NEWS AND NOTES
STRATEGY FALLS FLAT - JUST OUTPLAYED, EXPLAINS BLACKBOURN
DECEMBER 9 (Milwaukee Journal) - "We were outplayed," Lisle Blackbourn, coach of the beaten and battered Green Bay Packers, said after the game with the Los Angeles Rams
here Sunday. "We let them have three easy touchdowns and that's what made
it so one sided." The coach shook his head, sadly. The effects of the 42-17
lacing had not yet worn off. "We set up what amounted to an eight man line,"
he said. "We figured that would stop their wide stuff and make it tough on their
passing. We were vulnerable up the middle, but we gave them that."...
STRATEGY BACKFIRES: "So what happened? They ran wide on us. They
never did run up the middle. They never had to try it. The three easy
touchdowns that made it all the worse were the screen pass to Marconi,
Wade's pass to Hirsch for a touchdown and that seesaw pass to Lundy, who
was all alone. On the screen, we sent six men in on all-out rush. They'd been
beating us at our strength. so we gambled. Van Brocklin caught us with the
screen. Nobody smelled it and Marconi went all the way. Lundy scored on the
same play they beat us with at Milwaukee. We knew they were going to try it
again. Boyd slanted toward the middle, Gremminger went with the fake and
Lundy was alone on the side. On the other easy one, Wade changed the signal on the line of scrimmage. He saw Dillon was playing up close, so he sent Hirsch on a slant in from the left. Hirsch beat Petitbon and went all the way."...TOO MANY MISTAKES: "We've got a lot of men hurt but we made too many mistakes. The Rams played a great game. You wonder what they're doing in the second division." Like Topsy, Green Bay's hospital list just grows and grows. Kramer broke his leg Sunday. Only the walking wounded remain for the season finale at San Francisco next Sunday. There the Packers, or what is left of them, will try to interfere with the 49ers' title hopes. Kramer became the fourth Packer sidelined with broken bones. Others include guard Joe Skibinski, broken leg before the season opened; defensive end Nate Borden, broken arm two weeks ago; and middle guard Sam Palumbo, broken leg three weeks ago. Besides, regular offensive end Gary Knafelc was lost for the season after three games when he hurt his knee in practice. Palumbo's injury, inflicted in the first Ram game in Milwaukee, was originally diagnosed as a sprained ankle after X-rays showed no break. He tried working out again after a rest but the leg continued to ache. Further X-rays late last week showed a fracture and the former Notre Dame star is hobbling around in a walking cast...DOWN TO MINIMUM: The Packers started Sunday's game with 12 defensive players, the starters and tackle Tom Finnan, who was picked up on waivers from the Chicago Cardinals less than two weeks ago. Through most of the game, end Carlton Massey and Finnan shuttled back and forth, carrying defensive signals. Then middle guard Ernie Danjean was thrown out of the game for extracurricular activity (so was end Bill Ray Smith of the Rams), Massey switched to Danjean's position, Finnan took over in the line full time and Green Bay played with the bare minimum of defensive players. Defensive back Billy Kinard and rookie running back Paul Hornung did not play because of ankle injuries. Hornung tried kicking off to start the second half and limped back to the bench after he was blocked. Kinard sprained his ankle in practice Friday and is probably lost for next Sunday's finale, too. Hornung is also on the doubtful list. The Rams' main casualty was halfback Tom Wilson, who suffered a fractured cheek bone when he was tackled by Tom Bettis and Gremminger as he caught a pass in the second quarter. Gremminger hurt his arm on the play but stayed in the game because there was no one to replace him. Packer defensive end Jim Temp hurt his back but X-rays afterward showed no bone damage.
