GAME RECAP (ASSOCIATED PRESS)
(ST. LOUIS) – Led by Tobin Rote and Fred Cone, the Packers came from behind twice to beat the Chicago Cardinals for their fourth exhibition victory in five starts. Cone kicked three field goals and Rote scored twice and passed to Bill Howton for the third touchdown. Lamar McHan passed for two of the Cardinals touchdowns. Behind 14-10 at halftime, the Packers stopped Chicago's attack cold in the third quarter but didn't move ahead until Rote passed 41 yards to Howie Ferguson, who battered his way to the two-yard line. Then Rote sneaked across for a 16-14 lead with two minutes left in the period. Cone's conversion was blocked but early in the last quarter his 35-yard field goal made it 19-14. The crowd of 31,723, an all-time record for any football game in St. Louis, watched the Cardinals suddenly come to life. McHan fired a 54-yard pass to Vern Nagler. Three plays later, he pitched 14 yards to Fran Bernardi in the end rone. Pat Summerall converted for a 21-19 Cardinal lead. It didn't last long. On the first play after the kickoff, Rote found Howton all alone on the sidelines behind the defense and passed 59 yards for a touchdown. Cone converted and added a clinching 24-yard field goal with 10 seconds left to play. An interception by Ferguson set up with the first Cardinal touchdown which Rote scored from the eight-yard line. Cone's field goal made it 10-0. The Cardinals struck back, McHan passing 24 yards to Nagler for a touchdown in the second quarter.
GREEN BAY - 7 3 6 13 - 29
CHI CARDS - 0 14 0 7 - 21
GB – Rote, 1-yard run (Cone kick) GREEN BAY 7-0
GB – Cone, 41-yard field goal GREEN BAY 10-0
CHI – Vern Nagler, 24-yard pass from Lamar McHan (Pat Summerall kick) GREEN BAY 10-7
CHI – John Crow, 47-yard interception return (Summerall kick) CARDINALS 14-10
GB – Rote, 2-yard run (Kick failed) GREEN BAY 16-14
GB – Cone, 35-yard field goal GREEN BAY 19-14
CHI – Fran Bernardi, 14-yard pass from McHan (Summerall kick) CHICAGO 21-19
GB – Howton, 59-yard pass from Rote (Cone kick) GREEN BAY 26-21
GB – Cone, 24-yard field goal GREEN BAY 29-21
EASTERN DIVISION: New York (4-2), Washington (3-3), Pittsburgh (2-3), Philadelphia (2-5), Cleveland (1-5) Chicago Cards (1-5)
New York certainly must be given a fine chance to knock off Cleveland, perennial eastern champion. The Giants produced the greatest point edge over their opponents, as they went about winning four games and losing two (Bears and Packers). Jim Howell's crew looks all the better since they played all six western teams. The Giants, a little amazing, were the only eastern team to wind up on the "plus" side of the ledger. So did all six western division teams and the way they did it indicates again that the power lies mostly in that side of the fence and that the race will probably be closer than the air in the shower room. The Bears and revived Lions each scored the same number of points in six exhibition games and the Lions allowed only one more than Chicago. Green Bay, which played only five games, ranks close behind. Los Angeles, thanks mostly to a 69-21 rout of the hapless Chicago Cardinals, is right on the heels of the three leaders. Baltimore and San Francisco, which tailed off badly after a fast start, also managed to outscore their rivals. Cleveland, of course, cannot be counted out of the eastern race, even though Paul Brown's Browns waited until their last exhibition to score their first victory. Brown never pulls out all stops in preseason play. Significantly, when the Browns did win a game, it was against the Bears, who up to that time were the only unbeaten team. Green Bay's hopes in the western division soared a little over the weekend. Lisle Blackbourn's Packers were idle and the Bears, Lions, Rams and 49ers all suffered defeats. The Packers will catch the Lions and Bears on successive weekends as the regular season starts. Detroit will play at Green Bay Sunday and the Bears will be there the week after. A thumbnail sketch of each team follows:
Chicago Bears: George Halas stands in the wings, watching his veteran replacement, Paddy Driscoll, try to win with great material. Pass defense is the main difficulty. Monsters in line and powerful and fleet backs like Watkins, Casares, John Hoffman and newcomer Jeter abound. Quarterbacking will be helped when Bratkowski returns from the service.
