BLACKBOURN EXPECTS GIANTS WILL BE AT BEST AFTER DEFEAT
NOVEMBER 1 (Milwaukee Journal) - "The Giants would have been tough enough," Packer coach Lisle Blackbourn said Friday, "if they hadn't lost last Sunday. Now they'll be at their best for us." New York, champion of the NFL, will meet the Packers Sunday in
Green Bay's third straight home sellout (32,000 plus). "It's a
pretty crucial game for us," Blackbourn said. "Jim Lee
Howell, New York coach, sees the game the same way. The
Packers, who snapped a three game losing streak with a
fantastic fourth quarter comeback to beat Baltimore last
Sunday, have a 2-3 record and trail three teams in the
Western Division, San Francisco by two games and Detroit
and Baltimore by one. The Giants, with a 3-2 record stand
one game behind Cleveland's defensive wizards and are no
better than even with Pittsburgh, a team they smeared two
weeks ago, 35-0. That is the way it goes in the pro league,
for New York last Sunday took a 31-14 licking from
Washington, a team the Giants had beaten earlier, 24-20.
"They have a great defense," Blackbourn said of the Giants.
"They're real explosive. That Charlie Conerly, the
quarterback, is a good passer. He's smart. He'll look over our
defense and convert the play and make us look bad if we're
not alert. He'll make us be honest." Walter Cruice, Green
Bay scout, agreed, "They have fine runners in Frank Gifford
and Alex Webster," he said. "They can both catch the ball,
too, and Gifford is a threat as a passing halfback. Mel
Triplett, the fullback, is recovering from a shoulder injury, but
should be ready to go full time. His replacement, Bobby
Epps, is a strong runner but not as good a blocker, Kyle
Rote is tough to handle at one end and has good help from
Ken MacAfee and Bob Schnelker alternating at the other.
Their defense is big, strong, fast, smart and veteran." Jack
Lavelle, the Giants' veteran and astute scout, sized up the
Packers this way: "I can't put my finger on why Green Bay
is a good team. Other teams have better personnel than the
Packers. They have no outstanding stars. But they do
hustle. They never let up." Blackbourn's main concern is
Green Bay's offense. He hopes it will catch the spark of
scoring 24 points in the last quarter against Baltimore. Otherwise, it has been less than ordinary. Green Bay has scored only 90 points in five games and its running game has averaged less than 100 yards a game. The Packers' defense has been generally adequate. It has permitted 131 points, but 45 were scored against it in one game. "We've had only one real bad game," Blackbourn said Friday. "You need luck to win in this league. We had all the luck in the exhibition season (five victories, one tie, no defeats). Then it turned against us. Now we hope it's changed again."
PACKERS STILL NEED SOME SOLID RUNNING
NOVEMBER 1 (Milwaukee Journal) - Unfortunately, things have been read into the Green Bay Packers' spectacular victory over the Baltimore Colts last Sunday that shouldn't be and that make the approach to this week's game with the New York Giants at Green Bay just a little difficult. There's a feeling that having beaten a team as tough as the Colts to break a three-game losing streak, the club will now surely roll. The Baltimore victory was a dandy and the whole state rejoiced, but there were still things about it that must cause pause, and serious pause. The Packers over a season's play just can't live by the pass alone. They're not always going to pull a game out as they did last week's. They've got to get some running, solid running, and until they do, they're going to be in trouble. Sunday, they got exactly 40 yards rushing. The running thus far as been sad, not because of the conception of the attack, or the coaching if you please, but because of the execution and personnel. The offensive line has been wobbly, the blocking shoddy and the backs except perhaps for Ferguson and rookie Paul Hornung decidedly so-so. Ferguson, when right, can still go straight ahead with power and Hornung can sense an opening and drive. (It seems he should be used more as the ball carrier because of his strength alone.) But where are the others? Cone has begun to slow down badly from what was never more than very ordinary speed. Carmichael needs operating room as on a punt or kickoff. In the tight going from scrimmage, he flips over easily. McIlhenny, obtained from the Lions, has been a disappointment although he keeps his feet better than Carmichael. And Johnson has never been more than a handy man - and not too strong. The Packers at the moment have averaged 97 yards a game rushing, and this after an "explosion" of 194 yards against the San Francisco 49ers two weeks ago. Except for that, they would be last in the league. As it is, they are second last. Only the Pittsburgh Steelers have averaged less, 90 yards a game, and they're not going to go anywhere either, despite their current 3-2 standing. The Packers simply must get some running offense. The games like last Sunday's will be too few and far between. The pulling which a whole state is doing for them is not going to be enough. P.S. The league draft will be held in Philadelphia November 18 - maybe something can be done there.
GIANTS 6 1/2 POINT PICK OVER BAYS
NOVEMBER 2 (Milwaukee Sentinel) - The Packers are the underdogs again - for the sixth consecutive week. The Giants are 6 1/2 point favorite to win Sunday's scrap before a sellout throng of 32,150 at Green Bay. The defending champions rate the nod because they are the defending champions. As a team the Giants simply have better personnel than the Packers, don't let anyone kid you about that. New York has passed for more yardage than Green Bay, it has picked up more yards rushing and has scored more points. To add to their superiority, the Giants are a better team on defense, too. But Liz Blackbourn's unpredictables have been anything but awed by an impressive opponent. They whacked the heralded Bears, 21-17, in the opener and last week dealt the Colts a 24-21 loss at Baltimore. And if you don't think winning in Baltimore is any achievement, you haven't been around pro football very long. While the Giants can toss the football with the best of 'em, they can spring an equally ambitious running attack. The Bays' rise to fame this season is resting on the pitching arms of Babe Parilli and Bart Starr. New York Coach Jim Lee Howell, as well as every interested soul in the NFL, realizes the Packers aren't going to win any championships with the kind of punch they produce on the ground. "The Packers," Howell said, "are a passing team and not so much of a running team until they get Paul Hornung in there when they get close enough to the goal line." In line with that judgment, Howell will use a speedy rookie back, John Bookman, in defending against the passing on Starr and Parilli. Bookman is a replacement for Ed Hughes. The latter has been hampered by an injury, but is ready for action, and may be used in spots. Chuck Conerly, who improves with age, is still the Giant to watch. The 33-year old passer has completed 60.2% of his tosses for four touchdowns and 603 yards. New York's biggest ground weapon is Alex Webster, the league's fourth ranked runner. Webster, brother of Jim, who is learning the tricks of the trade at Marquette, has gained 292 yards for a 4.1 yard average. Webster is also the Giants' top receiver. Glamor boy Frank Gifford has picked up 232 yards, more than twice the yardage gained by Green Bay's leading ball carrier, Paul Hornung (113). The Packers' only apparent edge is in the receiving department. Billy Howton is always a six-point threat - even in the last 29 seconds!