PACKER TROUBLES START IN SMOKE FILLED ROOM
NOVEMBER 20 (Milwaukee Journal - Oliver Kuechle) - No few of Green Bay's troubles this football season, and the Packers have lost four games in a row and are settled in last place in the Western Division, can be traced right back to their own failures in a smoke filled room. They haven't drafted well. The team is sputtering as it is today not because it doesn't have good passing (Rote on a hot day is as good as any of them) or good pass catching (Howton and Knafelc can catch the ball with any of them) or a hard driving fullback (Ferguson on two good legs can drive with the best) or the makings of a good line generally (except for guards) or good coaching, or good conception of attack, or good conception of defense. The team is sputtering as it is largely because it doesn't have any grade A halfbacks - blockers or runners...WHERE, OH WHERE? Where is a back like Lenny Moore (Baltimore) or Preston Carpenter (Cleveland) or Howard Cassady and Don McIlhenny (Detroit) or Joe Marconi (Los Angeles) or Henry Moore (New York) - and they are all in their very first year. Or where is a back like Long Gone Dupre (Baltimore) or Bobby Watkins (Bears) or Dave Middleton (Detroit) or Ron Waller (Los Angeles) or Dick Moegle (San Francisco) - and they are only in their second year. The Packers just haven't got 'em, let alone top notch halfbacks of an older vintage, and in the draft they had a crack at most of them. The Packers have gone with Breezy Reid, finally released the other day or Al Carmichael, a fine platoon man on punts and kickoffs but not a driving back from scrimmage, or Joe Johnson, a scrappy little fellow, but not a game breaker, or Jack Losch, who was No. 1 on their list this year but who has not come up to expectations, or Bill Roberts, who was picked up as a free agent. The halfback situation is just a little sad...TOUGH LUCK, TOO: One extenuating point there may be. Lisle Blackbourn took over with things so badly run down, he began to build from the bottom. He wanted a defense and he drafted linemen above all in his first couple of years. And he has had just a little tough luck in some of the backs he did draft. Buddy Leake of Oklahoma, drafted high in 1955, decided to play ball in Canada and Veryl Switzer of Kansas State, drafted in 1954, and a dandy, was called by the military. Generally, though, the drafting of the backs has left a lot to be desired - and today it is showing up. Of 31 backs drafted since Blackbourn took over, exactly two are with the club today: Losch and Bart Starr. Two others who would be with the club are in the service: Switzer and Max McGee. Just take a look at the backs who haven't cut it in the last three years, or who refused to report or who quit football:
1956 - Bob Burris of Oklahoma (No. 6 in the draft), Gordon Duvall of SC (9), Bob Laughrey of Maryland (10), Max Burnett of Arizona (12), Charlie Thomas of Wisconsin (14), Vaughn Alliston of Mississippi (15), Hal O'Brien of SMU (21), John Popson of Furman (22), Bob Lance of Florida (28) and Rod Hermes of Beloit (30).
1955 - Buddy Leake of Oklahoma (3), Bob Clemens of Georgia (7), Ron Clark of Nebraska (11), Ed Adams of South Carolina (13), Fred Baer of Michigan (14), Charles Brackins of Prairie View (16), Lynn Beightol of Maryland (17), Carl Bolt of Mississippi Southern (20), Bill Brunner of Arkansas Tech (22), Sam Pino of Boston (29) and Bob Saia of Tulane (30).
1954 - Tom Allman of West Virginia (4), Max McGee of Tulane (5), Bill Oliver of Alabama (12), Dave Johnson of Rice (14), Des Koch of Southern California (16), Art Liebscher of Pacific (21), Clint Sathrum of St. Olaf (23), Evan Slonac of Michigan State (28) and Veryl Switzer drafted No. 1 by the Giants for the Packers in a deal.