Detroit Lions: Ready to jump back toward the top after sliding from first to last in one season. Quarterback Bob Layne's arm is said to be sound again and new men from trades and service promise to make the defense rugged.
Green Bay Packers: Offensive line has been strengthened with tackles Sandusky and Skoronski. Rote could be ready to to head of class among quarterbacks. Blackbourn and assistants provide sound coaching.
Los Angeles Rams: Out to prove last year's division title was no fluke. Many nonbelievers say it was. The team has a wealth of talent but it has been in and out.
Baltimore Colts: Ewbank keeps building them better. Horse Ameche is back and so is Shaw, one of better young quarterbacks. Defensive line eats up rival backs.
San Francisco 49ers: New Coach Albert, former left handed quarterback, needs McElhenny healthy and a lot of improvement on defense. He may not get both or either.
New York Giants: Howell has great running and depth at quarterback in Conerly, Heinrich and Clatterback. The team appears solid, for even in defeats by Packers and Bears, Giants nearly won and gave good accounts of themselves.
Washington Redskins: Likely to have trouble duplicating or coming close to last year's second place finish. Injuries (in auto accidents, not on field) already have cost them halfback Janowicz for season and quarterback Dorow for awhile. LeBaron at quarterback must be sound.
Pittsburgh Steelers: No quarterback like Finks (now Notre Dame assistant coach) has appeared. Defense is rugged as usual. Running backs are good, too.
Philadelphia Eagles: New Coach Devore, former Packer assistant, seems to be bringing last year's disappointment along well. The Eagles won all of their exhibitions under Trimble last season, then flopped when it counted. Too many old veterans.
Cleveland Browns - Quarterback has been a problem because Parilli (from service) and Ratterman (from bench) have been rusty. The defense is still one of best and team should be contender, perhaps winner, again.
Chicago Cardinals - Took some shellackings (69-21 from Rams and 42-7 from Giants) and morale may be shot. Running talent galore, but no dependable quarterback. Front office troubles, too.
NOW PACKERS FACE HOPPY
SEPTEMBER 26 (Green Bay) - When the Green Bay Packers open their 1956 NFL season Sunday against the Detroit Lions one of the Lions they will have to stop is Howard (Hopalong) Cassady, the Ohio State All-American. The rugged halfback, who gave the University of Wisconsin some bad afternoons during his college days, will be starting his first season in the pro ranks. In the exhibition games his record has been contradictory as his running from scrimmage has not been impressive, but he is the Lions' leading scorer. He gained only 24 yards in 22 carries but has crossed the goal four times, twice on punt returns. His first TD came on a 61-yard punt return against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Then he ran 11 yards with a pitchout against the Chicago Cardinals. His next scoring jaunt was a 56-yard punt return in the game with the Cleveland Browns. His final score came last Sunday as he took a six-yard pass in the Washington Redskins game. Bud Erickson, Lion publicity man, explained that "Cassady has been most effective on kickoff and punt returns because he follows blockers terrifically. He's got the knack to know which way to go." Cassady will be taking over the place left vacant by Doak Walker and Erickson says he is not discouraged over his showing so far, "but rather has an intense desire to develop into as great a runner for the Lions as he was for Ohio State." When the 180-pound back signed with the Lions he insisted he could never take Walker's place - he said he only wanted a chance to earn a place and make good. "The Lions are confident they got one of the greatest college players ever in Cassady," Erickson said. "Sure, he bumped into the toughest league in football, but with that terrific college record, he's bound to be a constant threat." Cassady and Jug Girard, a former Packer, will share what Coach Buddy Parker calls his "slot back" post. It's a position two steps behind the line of scrimmage, outside the offensive tackle and inside a wide flanking end. The Packers will show what they plant to do about the situation Sunday.
LIONS, BAYS MADE OF SAME STUFF?
