Preseason: Philadelphia Eagles 7, Green Bay Packers (0-1) 6
Friday September 6th 1946 (at Milwaukee)
GAME RECAP (GREEN BAY PRESS-GAZETTE)
(MILWAUKEE) - The Green Bay Packers almost tied - and then almost defeated - a powerful Philadelphia Eagles eleven before 25,000 spectators here Friday night. The final score was 7-6. Badly outmanned through loss of eight regulars by injuries, the Packers overcame 18 Philly first downs with enough defensive guts to disappoint as Eagle team that played mid-season ball. Offensively, the Packers were in true preseason form. They sputtered badly on offense and, on several occasions, couldn't cope with the fast-breaking T-formation. Heaped on this was shortage of experienced talent like Ted Fritsch, Tony Canadeo, Ken Keuper, Clyde Goodnight and Irv Comp - five gentlemen who could make quite a difference in any game.
EAGLES SCORE FIRST
Philadelphia scored first - in the second quarter - driving 68 yards in seven plays with fullback Al Sherman going over from the one-foot line and Roy Zimmerman adding the extra point. During the first half the Packers made only one first down and hung on grimly while the Eagles rolled up 12 and controlled the ball most of the time, the Bays getting only 16 plays - 14 less than a normal 30. The Packers scored quickly in the third quarter when Bob Nussbaumer skirted left end behind some slick blocking for 30 yards and the counter. Ted Fritsch limped into the
game to try the extra point but it was blocked.
FRITSCH MISSES FIELD GOAL
The Bays didn't make another scoring threat until the last minute when Fritsch stepped back on the Eagle 29 for a field goal try that went wide for a slight margin. Other missing gents were guards Russ Letlow and Glen Sorenson and right half Charley Mitchell. Comp had expected to play but came up with the grippe shortly before game time. With these regulars out, the Packers attack was spotty and definitely not coordinated. Halfback Bruce Smith was used sparingly. The Packers had some bright spots including Nussbaumer who looked like another George McAfee the few times he carried the ball; Larry Craig who literally led the Packer offense alone; Bob Adkins who in his first game as a guard did some pretty blocking especially on Nussbaumer's TD run; and Dick Wildung who looked like the best rookie lineman of the night. Cliff Aberson revealed that he could throw a pass against big league competition although his receivers were rarely open. He completed a couple of sweeties to Ace Prescott and Nolan Luhn in the last quarter, but a couple of other times was smeared for losses when the line failed to hold. Roy McKay demonstrated that he may carry the bulk of the Bays' punting when he averaged slightly over 40 yards in eight tries. The statistics indicated that Philly should have won by no less than 48-0. The Eagles made 249 yards on the ground compared to the Bays' 45. Philadelphia picked up 33 in the air and Green Bay got only 28. So without any further comment here are the game's detail: After three kickoffs, the Eagles took the ball on their own 30 yard line and drove to the Packer 27 where Merv Pregulman, freshman center, saved the Green Bay hide by recovering Steve Van Buren's fumble.
PENALTY HELPS EAGLES
In the opening drive, a Packer offside penalty on fourth down gave Philly a first down on the Bay 44 from where Bosh Pritchard picked up 10 and immediately stamped himself as the classiest runner on the field. The Packers made their one and only first down of the opening half on the next series as Roy McKay hurled to strike down the middle to Nolan Luhn for 14 yards. The Bays failed in three tries and from then on it was all Philadelphia on offense and the big Bays on defense. With Zimmerman, Van Buren and Pritchard lugging, the visitors rolled from their own 14 to midfield before the Packers made enough tackles to stop the Eagle offense. The Packers took over on their own 25 and Aberson sliced inside right tackle for eight yards. But that was the finish as the Eagles clubbed Aberson down for a 10-yard loss trying to pass. At the start of the second quarter Philadelphia launched its touchdown drive from the 32, piling up four first downs on a series of brilliant plays, including a one-handed pass catch by Dick Humbert good for 15 yards; a 26-yard dash by Steele; and runs of 12 and 11 yards by Craft and Steele. Sherman pushed over from the one and Zimmerman added the extra point. The clubs exchanged punts and the Eagles got the edge when Steele got off a 55-yarder that Herman Rohrig had to down on the one-foot line after waiting in vain for the ball to roll into the end zone. McKay kicked out on first down to the Packer 45 from where the Eagles drove to the 23. The Packers held and Zimmerman tried a field goal that went wide. The half ended a minute later as the Packers failed to gain and Philadelphia played a stalling game, taking two straight too-long-in-the-huddle penalties. The second half started out like the Packers were wearing Philadelphia's uniforms. Lambeau's men got the spark from Herman Rohrig who took the kickoff on his own two and raced like a wildman to the 43 after almost breaking into the clear. Smith, Rohrig and McKay made eight yards and then a break developed for the Bays. McKay got off a good punt on fourth down but the officials found Philly guilty of unnecessary roughness. So the Packers found themselves with a first down on the Packer 38. McKay made one and little Walt Schlinkman powered over right guard for seven. Then it came, the best executed play of the night. Nussbaumer took the ball on a fake from fullback Schlinkman, hit for the left side and, behind sharp blocking, with guard Bob Adkins taking out the last man beautifully, chased down the sideline into pay territory, the play going 30 yards. Fritsch, ailing with a bad knee, entered the game for the first time but it was useless as a couple of Eagle linesmen broke through to block the kick. Neither team did anything worth reporting the rest of the third quarter, but early in the final canto the Eagles drove toward touchdown land, reaching the 34 before Cecil Hare recovered Thompson's fumble to end the threat.
