MATUSZAK ACCEPTS GREEN BAY TERMS
NOVEMBER 17 (Green Bay) - Marv Matuszak, veteran linebacker who was released by the San Francisco 49ers last week, agreed Monday to play with the Green Bay Packers. He will report to Green Bay Wednesday and will probably play against his former teammates in their NFL game at Milwaukee County Stadium Sunday. "We figured Matuszak could help us the rest of this season," McLean said, "and he's a good man for the future, too. He can play all the linebacking spots and defensive end and also offensive tackles. He's a football player." Nick Skorich, Green Bay line coach, recommended Matuszak highly. Matuszak played for the Pittsburgh Steelers when Skorich was their line coach. To make room for Matuszak, the Packers placed fullback Howie Ferguson on the injured reserve list. Ferguson had missed last Sunday's game because of a shoulder separation and is now out for the season. Matuszak is 6 feet 2 inches tall and weighs 232 pounds. He had offers from five pro teams. The Packers got first crack at him because of their standings. At the time waivers were asked, Green Bay and Philadelphia shared the worst record but the Packers had a worse record than the Eagles last season. "There'll be a difference in defenses," Matuszak said from his home in Redwood City, Calif., where he runs a tavern in the offseason. "I feel certain I can learn my new job in time. I may have made some mistakes with the 49ers, but I didn't think I was that bad." In his fifth season, Matuszak cost the Packers $100, the league waiver price. McLean said he expected the new man would be a valuable addition for the next few years. Matuszak played three seasons with Pittsburgh before he was traded to the 49ers along with a first draft choice for quarterback Earl Morrall, who is now with Detroit, and guard Mike Sandusky. Matuszak generally is credited with being one of the reasons the 49ers tied for the Western Division title with league champion Detroit last season. The new Packer said that he took time off from pheasant hunting Sunday to watch on television as Detroit beat the 49ers, 35-21. "Let's face it," he said, "I was sure rooting for the other team." The Packers had other injury worries besides Ferguson. Ace end Bill Howton, the team's leading pass catcher, has a chipped vertebra. He may be out for a game or two, McLean said. Guard Hank Bullough also may miss the next two games because of an injured knee.
SCOOTER ADMITS: WE NEED TD PASSER
NOVEMBER 18 (Milwaukee Sentinel) - The Packers, who last season traded their best quarterback (Tobin Rote) to the Detroit Lions, now find themselves begging for an experienced passer to add punch to an offense which has scored only 17 points in the last three games. Coach Scooter McLean said Monday he is in the market for an experienced quarterback. However, he'll have to wait until the season is over because the trading deadline has merrily skipped away. "Sure I'd go for a trade," McLean said when asked if he'd bid for an experienced quarterback. Scooter then pointed to Sunday's statistics..."Look at this," he said, "we gain 304 yards and score seven points. Remember when I told you at the beginning of the season that if we gained more than 300 yards a game we would be a winning team...but look at us now. We romp up and down the field but can't come home." One didn't have to look at the films to see that Babe Parilli was both hot and cold against the Rams. He completed 17 of 31 passes for 211 yards - which should boost his rating among the NFL passers near the top. On the other hand, he had receivers free on scoring chances and couldn't connect. His touchdown pass to Max McGee was almost intercepted by Jack Morris, but the ball popped up there and Maxie took it from there. The Babe hit Joe Johnson in the end zone in the second quarter. But Joe, with his head turned toward the ball, was tackled viciously by Will Sherman and he dropped the ball. On the next play he overthrew Billy Howton. Parilli's first interception wasn't his fault as Lou Michaels hit his arm and the wobbly ball was a cinch for Don Burroughs to snare. But Parilli's next three interceptions were because of bad passes. He tossed down the middle and right at a stacked deck of Rams. The Packers were on the L.A. 29, 34 and their own 47 when the aerials boomeranged. Parilli, 29, wouldn't be human if he connected on every scoring pass and didn't throw an interception. His box score reads: Seven TD passes and 10 interceptions. McLean would give anything if Parilli would gain his '52 form when he was the most talked about rookie in the league. The Babe then had confidence and ability...today he only has ability. Green Bay has won only four games in the last two years and Parilli was the quarterback. He still is one of the best fakers in the business and can throw the bomb. Scooter said he would stick with Parilli from here on in because "we move with him." Maybe this move will give the Babe the confidence he needs. He could still be a great quarterback...but Scooter will have to barter for help if Parilli doesn't pan out.