BAYS' PALUMBO ALSO BREAKS LEG
DECEMBER 9 (Boyes Springs, CA) - The Packers quietly slipped into this little hideaway late Monday afternoon, hoping to rest their weary bones and prepare for their finale against the San Francisco 49ers at Kexar Stadium Sunday. Coach Liz Blackbourn reported that slotback Ron Kramer and linebacker Sam Palumbo left the squad for their homes Monday. Kramer broke his right leg in the Ram game and Palumbo, it was discovered, also had a broken leg. He had been complaining of shin splints last week when X-rays proved otherwise. Kramer had been promised an invitation to the upcoming Hula Bowl in Hawaii and was a pretty dejected boy when he left the hospital. While Blackbourn would have liked to forget Sunday's 42-17 beating by the Rams, the fact remains that the Packers continue to lay their biggest eggs at the Los Angeles Coliseum. The Bays have now lost 10 straight at L.A. Maybe it was the 70,000 plus which urged the Rams on - for they didn't run around the Packers, they ran over 'em. Ram coach Sid Gillman showed amazement at the size of the huge crowd. "I doubt if that's the real reason why we play so much better at home," he shook his head, "but I do know it sure does help." The Rams have won only one road game in the past two seasons, a thorn which has been stabbing deeply in Gillman's side. Blackbourn was still trying to figure what went haywire when he boarded the Packers' chartered plane. "We were having a very bad time stopping wide runs during the last few games," he said, "and so to set for the Rams' terrific backs we often had practically an eight-man line and then tried to red-dog the passer. So what happened? They lobbed soft screens over our heads and their fullbacks went crazy catching passes. That's good strategy by their quarterbacks, of course, and interesting to observe, except when it's happening to you. This game gets harder and more complicated every year," Liz continued. "And of course we coaches are making it tougher on ourselves by getting trickier and trickier. It's a vicious circle." While the Bays will have a major role in determining the Western Division champion Sunday, Blackbourn said, "you guess is as good as mine. But I'd surely like to surprise a few folks. These trips west have been awfully tough."
SAN FRANCISCO GAME IS ALREADY A SELLOUT
DECEMBER 10 (San Francisco) - The San Francisco 49ers already are assured of a sellout crowd Sunday when they will entertain the Green Bay Packers in their last regular season game. The 49ers reported that the last of the reserved sears for the Sunday finale were sold early Monday. Team doctors also reported that quarterback Y.A. Tittle will be ready to start against the Packers. Tittle pulled a muscle in his left leg Sunday and had to leave the Baltimore game in the final moments.
'GREEN' QBS WEAK POINT - HOWTON
DECEMBER 10 (Sonoma, CA) - "The heck with injuries and bad breaks," Billy Howton was saying Tuesday. "You can't alibi the kind of season we've been having." The likable Texan isn't the kind of guy who would point the finger of guilt on any individual, either. But he did believe that inexperience quarterbacking has hurt the Packers considerably this fall. "Don't get me wrong," Howton pointed out. "Bart Starr and Babe Parilli have played their heart out. They've really been on the spot. The responsibility to make us go rests on their shoulders. But with the personnel we've had this year, I believe we could have been in this thing down to the wire with an experience quarterback." Like a Tobin Rote? "Yes," Howton responded. "I'm not saying that Starr isn't the man," Howton continued. "I think in a year or two he's going to be one of the best in the business. But as it is now, we'll have to rise with his improvement. That's how much he means to us. The difference between Starr and Rote is their anticipation on a pass play," Howton explained. "The anticipation at times wasn't there with Bart. The way the league has been setting up their defenses - shooting in their linebackers has put a lot of pressure on our passers," Howton went on. "Therefore, they've had trouble hitting an open hand at times. Rote could smell 'em a mile off if we got open," Howton said. "Sure it's getting frustrating. But we're bound to improve. A pro quarterback isn't made overnight." Billy believed he was having a good season despite the team's failure. "I've been maneuvering better this year than any season before," he said. "I guess our passers just haven't seen me. But it's been good practice," he chuckled. The Packers' player representative returned to more pleasant topics, namely the improvements brought about by the Players Association. "One thing I've got to say," Howton smiled, "the Packer management has been darn cooperative with us in our demands. They were the first to recognize $50 a week exhibition pay, an injury reserve clause, a minimum player salary ($5,000). Now we are working on a pension plan. We hope to play an intrasquad game in the new stadium next summer," Howton explained. "The receipts would go into our pension fund. And the Packers said they would match the amount we personally put in say each player being assessed $300 a year." Howton also revealed the club is willing to set up a profit-sharing deal with the players once an adequate reserve (say $200,000) has been banked. So there's a distinct advantage playing for Green Bay - especially for a winning team.