TIME FOR T.D. DRIVE
Cliff Aberson started throwing passes and completed one to Ace Prescott for 14 yards but a penalty nullified the effort. After an exchange of punts, the Packers had time for their last touchdown drive. Starting on their own 36, Aberson pitched to Nolan Luhn for 14 yards; Rohrig gained 14 after Aberson was smeared for a six-yard loss trying to pass; and Aberson completed another to Luhn for 12 yards when the officials discovered some interference. With sixteen seconds left, Fritsch stepped in for his field goal attempt but the ball sailed wide. The Eagles pulled one play before the horn sounded.
PHILADELPHIA - 0 7 0 0 - 7
GREEN BAY - 0 0 6 0 - 6
2ND - PHIL - Allie Sherman, 1-yard run (Roy Zimmerman kick) PHILADELPHIA 7-0
3RD - GB - Bob Nussbaumer, 30-yard run (Ted Fritsch kick blocked) PHILADELPHIA 7-6
LAMBEAU GLAD, NEALE SAD AFTER GAME; HEY, WHO WON THIS TILT
SEPT 7 (Milwaukee) - The two coaches - Packer Curly Lambeau and Eagle Greasy Neale - were feeling pretty good after Friday night's game here. Oddly enough, however, Lambeau seemed to be in a better mood than Neale. The Philadelphia gent indicated that his club should have won by more points, while the Bay mentor felt that his boys did well considering the circumstances. Lambeau had nothing to be sad about, but Neale did. Lambeau's club was playing typical preseason ball while Neale's team had a razor-sharp midseason appearance that should have beaten Green Bay's forces by about 21 points. But the undermanned Packers who were lacking eight regulars had enough defensive pluck - and guts - to stop the Eagles when it counted the most. Said Coach Neale: "Green Bay had a beautiful defense but its offense could have been better with the regulars in the lineup." Said Lambeau: "Our defensive fire made up for the loss of our offensive big guns who certainly would have made a difference." Just how bad was the Packer offense? The Packers handled the ball only 40 times, including eight punts. The normal total is 60, not counting punts. Naturally, this indicates that Philadelphia had the ball most of the time and the Packers had roughly 20 less chances to start a scoring drive. Just what might have happened if Fritsch (he went in just for the extra point kick and a field goal attempt) Canadeo, Comp and the others had played makes quite an interesting thought. It seems likely that they certainly would have created enough offensive electricity to shock another touchdown out of the Eagles. Anyhow it was just the first game, and an interesting one at that. What happens next Tuesday in New York Sept. 20 will be even more interesting...Short punts: When Bob Nussbaumer made his scoring run it was the first time he carried the ball against a pro opponent. Remember the last guy who scored the first time he got his hands on the ball? His name was Don Hutson, and that was back in 1935 against the Bears (7-0). Hope history repeats itself. Lambeau thinks Nussbaumer will be another George McAfee and, buddy, we hope he's right...The Eagles really wanted to win this one. Coach Neale used only 21 players despite the heat, and Steele, Van Buren and Zimmerman, Eagle backfield aces, each played 55 minutes. The Packers used 31 players and of the 15 remaining boys who did not play 8 were sidelined
with injuries - veterans Russ Letlow, Glen Sorenson and Clyde Goodnight in the line and Ken Keuper, Fritsch, Canadeo, Comp and Charley Mitchell in the backfield. Others who didn't play were Stan Kramer, Wilder Collins, Al Sparlis, Urban Odson, Jim Hough, Russ Mosley and Jug Bennett. Green Bay had only 10 men on the field on two successive plays when end Granville Harrison went out thinking he had been replaced and then failed to get back in quick enough...Tackle Douglas of the Eagles suffered a cut on his jaw that required four stitches in the first quarter and then returned for the second half...Lambeau watched the first half from a booth in the press box but took the field for the last. You know why. Keuper, injured blocking quarter, "scouted" the pass for errors from the press box. Eddie Kotal, former Packer player and assistant coach, scouted the game for the Los Angeles Rams...Elroy Hirsch, ex-Badger gird star, was in the stands together with Max Baer and Maxie Rosenbloom, mitt ex-greats, and onetime wrestling champ Ed (Strangler) Lewis, all of whom are entertaining in Milwaukee night clubs...Johnny Proski is making the Milwaukee-Denver trip as an assistant trainer...The Eagles didn't take to a hotel while here. They lived in a Milwaukee Road track on the downtown station siding, and took their meals in the railroad restaurant...Ed Crim, Milwaukee Road passenger agent, is making the Milwaukee-Denver-Green Bay-New York exhibition tour, ironing out all of the Packers' traveling details and any difficulties that may come up...Walter Rose, state Legion commander, and Gil Stordock, state adjutant, were present and still talking about the success of the recent Legion Army-Navy grid classic in Green Bay...Watching Nussbaumer score the Bay touchdown were his parents from Oak Park, Ill...Among the ex-Packers viewing the tilt were Johnny Blood, Eddie Jankowski and Joe Laws. Blood wasn't disappointed with the result. "It was just a case of one team being further advanced than the other - just wait until the teams meet in league play." The lobby talk is that the Bears will be plenty powerful this season, which makes everything just rosy for that big opener in Green Bay Sept. 29 because come Bear time the Packers will have quite a ball club too...The Packers came out of the game without an injury though the lads mixed it up occasionally. Just good fun, which will cease Sept. 29...Mayor Dominic Olejniczak was out rooting for his hometown team as were 250 or 300 other Green Bay fans...Between halves, the Packers went to one corner of the field for the usual talks instead of the dressing room, while the Lumberjacks entertained the fans...A line of 300 fans was turned away in front of the Journal building when ticket director Carl was forced to move out to State Fair park with his ducats. "We just didn't have time to supply them there, but most of them came out to the game," he said.