SEPTEMBER 27 (Milwaukee Sentinel) - Lion Coach Buddy Parker believes an outstanding quarterback and a stellar defense are the most important ingredients in whipping up a pro football winner. Parker had this concoction in 1952-53-54 - all championship years at Detroit - and vows he is blending a similar mixture this season. Parker's confidence is based on a sure-firing Bobby Layne and the return from service of his defensive demons. Parker is sold on Layne, who completed 47 percent of his aerials during the preseason campaign. But what more than ever makes Parker optimistic is having bruisers like tackles Oliver Spencer and Jerry Perry and defensive back Yale Lary available. Parker's winning football theory is based on controlling the ball. The key to success is to intercept - thus having a scoring opportunity edge on the opponent. The Lions intercepted more passes (16) during the exhibition season than they intercepted all last year. If this is a true complexion, the Lions appear growling for a title again. Analyzing the Packers from Parker's formula, Green Bay should be equally well off. Tobin Rote, the established pro, is recognized by every opponent as one of the most dangerous quarterbacks around. Taking a look at the Packers' outer defense, the picture again looks rosy. Green Bay ranked third in the league with interceptions last season, Bobby Dillon tying for second with nine steals. Val Joe Walker ranked ninth with six. Bill Forester, middle linebacker, hawked four. The big question is can rookie Hank Gremminger fill the shoes of Doyle Nix, SMU rookie who was lost to service. Nix intercepted five passes last year. The Lions believe they once again are made of championship stuff, and maybe so. But the Packers have been building under Coach Liz Blackbourn and have reached a point where they can match the best.
KNAFELC - A LION TAMER
SEPTEMBER 28 (Milwaukee Sentinel) - Knafelc? Knafelc? Who in blazes is Knafelc? That was the general opinion concerning Gary Knafelc a couple years ago: a Cardinal castoff who was a nobody with the Packers in 1954; an awkward Colorado refugee who was a lost third man in Green Bay, with Billy Howton and Max McGee the big boys. But just ask that question today; ask Buddy Parker, coach of the Lions. Parker would like to forget the name, but it constantly comes back like a haunting nightmare. "That guy led to our downfall," the Detroit strategist moans. And persons close to the Lions' scene say Knafelc is still preying on Parker's mind. But what happened that sunny September last year in Green Bay will not repeat, vow the Lions. "We sure hope it does," chant the Packers. The play which made Knafelc famous came in the last 20 seconds. Which Packer fan could forget? Detroit led, 17-13, with a minute and a half left. The Packers' winning touchdown was 80 yards away and the killer of many a sport rally, the clock, made the situation just about hopeless. But the real pro, Tobin Rote, went to work. Like a man possessed, he moved the ball to the Lions' 18 in six plays. Twenty seconds left and 18 yards to go! The Lions as well as 24,000 fans in the stadium knew Rote would have to pass. But what they did not know was that Knafelc, of all persons, was to be destined a hero in a matter of seconds. Rote brought the Packers up to the line fast, took a quick look, and shot a high pass right down the middle toward the goal line. Knafelc, between three Lions, grabbed the ball and fought his way into the endzone for the winning touchdown as bedlam broke loose. At that moment, Knafelc earned his big league spurs. He went on to catch 40 passes for 613 yards and eight touchdowns - a performance which ranked ninth in the league. Coach Liz Blackbourn expects Knafelc to have his greatest season. "He has found himself; he's got a good pair of hands and amazing deception," glows Liz. "The burden is finally off Howton." Rote, who throws a rifle-like pass, has played favorites - like throwing constantly to a glue-fingered Howton. Knafelc wasn't "accepted" until that momentous catch. Knafelc is one of the biggest ends in the pro ranks (6-4, 218). And he's destined to become a great one - the time has come to bear this out. History, Packer fans hope, will repeat itself Sunday at Green Bay.
