NEWS AND NOTES
PACKERS CUT 12, MEET LIMIT
SEPTEMBER 20 (Green Bay) - Coach Liz Blackbourn wasted little time trimming the Packer squad to 33 men Monday, the league limit which was to be met Sunday when Green Bay opens its 36th season against Pittsburgh here. Getting the axe were eight backs, two guards, a center and an end. They were: quarterback Elry Falkenstein, halfback Bud Roffler, fullback Clyde Sanders, halfback Evan Slonac, halfback Tom Pagna, linebacker Nick Adduci, linebacker Lou Mihajlovich, linebacker Mike Maccioli, guard Dick Coleman, guard Mike Takacs, center Charles Grant and end Hosea Sims. That left the Packers with quarterbacks Tobin Rote and rookie Bobby Garrett to direct play with two fullbacks, eight halfbacks, three centers, five guards, six tackles and seven ends. The Packers heard the scouting report of the Steeler-Lion game Monday morning. Detroit crushed Pittsburgh, 42-14, Sunday. In the afternoon Blackbourn directed workouts with concentration on protecting the punter. Mistakes in that department ruined a fine Green Bay performance Saturday as the Giants capitalized on the miscues for a 38-27 win. Earlier, Blackbourn announced that tackle Jon Bauer, former Illinois star who was obtained from the Browns in the Parilli-Garrett deal, was traded to the Giants for an undisclosed draft choice.
AN OLD STORY: MORE GAMES LOST THAN WON
SEPTEMBER 21 (Milwaukee Sentinel-Lloyd Larson) - It is often said that more game are lost than are won. In other words, the team that makes the least mistakes generally wins and, conversely, the club guilty of the most errors loses. Although the principle involved applies also to individual sports like golf and tennis, and to other forms of team competition like baseball and basketball, it is spotlighted oftener perhaps in football. The Packers certainly emphasized the point in their 1954 Milwaukee debut last Saturday night at Marquette Stadium, where they dropped a 38-27 decision to the much improved New York Giants. Liz Blackbourn's boys could have won that thrilling contest, well played on an overall basis, but for a couple of particularly damaging bloopers - both boomerang deals on attempted punts. Fourth down punts usually are routine and foolproof in pro ball, but routine operations went haywire and so did the Packers as a result. The most damaging came early in the third period after the Bays had zoomed to a 20-17 halftime lead and seemed to be getting the battle under control. Max McGee didn't get a chance to kick, for the pass from center was bad. The Giants gained possession only 16 yards from touchdown territory and, obviously lifted by the break, scored in three plays to take a lead they never relinquished...AND MORE OF THE SAME: Green Bay was still in the ball game, 31-27, when kicking disaster struck again late in the game, this time in the form of a clean block of the ball as it left McGee's foot deep in his own territory. The leather rolled out of bounds on the Packer seven and once again the Giants cashed in. They needed three downs and had to switch from ramming the Bays' line to passing, but they finally cashed in. Which is all that counts. Add the perfect touchdown pass that was dropped in the clear near the Giant goal line, a TD that could very well have iced the game for the home club early in the second half, and the fouled up pass play that lost more than 20 yards in the next series of downs, and the Packers' "mistake" case rests. The game, the last of six exhibitions, naturally doesn't count in the league standings. It's part of the philosophical view, too, to say that if disastrous mistakes are to be made, it's much better to make them before they start playing for keeps. Yet one can't gloss over the fact that victory is a sweet thing at any time - a mighty helpful thing, too, to a team in the rebuilding process like the Packers. They need all the confidence they can muster - confidence born of winning. Well, that's that for the pre-season business. The Packers have come a long way since mid-August. If they keep on improving, they can give the favorites a real run for their money and win their reasonable share, too.
PICK PACKERS OVER STEELERS BY 6 POINTS
SEPTEMBER 23 (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) - They have never done it before and the oddsmakers predict they'll fail again by six points but the Pittsburgh Steelers have hopes of winning for the first time on Sunday in Green Bay's City Stadium, part-time home of the Packers. The local pros open their NFL campaign in the compact little bowl which seats 25,500 and are eager to avenge a 36-14 loss here which didn't count because it was an exhibition. The all-time series stands at 10 to 5 in favor of the Packers but the abroad victories of the Steelers were gained in the State Fairgrounds, Milwaukee, where the Packers played a few "home" games each season. Of course, they have now switched to the new Milwaukee County Stadium. Word from Green Bay yesterday was to the effect that 16,000 tickets had already been sold and at least 20,000 are expected for the debut of Lisle Blackbourn as new head coach. There was one absentee from the Steeler training camp at Ligonier. Guard Rudy Andabaker, former Pitt star who returned from the squad this year after a hitch in the Army, is still uncertain due to a leg injury suffered in an early exhibition game. He will be examined here today by Dr. Phil Faix, team physician, but it seems unlikely he will see any action in the lidlifter. Quarterback Paul Held and defensive end Dewey Brundage, rookies secured from the Detroit Lions, were given special attention yesterday by Coach Walter Kiesling. Of course Jimmy Finks will start at the field general's position but Held is the only reserve available now that Maury Duncan and Bill Mackrides have been released. Brundage takes over the troublesome left win where the departure of giant George Tarasovic via the Army draft has left the Steeler defense extremely vulnerable. Several candidates tried there have failed to fill the bill.
