CHANGE YOUR WAYS OR GET FIRED, MCLEAN WARNS PACKER 'DEFEATISTS'
NOVEMBER 4 (Milwaukee Journal) - His back to the wall, Ray (Scooter) McLean, coach of the Green Bay Packers, said Tuesday morning that he might fire "some veteran players who have a defeatist attitude." "We're going to do something about it," he said. The Packers have won one game, lost four, and tied one in the NFL. Their latest defeat was by a 56-0 score in Baltimore Sunday. They share last place in the western division with Detroit, last year's league champion. "We might do something," McLean later modified, "and we might not. I'm going to watch those players real close in practice this week and if the situation doesn't improve, why, boom...we'll get rid of them." McLean was asked about quotes attributed to him that he might get rid of seven or eight players before the game with the Bears at Chicago next Sunday. "Well," he said, "it's about six players. And maybe we won't have to. We'll just see." If he did fire some players, the coach was asked, would he get any replacements? "We probably wouldn't have replacements," McLean said. "The way they've been going they're not doing any good anyway. A bad apple can turn the whole barrel." When did this defeatist attitude first show up? "Well, it's been cropping up," he said. "It's been noticeable since the first Baltimore game. It goes back to other seasons. We had a good camp and a good preseason schedule. Then we lose a couple and some of these guys go back into the old groove. They instilled it in them. We've got to get rid of it." McLean said that the Packers
had only one extra player practicing with them besides the 35
on the roster. He is halfback Joe Johnson, a veteran of other
seasons who was traded to Pittsburgh and then released by the
Steelers. The trading deadline was after the second game of the
season. Are any rookies involved in the defeatist complex? "It's
been coming into a couple of them, too," McLean said, "but the
veterans are the ones who are giving it to them." Where is the
major difficulties - on the offense or defense? "I don't care to
say," McLean said. "I won't name any names. Just say it's on
both side - definitely." What about the story that the players
were too ashamed to pick up their paychecks Monday? "That's
a lot of baloney," the coach said. "Payday is always Tuesday.
You know the players better than to think they wouldn't come
after their money." And how about the quote, "There's no use
being a good guy. Good guys always get it in the neck. From
now on, I'm not going to be a good buy anymore." "Maybe so,"
McLean said. "Maybe I've been too easy. Maybe we'll have to be
tougher. It's going to be that way." McLean was hoarse. Did he
get that way from yelling at Baltimore? "No, I just got a cold
from standing out in the rain. I don't think I had anything to holler
about." What about Monday noon's meeting with the executive
board? "It was just the usual thing," McLean said. "I have my
weekly report and they asked questions. It was routine. That's
all." What will the Packers do this week? "Well," the coach
said, "we may have a little contact. We're going back to check
a few things. We had no blocking and tackling. The defense
held twice and then nothing. The morale shouldn't sag like that.
When we get two touchdowns behind, we should tighten up. Get
in there and fight. No team in this league at its worse is more
than 21 points worse than the best. They got us on the run, they
got us on the run. Baltimore is a good ball club. A real good
ball club. No doubt about that. But they are not that good. Even
after Unitas went out we couldn't do anything. But our back was
pretty well broken by that time."
THE PACKERS NEED HELP - NEED IT FROM WITHIN
NOVEMBER 4 (Milwaukee Journal-Oliver Kuechle) - Green
Bay's performance against the Baltimore Colts Sunday, 56-0, was an insult to all Packer followers in Packerdom and to a million football television viewers around the middle west. There can be no excuse for such a show of ineptness by men who accept money to play the game. That was plain awful. The Packers are in trouble - familiar trouble. It isn't going to be enough to pick up the pieces in the next few days and resume as best can, although that's probably the only thing left to do right now. What else can be done in November? It isn't going to be enough to get a new coach - if a new coach is really needed. And there has been some grumbling again. Lee Joannes of the contract committee of the club's executive committee is the coach picker. It isn't going to be enough, looking ahead, to have the best draft list in the league at the meeting December 1 or to make a few trades. Or to fire a few players for indifference and lackadaisical play. The trouble in Green Bay lies deeper than this, and Sunday's performance was still another manifestation. The trouble in Green Bay lies first with the executive committee - with the administrative setup under which the club operates, with the jealous zeal of some of its dominating old-timers to be a part of the picture, with the generally unhealthy coaching and playing atmosphere they create. There may be other things, probably are, but the club's very setup is the first...PIOUS 'OUT': Actual meddling on the field? Oh, no. That's always the pious "out" when the contract committee decides to change coaches. "We give our coaches a free hand." But meddling nonetheless. There are the weekly reports the executive committee demands at its Monday noon luncheons from the coach and general manager and the "whys" and "wherefors" of this and that. There are the "friendly" hints that Parilli, not Starr, ought to be the starting quarterback. There are the meetings with the players, without the coaches present, which Liz Blackbourn experienced in his onerous season a year ago - and isn't that a fine way to engender morale among the players? There is the procedure that the general manager discuss important things first with the executive committee, or its subcommittee, and then "make" his decision. Why a general manager at all? There is the politics within the board that has led to discord and bitter personnel differences which seep down to the field...A SAD DAY: The Packers are in the big leagues, but in a lot of ways they don't show it. How can there be a winner? They themselves invite a lot of their ills. The day that the executive committee clipped Curly Lambeau of absolute authority in the mid-forties and substituted administration by soviet, that days the team's troubles began - off the field and on. And look back. There hasn't been a winning season since. An executive committee of new blood, a new framework of club administration, are almost "musts". They must come first. Other things can be carried on from there. Sunday's game was just plain pathetic. The Packers aren't that bad. No pro club should ever be beaten, 56-0. And the principal trouble stems from within.