MATUSZAK FIRED UP AT 49ER FIRING
NOVEMBER 19 (Milwaukee Sentinel) - Marv Matuszak vs. the 49ers...that should be worth the price of admission alone at the Stadium Sunday. Big Marv, the All-Pro linebacker last season, was fired by the 49ers last week for...for what? For missing a tackle? Matuszak, now a Packer, thank you, will have an ax to grind when the Bays battle the 49ers. Maybe this is the take charge the Packers need. Joe Arenas, former 49er star, had this to say about the Matuszak firing in a column written for the San Francisco Call Bulletin: "The 49ers bounced Marv Matuszak, an All-Pro linebacker only last season. In my book he was one of the best linebackers in this league and still is. Another team will grab him, sure, and if by some chance he plays against the 49ers again. I say look out. Matuszak was called in an told he was through...that he would have to be replaced if the 49ers were to go anywhere during the remainder of the season. He was blamed for some of the runs by the Bears' Willie Galimore and J.C. Caroline. I say you can't put the finger one man in that fashion. Matuszak says it all started with him the day he reported to camp this year as the part owner of a bar in Redwood City. The 49ers didn't like it and told him so. He said that they have decided now his play isn't up to snuff and if that was the way they felt about it, there was nothing he could do, except to catch on with another club." Matuszak, 27, said he couldn't understand being fired. Although he had no direct criticism for the 49er coaches, he observed: "I felt I should have been put back at middle linebacker." That was the position he played in 1957 until the final two league games when he was shifted to left linebacker and kept there for this campaign. Currently playing middle linebacker for the Packers is Tom Bettis, who is backed up by Ray Nitschke. Bettis is having a terrific season and will be a hard man to beat out. Dan Currie, the club's No. 1 draft choice last year, is the Packers' starting left linebacker and Bill Forester, a six year veteran, operates on the right side. Currie has settled down and is starting to look like a real pro. Forester has always been a dependable performer. So why did the Packers pick up Matuszak when they're loaded with linebackers? "Where can you pick up an All-Pro for $100?" one Packer official asked ($100 is the league's waiver price.) "Then, too, no one is indispensable on this team."
PARILLI DROPS TO 5TH IN NFL PASS STATISTICS
NOVEMBER 19 (Green Bay) - Babe Parilli, Green Bay quarterback, slipped from fourth to fifth in the NFL passing statistics this week. Parilli, who ranges from disappointing to dazzling, completed 17 of 31 passes for 211 yards against Los Angeles last Sunday. He now has an average gain of 7.94 yards. Eddie LeBaron of Washington, the lightest player in the NFL, continued as the leading passer with an average of 9.52 yards. Los Angeles' Bill Wade, on the basis of his brilliant showing against Green Bay, climbed from fifth to second place with an 8.41 average.
DRAFT CHOICE TRADES ASSAILED BY MARSHALL
NOVEMBER 19 (Milwaukee Journal) - George Preston Marshall, owner of the
Washington Redskins, Wednesday called on NFL clubs to stop trading away
their early round choices in the annual player draft. Marshall said he would
ask for a league rule to prohibit any team from releasing or trading its first or
second round drafty choices until the players have participated in at least
three games. Marshall said that the trade of top draft choices defeated the
purpose of the draft - to keep a few teams from getting stronger at the
expense of others...The San Francisco 49ers plan to send halfback Dick
Moegle back home for an examination of his injured knee. Moegle, former
Rice star, has missed the last four games. The 49ers will play Green Bay at
Milwaukee Sunday...Coach Frank Ivy of the Chicago Cardinals said Tuesday
that not all of his players were putting out "100% in effort and we must do
something about it." The Cardinals have suffered three defeats and played a
tie in their last four games. "This team should do a better job," said Ivy, in his
first year as Cardinal coach. "We've been hurt by injuries, but there has been
a general lack of effort. Some players are just going through the paces and
they have hurt the team."
