They were asked to do completely different things. Taylor was a great pass rusher, but Ham was the more complete LB. If you didn't watch Ham every game in the 70s you really can't comprehend how good he was.
I read and heard interviews that other teams would use the film clips of Jack Ham to train their own linebackers. They said the guy was so in tune with playing that position you thought he invented and then wrote the book on it.
Hinkle, Little, Merriweather, Nickerson, Cole were all great at their trade too. I remember Lambert said after watching Hinkle in practice when he was a rookie, he didn't think he would would have made the team let alone turn out to be such a good player. I think it was Hinkle that played a game with a broken leg.
When watching the NFL channels and they talk about Lambert and how he got his start with the Steelers, they mentioned that Noll had to put Lambert into to play his rookie season because the starter was hurt and then, Lambert held onto the position for he next 10 or 11 seasons. Who was the linebacker Lambert replaced ?
I rememebr when Lambert was out for a game or two and I can't remember who filled in for him but as I watched those games, the opposing teams ran right up the middle on Jacks back up. No one ever ran on Jack Lambert, Jack Ham or Russell.
James Harrison = 64 sacks in 95 games
Harrsion had two great years but Greene did just as much longer and more consistently. I think everyone forgets how dominant Greene was. Ten seasons of double digit sacks with two consecutive seasons of 16.5. Sorry but I'll take him over Harrison all the time.
Greene was an excellent pass rusher for a long time, no question, and his overall career body of work in that area is better than Harrison's. But Harrison does have 29 forced fumbles to Greene's 23, despite a shorter career. Harrison as has 20 pass breakups - not sure of the number for Greene - it is listed as zero, but I'm not sure if the stat was recorded then.
I think Harrison is a better overall linebacker - certainly better in coverage.
NOT EVEN CLOSE.
All you see are sacks dude.
Greene was a ONE TRICK PONY. Great at it but sacks but nothing else. He is closer to Gildon than anyone discussed here.
You are right he was consistent for a long period with gaudy career sack numbers.
Greene was not the best LBer ON HIS Steeler TEAM much less of all time. GLloyd by a long shot. DL said it in his interview and he know better than you or I.
Harrison COMBINED Greenes sack ability with Lloyds run game dominance.
Double digit sacks and triple digit tackles routinely.
Look it up OV, NOBODY does that period- league-wide.
Pass rush like Greene, run D like Glloyd or Ham. Makes the biggest defensive play in team SB history IN COVERAGE. Harrison can dominate a game in all phases, all over the place. Kevin Greene could never do that.
I'll give Greene props on longevity, Harrison started late and is breaking down.
But at their peak?
Harrison was the best defender in THIS LEAGUE.
As a Steeler, Greene was never the best defender on his team.