65)

Odell Willis – 43 games in 3 seasons (2009-11), 1 fumble recovery, 0 yards, 67 tackles, 28 sacks, 2010 CFLPA all-star, 2011 divisional and CFL all-star, 2011 Grey Cup appearance

 

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I'll give my full "one man's take" later, but if Herb Gray is not the runaway winner here, I don't know what to say to you people, or why I bothered with this poll in the first place. And he retired before I was born, so I never saw him play. But he is a legendary Bomber figure, so despite the position evolving and the inherent increase in physical skill and size of today's players, it is a crime if he is not on this team. With almost 90 years of history and glory years in the 1960's, we can't just have representation from the 1980's onward on this club.

The second player may be a bit of a toss-up, with maybe 2 or 3 co-favorites but possibly 7 in contention jockeying for position. Stay tuned for my analysis.

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8 minutes ago, Noeller said:

I want to vote for Tom Canada and Herb Gray, but I'm just not 100% sure.....

If you vote for Grey you wouldn't be wasting your vote. He was absolutely outstanding those Johnny Michels  defenses that won 4 Grey Cups during the Bud Grant era. If there is one player from that era I'd like to see win this competition it's Herb Grey.  As far as modern day players go... back into the 70's ( yeah, yeah, I'm old myself so the 70's don't seem that long ago ;) ) Tony Norman was just a dominant force for so long on the DL. Just a helluva player. The third on my list but I can't vote for him as I can only pick 2  was Jim Heighton.  A mainstay on the Bombers DL for years.  

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13 minutes ago, TrueBlue4ever said:

I'll give my full "one man's take" later, but if Herb Gray is not the runaway winner here, I don't know what to say to you people, or why I bothered with this poll in the first place. And he retired before I was born, so I never saw him play. But he is a legendary Bomber figure, so despite the position evolving and the inherent increase in physical skill and size of today's players, it is a crime if he is not on this team. With almost 90 years of history and glory years in the 1960's, we can't just have representation from the 1980's onward on this club.

 

Hear! Hear!! I haven't always agreed with your takes regarding some Bomber players of the past but I do this time. Herb Gray deserves to be on this team!!

 

Image result for picard make it so

Edited by SpeedFlex27

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3 minutes ago, SpeedFlex27 said:

If you vote for Grey you wouldn't be wasting your vote. He was absolutely outstanding those Johnny Michels  defenses that won 4 Grey Cups during the Bud Grant era. If there is one player from that era I'd like to see win this competition it's Herb Grey.  As far as modern day players go... back into the 70's ( yeah, yeah, I'm old myself so the 70's don't seem that long ago ;) ) Tony Norman was just a dominant force for so long on the DL. Just a helluva player. The third on my list but I can't vote for him as I can only pick 2  was Jim Heighton.  A mainstay on the Bombers DL for years.  

imma be honest......when I saw I had a notification of Iso quoting me, I was certain that I was being lectured for poor choices....ha ha.

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One man's take:

Herb Gray, as I said, is a runaway winner here, or certainly should be. I pray he does not suffer from recency bias, because like Rod Hill at cornerback, Greg Battle at middle linebacker and Ty Jones at outside linebacker, he is head and shoulders above the competition. 6 straight all-star nods and 7 overall is unparalleled on this or almost any club at this position. Bomber defensive player of the half century, 'nuff said. And all the team success to boot. One of the greatest players on the greatest Bomber era of all. Vote him in, people.

As for #2, there is no clear favourite. I will put them in groups, but not necessarily worst to first. 

The older guard: Nicklin and Marquandt both played in the 30's and 40's when the role of a defensive lineman was different, and two-way players were the standard. Impossible to compare eras in this way, and the important tackle and sack stats did not exist, so I cannot properly judge. What I can say in Nicklin's case is that he's the only Bomber with a league trophy named after him, and my everlasting respect and gratitude for his military service. God bless. 

Whisler in the 60's and Heighton in the 70's both had strong achievements in all-star nom and league award areas, and again the lack of tackle or sack stats make it hard to grade them against the others. A lack of team success for most of both of their careers lowers their profile. I would encourage any who saw them play to give them a fair shout out, as I cannot. So I am not dismissing their merits, I simply cannot judge them fairly and don't have a league success or "Legend" context to categorize them in like Herb Gray, so I will not personally consider them as my second choice.

Of the remaining 7 players I have seen, here is how I view them:

Pete Catan - with Tony Norman on the other side, gave the early '80's Bombers a great outside push on the line (both players had multiple 10+sack seasons playing together). He gets bonus points for being a model rocket enthusiast who attached rockets to his helmet at practice and fired them off into the stands on occasion. But he played for fewer years and had smaller stats that his teammate Tony, so he will not make the top 2. 

Odell Willis and Jamaal Westerman - both were very impressive in short spurts, and their sack totals look impressive for the limited number of career games they played, but each loses out to me because they just weren't here long enough and 40-some games is not the stuff of an all-timer for me. Willis may gain or lose points depending on your perspective of the whole "Mayor of Swaggerville" phenomenon (if you like or dislike trash talk and boasting with your play).