COLLAPSE OF 49ERS REAL GRID MYSTERY
NOVEMBER 20 (Milwaukee Journal) - The Packers think they've got troubles.
They should look at the San Francisco 49ers, which they will, in the NFL
game at County Stadium Sunday. Green Bay is in the Western Division cellar
with one victory, six defeats and one tie. San Francisco is on the next step
with three victories and five defeats. Aside from themselves, hardly anyone
expected the Packers to get out of the basement. But the 49ers, how about
them? They tied Detroit last year for the division title and then had the Lions
handing on the ropes in the playoff, only to lose, 31-27, when Tobin Rote, the
former Packer, picked his team off the floor. Detroit went on to whip Cleveland
in the championship game, 59-14, so that suggests that the 49ers couldn't
have been too bad last season. This year, Frank Albert, the old left handed
quarterback who coaches the 49ers, figured his team was better than last
year's? So what happened? The 49ers have had a terrible time. Los Angeles
has beaten them twice - 33-3 in San Francisco and 56-7 in Los Angeles. It's
been that kind of season. San Francisco's main trouble has been that it can't
get its running game going. Old Joe Perry leads the way with 494 yards on 86
carries but Hugh McElhenny, the peerless halfback, has averaged only 3.3
yards a try with 214 yards in 65 runs. "The line blocking just isn't there," Dan
McGuire, the publicity man said. "We can't get McElhenny loose." Y.A. Tittle
and John Brodie have shared the quarterback job and haven't done too badly.
Tittle has missed a lot of play because of injuries. The top pass receivers are
Clyde Conner, R.C. Owens, McElhenny and Billy Wilson. Wilson has been
sidelined with various ailments and that has hurt. He not only is a fine
catcher, he blocks well. The feeling around the league last year was that
perhaps the 49ers were lucky. This year, it would seem, the law of averages
has caught up with them. Owens caught touchdowns passes to win three
early games last year. This year, he hasn't scored. The 49ers feel they have
improved their secondary with rookie Jerry Mertens, former Racine St.
Catherine High School player. Mertens was a 20th draft choice from Drake
University. "He's a good kid," McGuire said. "He loves
contact. Our coaches consider him a future great. Right
now they call him a young Jim David." David is a
defensive back of some renown with the Detroit Lions.
The 49er secondary has missed the services of Dick
Moegle, who has knee troubles. Moegle probably won't
play against the Packers here Sunday. In fact, he may
be done for the season. Another big loss by injury was
that of center Frank Morze. The 49ers have replaced
him with Walt Yowarsky, the former defensive end with
Washington, Detroit and New York. The 49ers have
scored 128 points, the Packers 126. The 49ers have
permitted 244 points, the Packers 243. Who could
blame them if they cry on one another's shoulders
PACKERS, 49ERS SET TO SHOOT WORKS
NOVEMBER 20 (Milwaukee Sentinel) - The most
entertaining game in the NFL...it could be played at the
Stadium Sunday Neither the 49ers (3-5) nor the
Packers (1-6-1) is going to win any divisional
championship this season. However, both clubs are in a
position to shoot the works at each other in the home of
the Braves. Without the so-called title pressure, the
game could very easily develop into a free-scoring
donnybrook. The crucial Colt-Bear contest Sunday had
all the earmarks of a natural. It turned out to be a king-
sized dud with the Colts shutting out the Bears, 17-0.
The difference between winning and losing in the NFL is
paper thin. There are no dogs in pro football, so they
say. San Francisco and Green Bay are not in
contention because neither has been able to come up
with the big plays when it's counted. What they'll do
against each other could be a horse of a different color.