LATTNER BEST SINCE DUDLEY
SEPTEMBER 23 (Green Bay) - Bullet Bill Dudley was well remembered by Packers fans as Mr. Pittsburgh Steeler. Dudley has long vanished from the professional ranks, but Steeler coaches are praising a rookie this season as their best prospect since Bullet Bill galloped for Pittsburgh. He's Johnny Lattner, Notre Dame's bread and butter player of the past two season. Lattner, Pittsburgh's first draft choice, has lived up to all expectations and then some. His play in exhibition action has earned him a starting halfback assignment when the Steelers clash with the Packers at City Stadium Sunday. Running opposite Lattner will be Lynn Chadnois, rated as one of the top backs in the NFL. Coach Walt Kiesling, who took over last month for Joe Bach, has juggled personnel since the Packers romped to an easy 36-14 exhibition win and promises his Steelers won't be the "soft touch" they were in August. Paul Cameron, another great rookie, has been shifted from an offensive left halfback to the defensive platoon. This was caused when Art De Carlo was called into service this week. Cameron will become a safety man. Packer coach Liz Blackbourn, knowing Sunday's game is for keeps, has made a few changes himself for Pittsburgh. Blackbourn has decided to use rookie halfback Veryl Switzer on defense. The scat back will also share offensive duties with Al Carmichael at right half. The Packers should be at their best physical condition for Pittsburgh. Guard Al Barry, fullback Fred Cone and tackle Art Hunter, injured in the New York game Sunday, will be ready. For the first time in a long time the Packers will rule favorites over the Steelers, mainly because of the lopsided exhibition victory. However, since 1945, the Packers have been able to beat Pittsburgh only two of seven games. With the weather outlook favorable, a crowd of well over 20,000 is expected. Tickets are still available in three price ranges - $4.75, $3.50 and $2.40.
FIVE NEW HEAD COACHES IN NATIONAL PRO LEAGUE
SEPTEMBER 23 (United Press) - The 12-team NFL begins its 35th season Sunday with five new head coaches and all of them appear to be headed for plenty of loser's weekends. Wilbur (Weeb) Ewbank, Baltimore Colts; Jim Lee Howell, New York Giants; Lisle Blackbourn, Green Bay Packers; Walt Kiesling, Pittsburgh Steelers and Joe Kuharich, Washington Redskins, are the new field leaders. Kiesling recently became the Steeler boss for the third time and Kuharich formerly was head coach of the Chicago Cardinals so they have previous experience in trying to beat the league's talent rich clubs. Of the new coaches, Ewbank posted the best exhibition record. He doesn't have the wealth of talent he handled for the past five years as tackle coach for the Cleveland Browns, but his Colts won four of their five exhibition games. Only the champion Detroit Lions, San Francisco 49ers, and Philadelphia - all of whom have strong squads, established coaching staffs and title hopes - equaled or bettered Baltimore's showing. The Colts made their strong warm-up record against Eastern Division clubs and Baltimore's regular season spot in the Western Division. That means two games apiece against such powerhouses as Detroit, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Howell and Blackbourn each compiled 2-4 exhibition records. Howell, former end coach for the Giants, plans to emphasize offense. The Giants were noted for their strong defensive units in the past under Steve Owen. Howell is the club's first new head coach since Owen took the job in 1931. All the new coaches except Blackbourn have had experience in the NFL as assistants or head coaches. Blackbourn came straight to the Packers from Marquette University, where he had an impressive collegiate record. Like Ewbank, he will be tested in the rugged Western Division. Kiesling replaced Joe Bach as Pittsburgh head coach after the team lost its first three exhibitions. The Steelers wound up with a 1-6 record, handing Baltimore its only pre-season loss. Kuharich replaced Curly Lambeau after the exhibition campaign was underway and the Redskins finished it with an 0-6 mark.
