INTERCEPTIONS HAVE TOLD STORY OF PACKER SETBACKS
OCTOBER 28 (Milwaukee Sentinel) - Interceptions, like booby traps, have sidetracked the fast-starting Packers in the last two games. In winning three straight, the Packers had only three passes intercepted. They also stole three. But the Rams' anti-aerial corps picked off two against Green Bay and the aggressive Colts four. In both of the losses, the Packers' defense got none. The Rams' Ed Meadow grabbed what might have been a Packer touchdown in the fourth quarter. LA capitalized on the break and scored its third touchdown to put the game on ice, 35-6. Baltimore broke Sunday's close scrap wide open in the third period when Bill Pellington rambled 30 yard for a touchdown after grabbing Lamar McHan's pass. Lombardi has an all veteran defensive secondary. Bobby Freeman leads with two interceptions and Bobby Dillon has one. Em Tunnell and Jesse Whittenton have yet to make one. Meanwhile, the defending champion Colts are in a first place tie with the 49ers because of interception work. Andy Nelson't theft resulted in a 33-yard touchdown trip two weeks ago in Detroit. It trimmed the Lions' 10 point lead to three and touched off Baltimore's triumphant fourth period surge. In the opener against the Lions, Carl Taseff snared a misguided pitch and breezed 33 yards to set up the Colts' clinching TD in a 21-9 victory. Last week it was Don Shinnick who picked off a pair of Bear throws, his second steal being converted into the Colts' closing score in a 21-7 conquest. Pellington and Ray Brown killed the Packers. Yet, Green Bay has permitted opposition fewer yards passing than the Colts and Giants, Sunday's foe at Yankee Stadium. The Packers have allowed five opponents 737 yards, the Colts 878, and the Giants 1,050. Lombardi's offense has piled up more yardage on the ground than these front runners, too. The Packers have gained 830 yards rushing, the Colts 585 and the Giants 595. Statistically, Green Bay is doing the job. But as the fans say, it's what is on the scoreboard that counts.
CONERLY, MORRISON FACE RUGGED TASK
OCTOBER 28 (Milwaukee Journal) - If the New York Giants are to extend their three game winning streak and maintain their hold on the Eastern Division in the NFL Sunday by beating the Packers, the job will fall mainly on quarterback Charlie Conerly and rookie halfback Joe Morrison. Conerly, 38, may have to go all the way against the Packers. George Shaw, the Giants' second line quarterback, will not see any action because of an injured knee. Morrison will play in place of Frank Gifford, who will be lost for at least two weeks because of the torn rib cartilage suffered last week in Pittsburgh. Gifford has been the Giants' leading ground threat all season and scored two touchdowns last week before he had to be carried from the field. Also missing will be Kyle Rote, the Giants' star end and captain, still hobbled by a knee injury. Giant Coach Jim Lee Howell has a health respect for the Packers. "This is a much better team than the one that won only one game last year," he said, "but nothing would give me more pleasure than to beat their brains out. I have all the admiration in the world for Vince (Lombardi) but..." Lombardi was a former assistant coach with the Giants.
COMEBACK TRAIL: PACKERS RISING AGAIN UNDER LOMBARDI
OCTOBER 29 (New York) - Once upon a time the Green Bay Packers were the glamour boys of the gridiron. The little Wisconsin town on the shores of Lake Michigan was more than a match for the titans from Chicago, New York and elsewhere as a pro football power. It had the greatest of all pass receivers in the incomparable Don Hutson and it had spectacular, resourceful performers to go with him. There is probably more than coincidence in the fact that the Packers, six times winner of the championship, started a slow slide downhill after the retirement in 1945 of Hutson, the glue fingered Alabama antelope. The bottom was reached last year when Green Bay won only one game. And the situation was worse than the record indicated because the once Ponderosa Pachyderms had become disorganized, dispirited and hopeless. Only a strong man could bring order out of such chaos. The Packers found him in Vince Lombardi, hitherto a stranger to top echelon activity. A member of the famed Seven Blocks of Granite at Fordham, Lombardi was graduated with top scholastic honors and eventually completed his coaching apprenticeship under Red Blaik at Army and Jim Lee Howell of the football Giants. Vince insisted on complete control as the first prerequisite. So he signed for five years not only as coach but general manager. Then the housecleaning began. He eliminated the shirkers, the playboys, the defeatists. He made shrewd trades. He juggled and improvised. He talked players out of retirement. But most of all he communicated his own forcefulness and dynamism to the players. At the first practice session under a broiling summer sun, the Packer squad moved with disinterested lethargy. "Just a minute," barked Lombardi in his foghorn voice. "You might as well learn right now that we expect 100% effort at all times. Anyone who won't give it can quit." No one moved. Then the whip began to crack. Compared to Vince, Simon Legree was a gentle humanitarian. He lashed and he drove relentlessly, hammering in the persistent message that hard work could make the Packers a winning football team. Oddly enough, no one resented him. He won their respect and soon his own enthusiasm became contagious. For the first time in more than a decade, the Packers began to believe in themselves. They opened their season against the Chicago Bears, the purported powerhouse of the West. The Packers won, 9-6, a tremendous upset. At the final gun Jim Ringo, the Green Bay captain, jubilantly scooped up the game ball and raced to the Packer bench. "Here, Vince," he said, offering the ball to Lombardi as a souvenir. "You deserve this more than anyone else." Streaming behind Ringo were the other members of the team. They pounced on Lombardi in the ecstasy of their delight and hoisted him triumphantly to their shoulders, hard bitten professionals behaving like excited schoolboys. It was an amazing testimonial. A week later the Packers upset the Detroit Lions, 28-10, and then upset the San Francisco 49ers, 21-20, to take the lead in the Western Division. It was unbelievable and Packer fans flipped their lids. It got so bad that Tom Miller, Lombardi's minister of propaganda, had to throw all publicity channels into reverse gear. "Don't raise your hopes," he pleaded on radio and television. "This can't continue indefinitely." Disillusionment arrived a week later. The hot and cold Los Angeles Rams struggled through leads of 2-0, 5-0, 11-0, 11-3, 14-3 and 14-6. Then they turned on the steam, scalding the thin Packer ranks with a 45-6 roasting. Last Sunday the Baltimore Colts, led by a red hot John Unitas, wrapped up the Packers, 45-21. However, the Packers are still brimful of confidence as they make ready to meet the New York Giants at the Yankee Stadium on Sunday. And the most confident of all is Lamar McHan, a discard from the Chicago Cardinals. Lombardi made McHan believe in himself and the quarterback has not failed. Talk can be a powerful weapon in football. Many years ago when the Giants and Packers regularly staged donnybrooks, the Giants naturally concentrated on trying to stop the unstoppable Hutson. Once three men were guard Hutson when Milt Gantenbein, the other end, stood alone under the goal posts screaming for the ball. He was ignored. Returning to the huddle he passed Johnny Dell Isola, then a linebacker but now a Giant coach. "Gantenbein," said Dell, jabbing in the needle deeply, "we have such little regard for your abilities that we don't even cover you." On the next play Gantenbein was still aone under the goal posts. But he was so blind with rage that he dropped a touchdown pass.