PACKERS HOPE FOR BIG YEAR
SEPTEMBER 28 (Green Bay) - The Green Bay Packers, confident they won't have to "wait till next year" to win their first NFL conference title since 1944, tackle the Detroit Lions here Sunday in the regular season opener for both teams. A year ago end Gary Knafelc caught a pass from quarterback Tobin Rote in the final 20 seconds of play to account for a 20-17 Packer victory over the Lions. That catch signaled good times for the Bays and bad ones for the Lions. The Packers finished with a 6-6 Western Conference record; the Lions slipped from first place to the basement with a 3-9 mark. Both clubs have shown improvement in preseason warmups, largely because of their rookie strength. The Packers lost only one of five games while Detroit dropped two of six. A tipoff on the Packers' improved position can be found in their recent waiver lists. Last year they added Paul Held as quarterback insurance late in the season. Now they've let Held go in favor of rookie Bart Starr of Alabama. Last year Tom Dahms played first string tackle. Recently the Packers traded him to the Chicago Cardinals for a future draft choice. By these moves, only two of many, Coach Lisle (Liz) Blackbourn demonstrated that the depth problems that bothered him last season have been solved or at least eased considerably. Once again the Packers' main offensive guns will be triggered by Rote, probably the NFL's finest quarterback now that Otto Graham has really retired, and fullback Howie Ferguson. On the receiving end of most of Rote's passes will be an improved Knafelc, Billy Howton and halfback Al Carmichael. With veteran tackle John Sandusky and rookies Bob Skoronski and Forrest Gregg strengthening the line, Rote has had more time to pass. At least, it would appear that way since he completed 39 of 72 passes for 688 yards in the Bays' five exhibitions. The Lions' Buddy Parker figures his squad should be among the contenders. Detroit has been bolstered by the return of five veterans from service: defensive halfback Yale Lary, offensive halfback Gene Gedman, fullback Bill Bowman and tackles Oliver Spencer and Jerry Perry. New talent including halfbacks Howard (Hopalong) Cassady and Don McIlhenny, quarterback Jerry Reichow and guard Gene Cronin have added depth. McIlhenny led Lions' ball carriers in preseason play with a 4.6 yard average on 52 carries while Cassady chipped in with four touchdowns, two on long punt returns. Back, showing no signs of the shoulder trouble that dogged him last year, is quarterback Bobby Layne - key to the Lions' '56 plans. The Packers hold a 27-18 edge in the series with the Lions, who, until they ran into Knafelc last year, had won 11 in a row. Detroit won the second meeting last season, 24-10.
EXHIBITION - Green Bay Packers (4-1) 29, Chicago Cardinals 21
Saturday September 15th 1956 (at St. Louis)
NEWS AND NOTES
FUN OVER! PACKERS GIRD FOR OPENER
SEPTEMBER 17 (Milwaukee Sentinel) - The Packers dragged themselves into Green Bay late Sunday night after a 12-hour train ride from St. Louis confident after their best pre-season showing (4-1) in a decade but anxious for a two-week preparation for their bruising opener against the Lions September 30. Coach Liz Blackbourn liked what he saw Saturday night in Missouri: "great tackling, good passing, good running." However, the Packer boss could point out several defensive and offensive lapses in the Bays' 29-21 win over the Cardinals - "things which must be ironed out before those Lions arrive." Blackbourn said he would wait and carefully check pictures of the Cardinal game before cutting his squad. He brought 40 players back to Green Bay and said he would trim that number to 35 so he has plenty of time to gear the machinery before starting play for the blue chips. "Tobin Rote had a good night," praised Liz, "completing 14 of 26 passes for 232 yards. That one to (Billy) Howton was a beauty (59-yard game-winning touchdown). It's not very often you get behind (Night Train) Lane. They were doubling up on (Gary) Knafelc, so Tob started hitting (Howie) Ferguson and Howton. I thought our line gave him good protection." Blackbourn was not too disappointed with his rookie quarterback Bart Starr, who had his poorest night with the Packers. "He was bound to have that pass intercepted, sooner or later - he'll be ok." Liz credited the Packer defense in checking Ollie Matson, Frank Bernard and Johnny Olszewski. "Oh, they got a little mixed up at times and made a few mistakes, but things are shaping up." Asked about other pre-season showings, Blackbourn said, "We're starting to get the pitch on Detroit. Their defense is out of this world. Yale Lary, service returnee, and Jack Christiansen are giving quarterbacks nightmares. Another toughie in a loaded division." No injuries worth reporting were mentioned. So with a two week preparation for Detroit the squad should be at its very best. Blackbourn singled out tackles Bob Skoronski and Forrest Gregg, both rookies, as "really fencing off for Rote. That protection was the way we want it."
