NAME: Mike Curtis
TEAMS: 1965-75 Baltimore Colts, 1976 Seattle Seahawks, 1977-78 Washington Redskins
UNIFORM NUMBER: 32
• Very good agility and quickness
• Excellent instincts
• Transitioned well
• Very good tackler
• Slow to shed blocks
• Does not have the straight-away speed to cover running backs and flankers
Curtis displayed excellent instincts, as well as very good quickness and agility. He transitioned well in coverage and showed very good tackling skills. However, he had a habit of going high and missing on tackles. He was slow to shed his blocks and had a habit of getting sealed away from the play. He did not have the speed to cover running backs or flankers that he was responsible for covering. But, he did show the ability to cover from hash mark to hash mark. He did not always take the best angles, but his quickness allowed him to recover and make up ground.
GRADING SPECIFIC FACTORS
OVERALL ATHLETICISM (QAB): 7.4
STRENGTH AND EXPLOSION: 7.7
MENTAL ALERTNESS: 7.6
OVERALL GRADE: 7.6
NUMBER OF GAMES REVIEWED: 7
GAME: December 10, 1966 – Green Bay Packers: 7.3
BOTTOM LINE: This was a Game of the Week film. As a result, not all plays were shown. Curtis lined up as a left outside linebacker and played on the line of scrimmage for the bulk of the game. He showed very good quickness and agility in both run stopping and pass coverage. He could get out of his transition quickly in pass coverage. He was quick to react on the line of scrimmage. However, he could sometimes be slow to shed blocks to make plays. He was willing to take on blockers, but had a habit of being sealed and kicked out. A very good tackler, however, this film did not show many tackles of his. There was one missed tackle of Elijah Pitts (#22) in the fourth quarter. He shed the block of Marv Fleming (#81), but failed to make the tackle of Pitts. In the second quarter, he left his feet, which allowed him to be cut blocked. He was around the ball on many occasions. He was good in zone coverage.
GAME: January 12, 1969 – New York Jets: 7.8
BOTTOM LINE: Curtis lined up as a left outside linebacker and played on the line of scrimmage for the bulk of the game. When he played off the line of scrimmage, he would move from the end of the line to between the left defensive end and left defensive tackle. Curtis showed very good quickness and agility in both run stopping and pass coverage. He could get out of his transition quickly in pass coverage. He was a little slower than the running backs and flankers that he was covering, but he could quickly close to make the tackle with little yards after the catch. The Jets primarily ran to the weak side, away from Curtis. He was quick to react on the line of scrimmage. However, he could sometimes be slow to shed blocks to make plays. A very good tackler. He made several excellent open-field tackles throughout the game. Could cover from hash mark to hash mark quickly to make a play. He had trouble staying on his feet.
GAME: September 28, 1970 – Kansas City Chiefs: 8.0
BOTTOM LINE: Curtis played middle linebacker in the game. He was quick and aggressive in his play. He showed excellent instincts and was quick to diagnose plays. He didn’t take the best angles in his coverage, but he was able to make up ground. Very good tackling, but he had a habit of hitting high and missing the tackle. He displayed a very good ability to shed blocks.
GAME: October 18, 1970 – New York Jets: 7.8
BOTTOM LINE: This is a Game of the Week film. As a result, not all plays are shown. Curtis made an excellent interception in the second quarter. Excellent instincts. Quick to react to the play. On an interception, he quickly got into position to assist in blocking downfield. Late in the second quarter, Curtis had a missed tackle on receiver Eddie Bell (#7) in the middle of the field. Curtis was quick to cover ground in zone coverage.
GAME: January 17, 1971 – Dallas Cowboys: 8.0
BOTTOM LINE: This is a television broadcast. Curtis played middle linebacker throughout the game. Curtis was aggressive, but he tended to overrun the play at times. He was quick to diagnose plays and was always around the ball. He was walled off a few times, but did a very good job shedding blocks and getting through traffic. In the first quarter, Curtis showed excellent red zone play when he pushed the center back into the leading back and stopped Duane Thomas (#33) for a short loss. He showed very good coverage skills. In the fourth quarter, Curtis intercepted a Craig Morton (#14) pass.
GAME: October 25, 1971 – Minnesota Vikings: 7.3
BOTTOM LINE: Curtis played middle linebacker in the game. In the first quarter, he dropped into coverage and almost had an interception. However, later in the quarter, Curtis was covering tight end Stu Voigt (#83). Voigt caught the ball ahead of Curtis and streaked down the sideline. Curtis just stopped on the play. Curtis also struggled in zone coverage. He was aggressive in his coverage, but did not take good angles and spent too much time on the ground.
GAME: October 12, 1975 – Buffalo Bills: 7.3
BOTTOM LINE: This was a Game of the Week film, and not all plays are shown. The Colts’ defense focused on the run. The Colts stacked the box, with Mike Curtis focused on the running backs. He lined up as a middle linebacker. In the first half, the Colts were able to hold O.J. Simpson (#32) to minimal gains. However, Simpson exploded in the second half. Curtis showed excellent reaction times to the running back. He also showed smooth transitions in pass coverage and showed very good tackling skills. However, he was a little slow in pass coverage. In the third quarter, he was covering tight end Paul Seymour (#87). Seymour got a step on him and caught a pass for a 26-yard gain. Curtis did not make the tackle. In the second quarter, Curtis was called for a holding penalty on a sack, which kept a Buffalo drive alive. Also in the second quarter, Curtis failed to make a tackle on Simpson.
HISTORIC REPORTS GRADING SCALE
Hall of Fame
9.0 – Rare
8.5 – Exceptional to Rare
8.0 – Exceptional
Hall of Very Good
7.5 – Very Good to Exceptional
7.0 – Very Good
6.5 – Good to Very Good
6.0 – Good
5.5 – Above Average to Good
5.0 – Above Average
4.5 – Average to Above Average
Ken Crippen is the former executive director of the Professional Football Researchers Association. He has researched and written about pro football history for over two decades. He won the Pro Football Writers of America’s Dick Connor Writing Award for Feature Writing and was named the Ralph Hay Award winner by the Professional Football Researchers Association for lifetime achievement on pro football history.
Matt Reaser is a member of the Professional Football Researchers Association and serves on multiple PFRA committees. He has written articles on football history and recently contributed towards a book on the 1966 Packers. He has researched high school, college and professional football. He is a former high school quarterback.
Follow Ken on Twitter @KenCrippen
NAME: Mike Curtis