ROONEY STILL THINKS STEELERS CAN TOP DIVISION
SEPTEMBER 24 (Pittsburgh Press) - Art Rooney, outspoken owner of the Steelers, said today he still thinks his team can win the NFL's Eastern Division championship - if it tries hard enough. The graying Irishman from the North Side, relaxing in a swivel chair and chewing vigorously at the frayed end of an unlit cigar, had just returned from Ligonier, Pa., where he had watched his team preparing for Sunday's game with the Green Bay Packers. "Every time I see those guys practice," he began slowly, half apologetically, "they look like world beaters. But when the gun goes off, something always happens." The "something" he referred to were 36-14, 37-14 and 42-14 defeats administered by the Packers, San Francisco Forty-Niners and Detroit Lions in preseason games. "I've been
in this league a long time," Rooney continued,
"but I've had some good teams and some lousy
teams but this is the first team I can't figure out
at all. We have good personnel. At least when I
look at the payroll I figure these guys must be
good. They can't be bums. Not at the money
they're getting." Rooney though the biggest
problem is in the team's mental approach to the
game. "What's that remark you wrote about Paul
Brown?" he asked. "That business about football
being a game of heart and emotions? That's the
answer. I think Brown hit the nail right on the
head. The team that wins in this league is the
team that wants to win. And if this team gets it
in its head that it wants to win, if it tries hard
enough, it can win the division championship."
Rooney, victim of more than his share of
disappointments since bringing pro football to
Pittsburgh 21 years ago, is solidly behind his
coaching staff. "I have no criticism of the
coaching," he said. "(Walt) Kiesling is working
harder at his job right now than any coach in the
league. In fact, the only complaint I have is that
he's working too hard. The whole staff is putting
in 16 hours a day on football."
PACKERS TO START FOUR ROOKIES IN OPENER
SEPTEMBER 24 (Green Bay) - Four rookies have been given starting assignments by coach Liz Blackbourn for the Packers' league opener against the Steelers at City Stadium Sunday. Given the nod were end Max McGee, guard Al Barry, tackle Art Hunter and defensive halfback Don Miller. McGee was nominated for his left end spot in favor of veteran Bobby Mann, whose knee injury is still bothersome. Blackbourn concealed his 33-man squad inside the baseball park here Friday as the squad tapered off drills. Linebacker Deral Teteak, who broke his ankle a month ago at the Stevens Point training site, was the only Packer not taking part in the active drills. Teteak was placed on the inactive list but will be ready for action against the 49ers at Milwaukee October 10. The Steelers are scheduled to arrive here Saturday afternoon from their Ligonier, PA training camp. They will hold a light drill upon arriving. Incidentally, a unique situation has arisen in this pro hotbed. Curly Lambeau, Gene Ronzani and Blackbourn (the only coaches the Packers have ever had) will be present at the game Sunday. Lambeau arrived in town early this week strictly on a pleasure trip, saying he's not interested in any kind of professional head coaching job. Ronzani, who coached the Packers for four seasons before Blackbourn took over, will be with the Steelers as their backfield coach. The advance sale is over 18,000, with good weather the prediction for Sunday. The crowd is expected to go well over 20,000. However, tickets are still available in all price ranges.
KIESLING, RONZANI IN OLD HAUNTS
SEPTEMBER 24 (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) - Two Pittsburgh Steeler coaching will be returning to familiar scenes on Sunday when the Black and Gold starts its NFL campaign in Green Bay against the Packers. Walter Kiesling, head skipper of the Rooneymen, played guard for the Bays when they were Western Division runnersup in 1935 and league champions in 1936. He returned as an assistance coach to Curly Lambeau from 1945 through 1948 so he knows his way around the little Wisconsin football hotbed. Gene Ronzani, backfield mentor for the locals, spent almost four seasons as head tutor in Packertown but was dropped near the end of 1953. The former Chicago Bear star is close-lipped concerning the circumstances of his departure but makes no secret of his desire to help "Kies" plaster the Packers in their own backyard. The Steeler faithful remain hopeful of success despite an underdog role for their team in the pregame odds. They like to recall last season's NFL triumph here by 31-14 when the home team rolled up 282 yards rushing to only 34 for the Packers. Fran Rogel, veteran fullback, ran wild with 169 yards in 19 attempts. But the painful part in the memory course comes from that 36-14 exhibition loss which cost Joe Bach his job last month. Coach Lisle Blackbourn's invaders blocked punts, dropped on fumbles and uncorked enough offense of their own to send most of the customers home in disgust long before the final whistle. Neither club has set the grid world on fire since that eventful Saturday night. The Steelers lost to the Eagles, 49ers and Lions, considered top-notchers, and beat the Colts. The Packers failed against the Eagles and Giants but trimmed the Redskins.