Tom Canada - People loved his motor, but I wonder if he would be a fan favourite if his name was "Tom Germany" or some other country's moniker? Still, he put up some good numbers but just below the stats and all-star noms of the remaining 3, so I put him just behind them.

That leaves me with 3 co-favourites for one spot, and any of these 3 would be a fine choice. Starting with: 

The Dark Horse: Gavin Walls - does not have the name recognition of the other 2, and pure reputation carries a lot of weight when voting on all-time best. But I look at his numbers and they speak well to his talent, overall skill set and athleticism. Bigger tackle numbers per games played than the others, and big fumble return yards and TDs speak of his speed off the edge and nose for the ball, and he had more sacks in fewer games (1.5 season's worth) than Mike Gray. Playing in a dead era of Bomber football, devoid of team success, probably sinks his chances to be considered, but he was consistently strong from start to almost finish of his time here. Maybe deserves a better fate than #4 in my ranking, but that is where I put him.

The Immaculate: Mike Gray will forever be known for one play. He could live to be 200 years old, and in his obituary the first line will read "The Immaculate Interception". This cuts 2 ways, as it raises his street cred and his profile more than all other players and gives him a voting boost (winning an MVP award in a Grey Cup should count for more when measuring achievements, though), but may hurt him for those who believe he isn't more than that one play. Well, #1 in tackles, #2 in fumble recoveries and Grey Cup appearances, #3 in games played, sacks, and Grey Cups won, and #4 in seasons played put him near the top of most categories when compared to his competition on this list. Never a team nominee for defensive player of the year, but when your competition is Battle, West, Jones, Hill and Payton, just being a known name with that group speaks volumes. Again, only one divisional all-star nod hurts his cause. Depending on my mood, could slot below Walls or ahead of Norman, so split the difference and put him at #3 all-time.

The foundation for greatness: Tony Norman - as Speedflex will agree, we are drawn to those we grow up watching first when we look at our perceived "best ever", so like his justifiable promotion of 70's players not to be overlooked, I was weaned on the early '80's stars and have a bias for them. Tony Norman straddled those two eras, and brought the Bomber defence back to prominence as the team returned to glory in 1984. He defined what a rush end should be in that era, and was to the d-line what Jones and Brown were to the linebacking corps at that time. Most sacks by far of any player on this list whose stats were recorded, and shouldn't that be the biggest criteria to consider for a rush end? Had the longevity and sustained success (3 straight all-star nods) to warrant consideration for all-timer. Never "the" superstar, but more than a solid contributor his whole time here. But for all the talent around him, would have had a higher profile as "the leader" on most defences, IMO. And bonus points for officially ending the Eskimo dynasty (his 4th quarter sack, forced fumble, and fumble recovery all on one play against Warren Moon while being double-teamed was  one of the most athletic plays I have ever witnessed live, and sealed the 1983 semi-final win against Edmonton and ended their 5 year reign as Grey Cup champions).

The early voting seems to favour Norman, and I won't disagree with that sentiment, but if Gray and Gray ended up together, or Gavin Walls snuck in, I'd have no problem with that either.

But again, Herb Gray, make it happen. Anything less than #1 in votes is an injustice to him.

 

Edited by TrueBlue4ever

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This bio from bluebombers.com and the Hall of Fame section regarding Jeff Nicklin. A true hero whom we can thank for our freedom today.

"Nicklin was sent overseas to Europe as part of the Royal Winnipeg Rifles and was then named the Commanding Officer of the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion.

He was one of the first Canadians to jump on D-Day in 1944, led his division in the Battle of the Bulge and was among the first to jump into Germany as part of Operation Varsity in March of 1945. Alas, his chute got tangled up in a tree and he was shot and killed as he tried to wrestle free.

As a tribute to Nicklin, the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion donated the Jeff Nicklin Memorial Trophy to the Western Interprovincial Football Union in 1946, and it is awarded annually to the top player in the Canadian Football League’s West Division."

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2 hours ago, TrueBlue4ever said:

Just under 12 hours left to get your votes in, and a real barn burner for the second spot here. For the first time in any of the position polls, every nominee in the category has at least one vote.

If we have a tie, is there a re-vote with just two options?

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On 2019-01-11 at 11:50 PM, TrueBlue4ever said:

One man's take:

Herb Gray, as I said, is a runaway winner here, or certainly should be. I pray he does not suffer from recency bias, because like Rod Hill at cornerback, Greg Battle at middle linebacker and Ty Jones at outside linebacker, he is head and shoulders above the competition. 6 straight all-star nods and 7 overall is unparalleled on this or almost any club at this position. Bomber defensive player of the half century, 'nuff said. And all the team success to boot. One of the greatest players on the greatest Bomber era of all. Vote him in, people.

As for #2, there is no clear favourite. I will put them in groups, but not necessarily worst to first. 

The older guard: Nicklin and Marquandt both played in the 30's and 40's when the role of a defensive lineman was different, and two-way players were the standard. Impossible to compare eras in this way, and the important tackle and sack stats did not exist, so I cannot properly judge. What I can say in Nicklin's case is that he's the only Bomber with a league trophy named after him, and my everlasting respect and gratitude for his military service. God bless. 

