"New York Times"
October 2, 1970
Written by GEORGE VECSEY
"Coach´s Word For Dryer: Tremendous
The Giants have the eighth worst defensive statistics in professional football right now, but there are moments - particularly when the eye is trained on Fred Dryer - that the defense looks almost formidable.
The tall and wiry right end is one of the main reasons for an improved defense - regardless of the statistics - and he gives them hope of breaking their two-game losing streak against the Saints on Sunday in New Orleans.
"The guy is tremendous", said Norb Hecker, the coach who runs the defense. "Even if the play is on the other side of the field, lots of guys would just give up, but he never stops. The other guys are starting to pick it up."
A prolonged observation of Dryer during a game proves that Hecker is correct. Last week Dryer played opposite Tony Liscio, the seven-year man from Dallas who outweighed him, 264 pounds to 225. Liscio was trying to ride him outside, and sometimes he could, but Dryer kept taking his long strides, pressuring Roger Staubach time after time.
Early in the second quarter he dropped Staubach for a 10-yard pass, putting the Cowboys out of field-goal range. Late in the quarter he got to Staubach again for 9 yards and he missed by inches, getting him six other tmes.
"I´ll tell you something", Hecker said. "He´s going to be cheated if people overlook him for all-pro honors. He´s that good already and he´s getting better. I had Claude Humphrey when I coached Atlanta and Dryer´s better than Humphrey."
There were doubts about Dryer in his rookie year. He reported in a fatigued state because of the College All-Star Game and some older hands had to talk him out of quitting. His problem wasn't on the field; he was a California dreamer in the cold stone canyon.
This year Dryer has channeled his drive on the football field. Perhaps he didn´t like it when the ultra-conservative Giant hierachy harassed him into trimming his blond hair, and he still misses his freedom of the beaches, but nothing seems to bother him on Sundays. He just works.
Dryer is much lighter than most defensive ends, but he is so quick that nobody hits him for long.
"If he got hurt, I´d worry about his weight", Hecker saud, "but he´s very agile and tough. He´ll play with injuries. He broke his nose in the first game and then they broke his helmet last week. But he just took himself off the special team for one play and got his helmet fixed and went right back in."
Hecker is also encouraged by Jim Files´s progress at middle linebacker, by the solidity of Jerry Shay and Jim Kanicki at tackle and by the way Kenny Parker has filled in for the injured Scott Eaton at cornerback.
"If you get used to a system and you improve yourself even by 1 per cent at any position", Hecker said, "you´re that much ahead".