BLACKBOURN RATES HIS PACKERS AS 'BETTER', TEMPERS ENTHUSIASM WITH A LOOK AT WEST
SEPTEMBER 18 (Milwaukee Journal) - Lisle Blackbourn, Green Bay Packers coach, said Tuesday that on the basis of play in exhibition games he thought he had a "better ball club than last year." Then he tempered his enthusiasm by mentioning how rugged the Western Division of the NFL looked. "Yes," said Blackbourn, who is starting his third year as Packer coach," I'd say we're better. How much better is hard to say. We're pleased about the preseason games (the Packers won four and lost one). We wish we had the victories in the league standings, though. Confidence accounts for at least half the improvement. We're not too far away from having the same personnel as last year. Now they think they have the stuff. But look at the Western Division. Somebody - I don't remember who - said recently, 'A very good football team is going to finish at the bottom." That is the way it us." The Packers finished preseason play at St. Louis last Saturday, beating the Chicago Cardinals, 29-21. They have two weeks in which to prepare for the Detroit Lions in their league opener at Green Bay Sunday September 30. Where, Blackbourn was asked, did improvement come from, aside from added confidence? "Mostly in the offensive line," he said. "Two new men, Skoronski and Sandusky, have started the last three games at tackle. The blocking for the runners, the protection for the passer have been better." Bob Skoronski, 245 pound rookie from Indiana, is termed by Blackbourn "a fast, quick big man with lots of ability." John Sandusky brought six years of league experience with him when he came over in a trade with the champion Cleveland Browns. Quarterback Tobin Rote, Blackbourn said, "looks real good." Better blocking in front of him and the work of rookie Bart Starr of Alabama behind him have helped. Other offensive backfield starters likely will be fullback Howie Ferguson, left half Breezy Reid and right half Al Carmichael. Joe Johnson, a valuable asset at halfback and end, will again spell Reid. Rookies Jack Losch, first draft choice, and Bill Roberts, free agent from the Marines, are trying to make it as "swing" men, defensive backs and flanker backs on offense. End Bill Howton now is ready to go. Blackbourn let him take his time recovering from a leg injury so it would heal properly. Howton's running mate, Gary Knafelc, is rated "much better than last year." Len Szafarn, regular offensive tackle last year, has been working at both tackle and at guard, where he spells Joe Skibinski, Buddy Brown and Jack Spinks. Larry Lauer will back up Jim Ringo at center. Forrest Gregg, second draft choice from SMU, will become a "real good offensive tackle" in time, Blackbourn said. The defense will be much the same as last year's, which had much to do with the improvement to a six won, six lost record. There is versatility at linebacker and middle guard as Tom Bettis and Bill Forrester can and do play either and Roger Zatkoff and Deral Teteak make the linebacking solid. In the backfield, rookie Hank Gremminger of Baylor and Jim Capuzzi, on and off the roster last year, are fighting for the spot vacated by Doyle Nix's departure to the Air Force. Billy Bookout, Bob Dillon and Val Joe Walker, veteran Texans, will hold forth again. John Martinkovic, large defensive end, has encountered his first knee trouble and because he missed the last two exhibition games, he may rusty for the opener. Nate Borden, Gene Knutson and rookie Emery Barnes have been sharing the top spots. At tackle, Dave Hanner will man one spot and Jerry Helluin or Don King, another former Brown, the other. The Packers, as presently constituted, include 41 players. They must get down to 35 a week hence. Blackbourn feels this last cutting job will be a difficult one. He hopes he can do as well there as he did in setting a goal for his team's offense against the Cardinals. He asked for 28 points and 350 yards, got 29 and 354.
GREEN BAY TO HAVE NEW VETS ARENA
SEPTEMBER 19 (Green Bay) - The Brown County Board Tuesday approved a $1,468,000 bond issue to provide revenue for the construction of a Veterans Memorial Arena. The supervisors, who approved the bond on a 37-13 vote, also voted to purchase 19 acres of land in the Town of Ashwaubenon on which the structure will be erected. The county set a price of $28,500 for the land which will be purchased from Dominic and Regina Olejniczak. Olejniczak is a former mayor of Green Bay. The memorial will be built on land adjoining the site of the new $1,000,000 football stadium that will become the home of the Green Bay Packers. There was no estimate as to when the arena will be completed. However, officials hope the Packers will be able to move into the new stadium by the 1957 season.
PACKERS TO HOLD OPEN HOUSE EVENT
SEPTEMBER 19 (Green Bay) - The Green Bay Packers will conduct a "get acquainted day" Sunday from 3:30 to 4:45 p.m. at Green Bay City Stadium to give the fans a chance to get acquainted with the players and coaches and also to acquaint the fans with the various offensive and defensive formations that will be used throughout the league season. Lisle Blackbourn, head coach, will hold a regular practice session and he and members of his staff will give a detailed description of what they are trying to accomplish. Blackbourn feels that if the fans are acquainted with the various offensive and defensive formations they will understand and enjoy the football games more thoroughly. It is the first attempt of the Packers to do something on this order, and if it is successful it may become a yearly event.