The drafting of backs just hasn't been good...LOT OF GOOD ONES: On Monday, another draft will be held in Philadelphia, or a partial draft. The coaches will get together to make a bonus choice, with only the Packers and Cardinals still in the running for this selection, and four or five rounds of the regular draft. And Packer fans everywhere certainly will have their fingers crossed that the club will fare better in the matter of halfbacks than it has. Who are the good ones this year? A lot of them for a change. Among quarterbacks there will be Hornung of Notre Dame, Dawson of Purdue, and Brodie of Stanford and among other backs, Arnett of Southern California, Swink of Texas Christian, Peaks of Michigan State, Shofner of Baylor, Woodson of Illinois, Wells of Clemson, Brown of Syracuse - and Brown might be the best back in the country - and Crawford of Wyoming. Just so the Packers get a fair share of them. The bonus choice, if they get it, would be a big help.
PACKERS WHET THEIR KNIVES, WILL TRY TO CARVE UP DETROIT
NOVEMBER 21 (Milwaukee Journal) - The Green Bay
Packers will get their last chance to help determine
the NFL's Western Division champion when they meet
the Detroit Lions at Detroit Thursday in their annual
Thanksgiving Day game. Need it be said that the
Packers are underdogs? They have lost four straight
games and share last place with San Francisco and
Los Angeles. Each has won two and lost six. Buddy
Parker's Lions, who beat the Packers in the league
opener at Green Bay, 20-16, meanwhile, share first
place with the Chicago Bears. Each has won seven
games and lost one. "The only way to beat Detroit,"
Coach Lisle Blackbourn said Wednesday, "is for us to
begin playing a little better football. With the way
things have gone, it's a real problem even to keep the
incentive high." Blackbourn said that he would start
Bart Starr, Alabama rookie, at quarterback again and
alternate him with veteran Tobin Rote. The Packers
have no serious injuries. Detroit will counter with Bobby
Layne at quarterback. The cocky Texan is having a
good year after suffering arm miseries all last season.
He has adequate runners in Hopalong Cassady, Leon
Hart, Gene Gedman and Don McIlhenny (who has been
injured) and fine receivers in Dave Middleton and Dorne
Dibble. The Lions win on defense, though. They have
permitted only 13 1/2 points a game, best record in the
league. Sunday they held Baltimore's fine runners to 58
yards. They set their defense to contain the wide runs
and let the Colts have the short passes. Baltimore
gained 308 yards in the air and failed to score a
touchdown. Detroit won, 27-3. Detroit's defense
revolves around Joe Schmidt, rated by Green Bay
coaches and others as the best linebacker in the
league; solid tackles Ray Krouse and Bob Miller and
talented deep men Jack Christiansen, Yale Lary, Jim
David and Carl Karilivacz. The Lions, who fell from first
to last place last year, are seeking to become the first
team in league history to make the jump from last to
first in a season. They have been helped a lot by the
fact that five draft choices (Cassady, McIlhenny, Cronin,
Reichow and Tracy), six service returnees (Lary,
Gedman, Bowman, Campbell, Spencer and Perry) and
one man obtained in a trade (Krouse) made their 33 man
squad. If the Packers could score no more than two touchdowns against either the Bears or San Francisco, it is not likely they will get very far in the Lions' den.
LIONS EXPECT TO WIN EIGHTH GAME
NOVEMBER 21 (Detroit) - Detroit's revitalized Lions, bulging with defensive might, were odds on favorites here tonight to defeat the Green Bay Packers in their annual Thanksgiving day game tomorrow. Equally as optimistic as the oddsmakers were the scalpers who envisioned brisk business with the announcement today that Briggs Stadium will be filled to overflowing for the fourth consecutive time this season when the teams kick off at 11 o'clock Chicago time. The scalpers, however, may be in for a surprise. Weather forecasts are not expected to be conducive to ticket sales tomorrow morning. Detroit will rely largely on its defense, which has surrendered only three touchdowns in its last four starts, to produce its 14th victory in its last 15 meetings with the Packers and to give the Lions temporary possession of first place in the western division of the National league with a record of 8 and 1. The Bears, with whom the Lions are tied at the moment, must wait until Sunday in New York to play their ninth game of the season. Green Bay, in the midst of a four game losing streak, arrived by plane tonight in good condition with Tobin Rote reported ready