The 49ers, who have often been a bridesmaid and never
a bride in the tough Western Division, last December
lost to the Lions in a playoff for the title. The same
personnel is back. But instead of winning the close ones this year, the 49ers are losing 'em. Y.A. Tittle, the man who made the club a year ago, has been erratic and Coach Frankie Albert finds himself in the same boat as Packer Coach Scooter McLean - which quarterback should he go with. John Brodie, the club's first draft choice who spelled Tittle last year, earned the No. 1 quarterbacking job after a hot preseason fling. However, Albert Wednesday named Tittle to start against the Packers. Brodie has completed 87 out of 147 passes for 1,062 yards and five touchdowns. Tittle, 31, has hit 56 out of 101 times for 671 yards and only two TDs. Interceptions, though, have led to their downfall. Twelve aerials have boomeranged on Brodie and 10 on Tittle. The Pacific Coasters have been passing a lot more than they have been running - like the Packers. Hugh McElhenny, who is still one of the most exciting runners in the business, is operating as a left half, slotback and right end...a talented man, indeed. McElhenny has picked up 214 yards in 65 carries and has caught 23 passes for 307 yards. Joe Perry, who smashed the all-time NFL rushing record this season, is the workhorse of the 49er ground attack, picking up 494 yards in 86 tries. Jim Pace, picked in the first round of the draft along with tackle Charlie Krueger (who broke his arm during the preseason), is operating behind McElhenny because the coaching staff believes the switch from Michigan's intricate single wing system to the 49ers wide open style was too much for a new man to absorb overnight. Surprisingly enough, Jerry Mertens, a 6-0, 185 pound starting defensive halfback who hails from Racine, is the plum of the rookies, Mertens, picked on the 20th round, is tabbed by his coaches as "very aggressive, fast and a player who likes contact." The 49ers have won all three of their games on the golden toe of Gordy Soltau, the nine year veteran. Soltau's boots beat Pittsburgh, 23-20, Philadelphia, 30-24, and Detroit, 24-21.
BELL, NFL CRITICIZED BY HOWTON
NOVEMBER 20 (Green Bay) - Player representative Billy Howton Thursday threatened Commissioner Bert Bell and team owners of the NFL with "extreme measures" if they continued to disregard promises on such things as a pension and player rights on bubble gum contracts. The Green Bay Packers end, who is president of the NFL players' association, accused Bell of a "lot of conversation" and no results on player demands. He said owners have been disregarding previous promises to the association. Howton said Bell and three club owners last February promised the association the rights for selling players' pictures in packaged bubble gum would be turned over to the players. "The money all goes to the commissioner now. They're our pictures and we think we should get the money. But all we have received from Bell's office is continuous interference," Howton said. Howton said team owners last spring agreed to pay players $50 per preseason game above their regular contracts but that members of the Washington Redskins have not been paid yet for the game played before the September 28 start of the season. Howton said that last spring the owners were presented with proposals to include a pension plan and hospitalization and other benefits in contracts "but we haven't heard from them since." He said the owners also disregarded a proposal to form a player-owner committee to help resolve differences between them. "As president of the players' association, I feel that if we do not have some definite results from the December meeting of the league regarding these matters, we will have no alternative but to resort to extreme measures," he said. Howton said Bell and the Chicago Cardinals also have refused to take action on a case involving a player who was injured before completing play last season. Howton said the player, Jim Ladd, not only lost $4,000 in salary but had to pay costs of an operation on his knee.
BELL ANSWERS HOWTON CHARGES
NOVEMBER 20 (Philadelphia) - Answering charges by Billy Howton, president of the NFL Players association, Commissioner Bert Bell Thursday declared, "We've agreed to cancel the bubble gum contract and give it to the players but we haven't been able to get a cancellation agreement. The Ladd case is a matter between the player and the club. The player has a perfect right to go to court. As for Washington, I asked Coach Joe Kuharich of the Redskins about it and he said all the players agreed to their present salary system; not one player spoke up." Bell said the league was still trying to work out a hospitalization and pension plan but that the one submitted by the players was "impossible" for a majority of the clubs. "Mr. Howton can like to have any kind of committee he wants," Bell said, "but the constitution says he has to meet with the commissioner."