DAHMS GOES TO CARDINALS
SEPTEMBER 20 (Green Bay) - Tom Dahms, regular offensive tackle last season, was traded Wednesday by the Green Bay Packers to the Chicago Cardinals for an undisclosed draft choice. Coach Lisle Blackbourn said, "I'm sorry to see Tom go because he is a good man and a good football player. He will help the Cardinals. He could make three or four clubs in this league." The trade indicated that the Packers had strengthened their tackle situation over the winter. Dahms ranked no better than fourth when he left, behind John Sandusky, veteran obtained from Cleveland, and rookies Bob Skoronski of Indiana and Forrest Gregg of SMU, high draft choices. Also, Len Szafaryn, the other regular tackle last year, has been working at guard. Dahms was obtained a year ago from the Los Angeles Rams for defensive end Carlton (Stretch) Elliott, who failed to stick with the Rams, and Green Bay's third draft choice last winter. Blackbourn and his assistants must still prune four more players off the roster to reach the season opening limit of 35 next week. The Packers will open against Detroit here September 30. Then two more played must be trimmed after two weeks of the season. After practice on an unseasonably cold September afternoon Blackbourn was talking about the difficulties the final cuts presented to the coaches. "How about it, Lou?" he said to line coach Lou Rymkus. "We've never had to cut such good men so early in other years." This is Blackbourn's third season at Green Bay. "No, coach," Rymkus said, "it's really a problem." A delay in the arrival of movies of the Packers' final exhibition game, a 29-21 victory over the Cardinals at St. Louis last Saturday, had slowed Blackbourn's preparations for the Lions. The coaches will now hardly get a chance to study the films before they must be shipped to Buddy Parker, Detroit coach, as part of a new league agreement to exchange movies for scouting purposes.
OFFENSE BETTER, BLACKBOURN SAYS
SEPTEMBER 21 (Green Bay) - Coach Lisle Blackbourn of the Green Bay Packers said today the team's offense has shown "great improvement" over last season. Blackbourn, who will open his third professional season September 30, said quarterbacks Tobin Rote and Bart Starr were "effective" in preseason exhibitions. Rote completed 39 of 72 passes, good for 688 yards. Starr, his rookie understudy, completed 19 out of 31 for 191 yards.
PACKERS CONFIDENT OF BETTER NFL SEASON
SEPTEMBER 21 (Green Bay) - It's been 12 years since a NFL championship pennant flew from the flagpole here, but the waiting could end this season. The best exhibition record in years - including the first victory ever over the Cleveland Browns - leads fans to believe the Green Bay Packers will make a serious challenge for the Western Division title this year. Coach Lisle Blackbourn is swept up in the tide, too. He admits he probably has the "best personnel" in his three seasons here, but there are problems, he said, which could alter the rosy outlook. One of these is to find a defensive halfback to replace Doyle Nix, who was called into service, though it's possible rookie Hank Gremminger of Baylor might fill the gap ably enough. Another is to find a non-playing punter, rather than depend solely upon end Dick Deschaine, who will see considerable duty on offense. Blackbourn also needs more ends. Injuries and failure of rookies to report or stay around after the rough work started, left the team with only two at one stage of training. "We could use more relief at fullback and center," Blackbourn said, although fullback Howie Ferguson, second in league rushing last season, is "as mean as ever," Blackbourn said. Among the "improvements" are more depth in the offensive line, where rookies Forrest Gregg of SMU and Bob Skoronski of Indiana, both tackles, will back up veterans Len Szafaryn and John Sandusky. Sandusky was obtained from Cleveland. After a two year search, Blackbourn figures he has found a "topnotch" No. 2 quarterback in rookie Bart Starr of Alabama. Starr was the standout first year man in camp. He came without fanfare, although some Alabama coaches said he was a better thrower than his predecessor, Harry Gilmer, now with the Detroit Lions. In the first three exhibition games, he completed 10 of 14 passes for 81 yards and had none intercepted. "He throws a soft pass, something like Otto Graham of the Browns, and he's got a good head," Blackbourn said. Tobin Rote, starting his sixth season at quarterback, appears sharper than ever. His tireless arm accounted for 318 yards in victories over the Eagles, Giants and Browns, completing 19 of 34 passes. A good relief man could make him even better. Blackbourn's major disappointment has been halfback Jack Losch of Miami. He was the No. 1 draft choice, but he has been of little value thus far. First, he bolted the club. After he was coaxed back, he injured his leg. Losch had been counted to put some additional spark in the Packers' running attack. However, in early games, veteran halfbacks Breezy Reid and Joe Johnson showed plenty of punch. As it stands a short time before the start of the season here September 20 against Detroit, Rote will be at quarterback, Reid and Al Carmichael at halfbacks and Ferguson at fullback. Starr and Johnson are the No. 1 replacements, along with veteran placekicker Fred Cone, who came out of temporary retirement. Blackbourn said he'll give Cone more offensive chores this season. The Packers finished third in the Western Division in 1955 with a 6-6 record.