BRATKOWSKI O.K.; READY TO PLAY SUNDAY
NOVEMBER 5 (Chicago Tribune) - George Halas shed a part of his scowl and even smiled a bit Tuesday. Good news had reached him from the Chicago Bears' medical staff. Zeke Bratkowksi, trainer Ed Rozy reported, as not as seriously injured in Los Angeles as was first suspected. It now appears certain that Bratkowski will be ready to face the Green Bay Packers in Wrigley field on Sunday, Halas said. On the basis of Ed Brown's performance in San Francisco and Los Angeles, this was the most encouraging news the Bears could have received. Bratkowski was one of the stars of the trip on which the Bears beat the 49ers and gave a game away to the Rams. He went in against the 49ers in the fourth quarter when a touchdown was badly needed and, in six plays, moved the Bears 81 yards to the score. Bratkowski threw three passes on the march. All three were completed, the last one for 47 yards to Willie Galimore. That performance indicated Bratkowski was finally regaining the form and the confidence he seemingly had left somewhere during a two year hitch in the Air Force. In the Ram game Sunday, he pulled a pathetic Bear offense together, passed to three touchdowns, and in the fourth period had the winning numbers ready to hang on the scoreboard when his perfect pass got away from Harlon Hill. Ironically, on the very next play after Hill bobbled the game breaker, Bratkowski was hit while passing and dumped on his right shoulder. The pass was intercepted and Bratkowski's shoulder was severely bruised. The Bears can use him in the next - and last - half of the season. There is heavy work to be done if they are to reach the championship playoff.
JOHNSOS GIVES FANS ANSWERS
NOVEMBER 6 (Chicago Tribune) - If the Chicago Bears had been as fast last Sunday in Los Angeles as Assistant Coach Luke Johnsos was at Wednesday's meeting of the Bears' Alumni Fan club, they might not have come back to town as 41 to 35 losers. Johnsos, facing the fans in the Sherman hotel, disposed quickly and efficiently of the questions as to the chance of a collapse by the Baltimore Colts, Harlon Hill's efficiency as a long distance pass catcher, and Bear strategy in the final minutes of the Ram debacle. Asked whether he thought the undefeated Colts, who play the Bears a week from Sunday in Wrigley field, would go into their usual late season tailspin, Johnsos replied: "I don't believe so. They look too solid this year. If they do start to fade, it will be because of injuries." Johnsos praised the Colts as a "fine football team. They lost Johnny Unitas, their excellent quarterback. But Unitas probably never would have gotten to play if George Shaw, another fine quarterback, hadn't been hurt two years ago. Now we've got to worry about Shaw." To a question, "Why has Harlon Hill been dropping the long passes so often the last couple of years?" the Bear assistant coach retorted: "There's nothing wrong with Harlon. If he keeps his eye on the ball, he'll catch some passes this season and everybody'll be cheering him." Johnsos defended the Bear strategy of taking to the air lanes in the final six minutes against the Rams, when the Chicagoans trailed by only six points and had been gaining consistently on the ground. "When you're behind, you call the plays most likely to get you a touchdown. All we needed was to click on one or two key passes and it would have been a different story." To a questioner who wondered why Bear quarterbacks do not run more, Johnsos replied: "That's very simple. Unitas has always run alot, and you see what happened to him. We don't want to take that chance of injury. Quarterbacks are too hard to get." The Bear assistant had the same answer as to a query as to why Willie Galimore, the north siders' spectacular halfback, is used only on spot assignments. "Willie carried 10 times against the Rams," Johnsos said. "But you notice he wasn't used on kickoffs or punt returns. There's a reason for that. He has had a bad charley horse." Galimore was pronounced 100 percent fit for Sunday's game by George Halas, the Bears' head coach, after a workout Wednesday. Halas said it was the first time in three weeks that Galimore had run at full speed. Assistant Coach Paddy Driscoll told the booster organization that the Bears faced one of their toughest afternoons of the season next Sunday in Wrigley field. "After their 56 to 0 loss to Baltimore, those Packers will be desperate," Driscoll said. "The people of Green Bay will be telling them if they don't beat the Bears, they'd just as well not bother to come home." Bear players introduced by moderator Jack Brickhouse were Galimore, Zeke Bratkowski, Jack Hoffman, Vic Zucco, Willie Lee and Bill McColl.