YOUNG PACKERS FACE 'GREYBEARDS'
NOVEMBER 21 (Milwaukee Sentinel) - The 49ers will start the oldest backfield trio in pro football against the "youthful" Packers at the Stadium Sunday. Quarterback Y.A. Tittle is 31. So is fullback Joe Perry - and halfback Hugh McElhenny is a young 29. Tittle came up to the pros smart. He was protected and coddled and he hopes to stay awhile longer. "The old general (Tittle) always had a great arm and a good head," Coach Frankie Albert states, "but now that he has the experience, his legs are beginning to bother him." Even so, quarterbacks last longer than any other type of player. Perry, a discovery at Compton Junior College, needed only 70 yards at the start of the season to break Steve Van Buren's all-time league record of 5,860 yards. The Jet, currently fifth ranked among the league's ground gainers, still has the unmatched, blazing getaway speed. Few backs in the league can outrun him. McElhenny was making his usual bid for the NFL ground gaining title last year when the 49ers had to switch him to end because of an injury up front. He has turned out to be as excellent a pass receiver as he is a runner...The Packers were last in the West in 1957 because they did not have a lead runner, not even one in the league's first 20. Today they're in the same boat. Howie Ferguson was the closest resemblance to a running back, but he's out for the season..R.C. Owens, who was beating opposition last year by taking "Alley-Oop" passes from Tittle, has failed to score a touchdown this season. Owens was a howling success last year when he used his tremendous jumping ability to spring up between defenders and grab the "blooper" ball thrown by Tittle...Dick Christy, the Packers' No. 3 draft choice who was placed on waivers and picked up the Steelers, is the second best punt return man in the league with a 10.7 yard average. Christy was injured in the All-Star game and never had much of a trial at Green Bay...If Billy Howton, sidelined with a spine injury, is unable to play Sunday, it will mark the first time since the '53 exhibition season that the Packer end has missed a game. Scooter McLean has three candidates for Howton's spot: Al (Monk) Romine, Al Carmichael and Joe Johnson.
PACKERS WILL START PARILLI AGAINST 49ERS
NOVEMBER 21 (Milwaukee Journal) - Vito (Babe) Parilli will start at quarterback for the Green Bay Packers in their game with the San Francisco 49ers at County Stadium Sunday. "Babe's done the best job in moving the club," Coach Ray (Scooter) McLean said. "He'll be in there at the beginning." McLean was asked if the Packers' offense would finally break loose. Green Bay has scored only 17 points in the last three games, all defeats, and has only one victory, six defeats and a tie to show for two-thirds of the season. "We'll be in there trying," McLean said. "It should be a real good game." Will it be a high scoring game, with both teams out of the race and relaxed, as it were? "Oh, I wouldn't want to guess on anything like that," McLean said. "I do know that if we keep moving the ball like we did against Los Angeles last Sunday, we've got to start scoring." What do the Packers feat most about the San Francisco offense? "Their passing," McLean said. "No doubt about that." The 49ers have gained 1,544 yards passing and only 879 rushing in compiling a 3-5 record. San Francisco stands fifth in the Western Division, a step ahead of last place Green Bay. By way of comparison, the Packers have rushed for 790 yards and passed for 1,388. Will linebacker Marv Matuszak, who joined the Packers Wednesday after being released by the 49ers last week, play against his old teammates? "He reported in good shape, ready to play," McLean said. "He's been working at the two outside linebacking posts and will be available." One of Matuszak's complaints against the 49ers was that they switched him from middle linebacker to outside linebacker. "We have two good men at the middle job in Bettis and Nitschke," McLean said.