In the Words of Dr. Z: Herb Adderley

Paul Zimmerman, Dr. Z, was a highly respected football writer for several New York newspapers and then Sports Illustrated for over 40 years. His A Thinking Man’s Guide to Pro Football, written in 1970, is a classic in football literature as it engagingly explains the game, its strategy, coaches and players.

Zimmerman talks informatively about a number of 1960s Packers in the book. Here are his thoughts on Hall of Fame cornerback Herb Adderley:

There are some cornerbacks so outstanding, though, so feared, that coaches devote a special scouting report to their capabilities…Such is their disruptive potential on enemy offenses. For many years, Herb Adderley’s trademark was the long interception, the quick karate chop that could turn a game around in a few seconds.

A scouting report on Adderley is reprinted in the book and includes one scout’s advice: “Punishing tackler. Really stings ‘em…Use moving patterns on him. No curls or hooks. Plays your tendencies…Send receivers on patterns Adderley hasn’t seen lately, but it had better work the first time!”

Dr. Z continues:

Adderley’s greatness comes from his speed (he was a hurdles champion at Michigan State), his great instincts and moves, his knowledge of offense (he was an offensive halfback in college), and his size. But there’s another factor. He played on the left side, behind Dave Robinson, an All-NFL corner linebacker, and Robinson, in turn, played behind Willie Davis, an All-NFL defensive end. The great pressure that Davis exerted allowed Robinson occasionally to loosen up and drift back into the short, wide-pass lanes, where his 6’4” 245-pound frame presented a definite obstacle to the quarterback’s line of vision. This allowed Adderley greater freedom than most cornerbacks enjoy.

Dr. Z also adds some perceptive quotes from Herb:

“The thing to remember is that you’re going to get beat. If you don’t, you should be coaching, not playing. The question is, when you get beat, can you recover? You never give up on it. So someone scored a touchdown on you? You should never think about the play that’s past, except briefly, and then only how you’re going to keep your man from doing that again.”

“I’ve had more trouble with [Gary] Collins than any other receiver, and when Frank Ryan was throwing to him, This was the best combination I saw. They had great timing and you couldn’t crowd Collins. The young receivers will tip you off by looking in the direction they’re going to run. But Collins keeps his head down and keeps you guessing. Collins will also disguise his charge so you don’t know if he’s going deep or short.”

“I’ve changed my style of play a little. I used to back straight up and wait for the receiver to make his move. Now I turn to the side and get ready to run. Kids coming out of school these days are so doggoned fast that if you back up they’re on you and gone. I want to play as long as I feel good and as long as I can do the job. How I feel mentally is very important, too. When the time comes that I think I can’t cover this guy or that guy, it’s time to get out of the game, because if you think that way, it’s going to happen.”

1961thadderley2  1961fhadderleydraft

1963tnopassing  1966thadderley

1967thadderley  1970thadderley

The 1961 Fleer and 1963 Topps custom cards are colorized.


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