PACKERS' HOPE HINGES ON ABILITY TO MOVE BALL
OCTOBER 30 (Milwaukee Journal) - "We'll just have to go out and play the game," Vince Lombardi said Friday as his Packers prepared to leave Green Bay for New York and their NFL game with the Giants Sunday. "They'll be hard to move against," the coach said, "but we'll just have to move the ball. We've got to play our game, that's all." Lombardi wants to win this one more than the others. The same is true for the Giants. Lombardi coached the New York offense for five yards before he took over a coach and general manager of the Packers last winter. "There's really no feud, though," Lombardi said, referring to the quotation attributed out of New York Coach Jim Lee Howell that the Giants "would like to beat the Packers' brains out." "What he said was taken out of context. He said that he and I were still friends off the field, but when it came to a game, he'd be out to beat me. That's the way I feel, too. It would be odd if it were any different." Green Bay's defensive chore will be to stop Charlie Conerly, the 38-year old quarterback, and his runners, Alex Webster, Phil King, Mel Triplett and rookies Joe Morrison and George Scott, and his ends, Bob Schnelker, Kyle Rote and rookie Joe Biscaha. If Conerly needs help, George Shaw and Don Heinrich will be available. New York's offense suffered a blow when halfback Frank Gifford was put out of commission for two or three weeks with a rib injury. Gifford excels at the clutch play - running, throwing, catching. New York has no one like him. "They still have plenty of halfbacks," Lombardi observed. "In fact, they have depth all over. Conerly has a knack, like Van Brocklin, of getting rid of the ball. He's rarely tossed for a loss. You just don't red dog (send in the linebackers) after him and get away with it. If no one is open, or he hasn't got time to find them, he knows how to dump the ball for a harmless incompletion." All of the Packers will ready to play, except fullback Jim Taylor, who will be in uniform for the first tine in almost a month. Taylor suffered burns in a kitchen accident and only this week got out of the hospital. Lombardi said that quarterback Lamar McHan had been improving each week, both in passing and in calling signals. "Of course, with Taylor out we haven't had that punch runner in there and that's forced us to change our game a little. We've thrown the ball a couple of times where we would have run, if we'd had Taylor. Lew Carpenter has done a great job replacing Taylor, but he's not exactly the same type of runner. We've suffered in depth there, too." Lombardi said that McHan was bothered by a sore shoulder and did not throw at all in practice one day. "We hope he'll be okay," the coach said.
TUNNEL IN 'REUNION' WITH GIANTS
OCTOBER 30 (New York) - They had a day for Em Tunnell at Yankee Stadium a year ago. The veteran safetyman was flooded with gifts in appreciation of his stellar years with the Giants. Tunnell, 34, returns to his old stomping ground Sunday as a Packer. He hopes to have a few friends in the stands when he dishes it out against his former teammates. The all-pro defenseman will be up against one of the best receivers in the business - Bob Schnelker. Tunnell know what Schnelker can do. And Schnelker should know Tunnell. "This football is a strange business," said Tunnell Friday on board the Packers' flight East. "Who would have thought I'd be playing for Green Bay?" When asked how he felt coming from the Eastern Division champs to a team which could only win one game a year ago, Tunnell answered: "Football is my life. Playing for the Packers under (Vince) Lombardi is no different than playing for the Giants. Experience is the big thing in this league. The Giants have been winners because they've had something going for years. But as important as experience, is how you think." Tunnell believes Green Bay is a year or two away from being a great team. "I think (Lamar) McHan and Max McGee will rate as the finest passing combination in the league before long," Tunnell observed. "Once we get our units working together we're going to be tough. Absorbing a new system as a team is the biggest obstacle." Tunnell credits Lombardi for the rejuvenation at Green Bay. He pointed out the tough preseason grind when Vince would settle for nothing but perfection and hustle. "That's the way he did it in New York," Tunnell said. "That's the only way to do it." Tunnell averaged six interceptions a season during his tenure at New York, but hasn't swiped one as a Packer. For that matter, the whole Green Bay secondary has been interception-shy with only three. 'They'll come," Tunnell promised. "They seem to come in clusters. I hope they come in clusters Sunday." Tunnell admitted he gets as nervous as the greenest rookie before a game. But the butterflies disappear when the whistle blows. "I hope I can play at least two more years," added Tunnell, who is competing this seasons 16 pounds below his playing weight at New York.