PACKERS DROP TWO
SEPTEMBER 23 (Green Bay) - The Green Bay Packers Saturday asked for waivers on tackle Bill Lucky, of Baylor, and halfback Alton Romine of Florence (Ala.) State Teachers. Lucky and Romine were starting their second seasons with the Packers. Their departure will reduce the squad to 37.
PACKERS GIVE FANS A LOOK AT PLAYS
SEPTEMBER 24 (Green Bay) - The Green Bay Packers staged a scrimmage Sunday to climax the team's first "Get Acquainted Day" before about 5,000 fans at City Stadium. Coach Lisle Blackbourn preceded the workout by explaining the offensive and defensive maneuvers as the team demonstrated each play. Earlier the Packers were interested spectators as the Detroit Lions, their opponents here next Sunday in their NFL opener, lost to Washington 19-17 in a televised exhibition.
LIZ RATES PACKER TITLE HOPES 'GOOD'
SEPTEMBER 24 (Milwaukee Sentinel) - Liz Blackbourn said Monday his Packers have as good a chance as anyone else to win the Western Division title race which gets underway Sunday. But, like any other pro coach in his right mind, Blackbourn wouldn't predict anything. "I'm confident this club is a good one," said the Packer coach, "and I won't be satisfied if we don't show improvement over last year's (6-6) record. Sure, we have as a good a chance as anyone else. But I would be silly predicting anything in this topsy-turvy division. We're going to have a dogfight every Sunday." The Bears, Lions and Rams ranked as Blackbourn's top picks. "I''ll probably get some disagreement picking the Lions," Liz said, "but with that restored defense and Bobby Layne his old self they could go all the way." It just so happens that Detroit provides the opposition in the league opener here Sunday. "They could hurt us this time," insisted Liz, who recalled last year's 20-17 Packer win the last 24 seconds. "You gotta have that luck." Blackbourn reduced his squad to the 35-player limit when he put veteran defensive end Gene Knutson and rookie halfback Bill Roberts from Dartmouth on waivers. This meant Emery Barnes, 6-6, 230-pound rookie from Oregon and Jack Losch, the Bay's top draft choice from Miami, had earned their spurs. "We do need a third end, though," admitted Liz. "(Dick) Deschaine is a good punter - that's all." Blackboun said the reason he traded Tom Dahms, a starting tackle last season, to the Cardinals was because "we were getting more out of John Sandusky. We owe the Browns a draft choice for Sandusky, now the Chicago choice for Dahms will even that score." The squad should be at its peak condition for the Lions with end John Martinkovic, tackle Don King and halfback Breezy Reid shaking off minor leg ailments.
PRO FOOTBALL SHAPING UP FOR SEASON - JUST THE WAY IT IS EXPECTED TO DO
SEPTEMBER 25 (Milwaukee Journal) - Before a touchdown was ever scored or an extra point kicked in exhibition games, the NFL race shaped up like this: 1) The real power remains in the Western Division. 2. Within the Western Division, the strength appeared to be amazingly well distributed. 3. If there were any favorites, the Chicago Bears in the Western and the New York Giants in the Eastern seem most likely to unseat champion Cleveland (East) and Los Angeles (West). Now the 35 preseason games as Commissioner Bert Bell prefers to have them called, have been played and the season itself will be started Sunday. What happened in these teasing ground games distinctly bears out all early thinking. The records for them follow:
WESTERN DIVISION: Chicago Bears (5-1), Detroit Lions (4-2) Green Bay (4-1), Los Angeles (3-3), Baltimore (3-2), San Francisco (3-3)