Whisler in the 60's and Heighton in the 70's both had strong achievements in all-star nom and league award areas, and again the lack of tackle or sack stats make it hard to grade them against the others. A lack of team success for most of both of their careers lowers their profile. I would encourage any who saw them play to give them a fair shout out, as I cannot. So I am not dismissing their merits, I simply cannot judge them fairly and don't have a league success or "Legend" context to categorize them in like Herb Gray, so I will not personally consider them as my second choice.

Of the remaining 7 players I have seen, here is how I view them:

Pete Catan - with Tony Norman on the other side, gave the early '80's Bombers a great outside push on the line (both players had multiple 10+sack seasons playing together). He gets bonus points for being a model rocket enthusiast who attached rockets to his helmet at practice and fired them off into the stands on occasion. But he played for fewer years and had smaller stats that his teammate Tony, so he will not make the top 2. 

 

 

 

Three year standout for the BB (81-83)...Made 121 career tackles (91 solo) in a total of 41 games... Recorded 38 QB sacks and 7 fumble recoveries...Western All-Star & team defensive MVP in 1982 when he logged 55 tackles (44 solo) & 18 sacks...Selected twice in 82 as Player of the Week...Missed 5 games in '83 due to a knee injury.

Started 11 of his 15 games with the Houston Gamblers (USFL) in 1984, missing the team's first-ever game because of contractual obligations with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers... Did not play in weeks 7 and 8 due to a left tricep injury... In 1984 Catan finished second in the USFL with 17 1/2 quarterback sacks and also logged two fumble recoveries. 

(http://www.houston-gamblers.com/id23.html)

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Pete Catan's Ghost said:

Three year standout for the BB (81-83)...Made 121 career tackles (91 solo) in a total of 41 games... Recorded 38 QB sacks and 7 fumble recoveries...Western All-Star & team defensive MVP in 1982 when he logged 55 tackles (44 solo) & 18 sacks...Selected twice in 82 as Player of the Week...Missed 5 games in '83 due to a knee injury.

Started 11 of his 15 games with the Houston Gamblers (USFL) in 1984, missing the team's first-ever game because of contractual obligations with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers... Did not play in weeks 7 and 8 due to a left tricep injury... In 1984 Catan finished second in the USFL with 17 1/2 quarterback sacks and also logged two fumble recoveries. 

(http://www.houston-gamblers.com/id23.html)

 

 

 

I really think that the ghost of Pete Catan should probably recuse himself from the both the discussion and voting!

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I welcome all input and bio additions, especially those who cite their sources. For everyone’s information, I am gleaning my stats from cfldb.ca and justsportsstats.com (or their sister site Stats Crew) as well as bluebombers.com and cfl.ca. My sources did not have the tackle stats attributed to the Houston Gamblers website, and the sack totals there do not jibe with my sources, but we are limited to what the internet will tell us absent actual game sheets, which I don’t have access to. I strive for accuracy, but recognize my limitations. 

Edited by TrueBlue4ever

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9 hours ago, TrueBlue4ever said:

I welcome all input and bio additions, especially those who cite their sources. For everyone’s information, I am gleaning my stats from cfldb.ca and justsportsstats.com (or their sister site Stats Crew) as well as blue bombers.com and cfl.ca. My sources did not have the tackle stats attributed to the Houston Gamblers website, and the sack totals there do not jibe with my sources, but we are limited to what the internet will tell us absent actual game sheets, which I don’t have access to. I strive for accuracy, but recognize my limitations. 

And if you cannot recognize your limitations, just ask your wife.

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1 hour ago, Tracker said:

And if you cannot recognize your limitations, just ask your wife.

Oh, I don’t need to ask. That information comes free of charge. 

Seriously, though, she is absolutely lovely (OK, she’s not looking over my shoulder now). We have a great relationship. She walks on the ground I worship. 

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47 minutes ago, wbbfan said:

I feel like kicker and punter are pretty straight forward. Gonna do other special teams though, maybe some cover guys? 

Punter is really a choice of 2, the obvious call for Cameron, or the wildcard Jon Ryan, who was clearly a better punter, but maybe not a greater punter, if that makes sense. Kicker could come down to 3 or 4 options. I will be doing returners in a separate category (but will be lumping kick returner and punt returner into one category), and then "special teams player" which will be focussed on cover specialists and long snappers.

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12 minutes ago, TrueBlue4ever said:

Punter is really a choice of 2,

No, wrong. Punter is Bob Cameron. I don't give a **** if Jon Ryan could kick the bloody piss out of the ball or went on to a good NFL career, Bob Cameron is the greatest Bomber punter AINEC. How many punters almost single handledly win a team a Grey Cup?

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24 minutes ago, 17to85 said:

No, wrong. Punter is Bob Cameron. I don't give a **** if Jon Ryan could kick the bloody piss out of the ball or went on to a good NFL career, Bob Cameron is the greatest Bomber punter AINEC. How many punters almost single handledly win a team a Grey Cup?

Like I said, Cameron is the GREATER punter, but Ryan was the BETTER punter. But let's not get ahead of ourselves in the voting process.

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