Daryle Lamonica is a rarity- a Notre Dame quarterback who has made it
big in pro football. Ironically, he is a product of one of the least
successful eras in the Fighting Irish's history, the Joe Kuharich teams
There also are contradictions in his outstanding career at Oakland. The
Raiders gladly grabbed Lamonica in a trade before the '67 season after
he served four years as back-up man to Jack Kemp at Buffalo. In his
first three seasons he rewarded their judgment by throwing 89 touchdown
passes, the most ever for a 3-year period in pro football history. And
the Raiders lost only four regular season games during that period. Yet
there were knocks against him.
It was said that Lamonica sometimes was dense under pressure and that he
invited interceptions by insisting on throwing into the teeth of a
3-deep defense. He surged into the 70's, still strong and confident but
still accused by some of being much less than the complete quarterback.
The 29-year-old 8-year veteran should be at the peak of his game for
years ahead and he has fine physical equipment: 6-3 and 215. But he must
work his way from beneath a cloud of doubt.
"He's a kind of mechanical guy," said one scout. "Once his timing is
thrown off, he has terrible days. Go back to the championship game with
the Jets in '68. Here's a guy who throws a lateral and didn't even know
it was a lateral (the Jets recovered the ball and Oakland lost its last
chance to win). How long do you have to play football to know when you
throw a lateral, or at least to go after it?"
"Lamonica throws the long ball spectacularly. He has a real strong arm
and a guy who can go after it in Warren Wells. He has another real good
receiver in Fred Biletnikoff and the team which affords him necessary
time to throw the ball. But I don't think he's quick mentally. He has to
have most things going for him, with a good supporting cast, whereas
guys like Sonny Jurgensen don't."
A top corner back offers another view, however. "Lamonica is one of the
finest at attacking a defense. He's smart, reads defenses well and
throws exceptionally well. Of course, he has two top receivers to help
him. But he mixes plays well. He tends, however, to panic now and then.
Put a little pressure on him and he'll put the ball up for grabs."
A teammate said, "Lamonica is a loner to a certain degree and some guys
don't like him. But they know when he steps on the field he'll be very
"An excellent long passer," said another scout. "Lamonica probably will
throw the bomb more than any other quarterback in pro football. His
weakness would have to be the interception, but he also throws a large
number of touchdowns. He is a very confident quarterback and is
excellent at play selection. He is not considered a good scrambler, but
then he seldom has to be."