HALFBACK BRUCE SMITH RETURNING TO GREEN BAY
SEPT 7 (Chicago) - Coach Curly Lambeau of the Green Bay Packers announced shortly after noon today that halfback Bruce Smith had been sent to Green Bay to receive treatment for a groin injury that was aggravated in the exhibition game against Philadelphia at Milwaukee Friday night. Smith will rejoin the squad when it returns from a Denver, Colo., exhibition Tuesday against Washington.
PACKERS VS. SKINS IN DENVER TUESDAY NIGHT
SEPT 9 (Denver) - Nearly five tons of Wisconsin beef arrived here today, but the local citizens were still going without meat. (Bare counters - or haven't you heard.) The beef on the hoof represented the Green Bay Packers, who will tangle with the Washington Redskins in an exhibition contest at Hilltop stadium here Tuesday night. Kickoff will be at 9:30 p.m. (CST). The Packers, arriving safely two hours before the Redskins who came in from the West coast, worked out with the University of Denver team today in preparation for the exhibition. Three other "show" contests are scheduled this week, involving the Giants, Bears, Eagles and Cardinals. The Giants face Jersey City in J.C. Thursday night; the Bears tangle with the Eagles in Philly Friday night; and the Cardinals take on Greensboro, N.C., Friday night. Coach Curly Lambeau herded a squad of 46 players into Denver late Sunday - one under normal strength. The only missing lad was left halfback Bruce (Boo) Smith, the Minnesota runner, who aggravated a groin injury in the Packer-Eagle event in Milwaukee last Friday night. Smith got as far as Chicago and Lambeau was forced to send him home for further observation. Smith was one of the nine injured boys who "should not have played against the Eagles," Lambeau reported. However, the meek Packer attack forced Lambeau to send him in. Ted Fritsch, the all-league fullback, is expected to get a crack at the Redskins. He entered the Eagle game only to try an extra point kick (which was blocked) and a field goal (which went wide by a few feet). Another gent due for action is Tony Canadeo, passing left halfback, who watched the Eagle game from the bench. Irv Comp, who carries a prominent arm, found that the high altitude in Denver did his "grippe" a lot of good and is ready for play Tuesday night. Comp was "stricken" shortly before the Philadelphia contest. The Packers will be trying to break even in their grapefruit series, having lost a 7-6 decision to the Eagles in the first of three games. After Tuesday night's tilt, the Packers return to Green Bay for brief drills and then take off for New York where they'll tackle the Giants in a charity exhibition Sept. 20. The big battles start in Green Bay Sept. 29, with the Bears as "guests". The Redskins, like the Packers, played one exhibition and lost it, 16-14, to the Los Angeles Rams.
PACKERS, REDSKINS SET FOR TONIGHT'S GAME
SEPT 9 (Denver) - Washington's Redskins pulled into Denver from Los Angeles this morning and immediately started limbering up at Denver University Stadium for the pro football game tomorrow night with the Green Bay Packers. The Packers arrived yesterday and they, too, hustled into a practice session in this mile-high climate. Today they worked out with the Denver eleven. Sammy Baugh and his Redskins dropped a 16-14 decision at Los Angeles Friday night to the Cleveland Rams, NFL champions. Coach Curly Lambeau's Packers also were defeated Friday night, 7 to 6, by the Philadelphia Eagles in Milwaukee. Lambeau predicted a "dead even game" tomorrow night, adding "we'll be in better shape" than when Green Bay lost to Philadelphia. In that game, the coach said, practice injuries, mostly pulled muscles, kept five Packers on the sidelines - Backs Ted Fritsch, Irv Comp and Tony Canadeo, ends Clyde Goodnight and guard Russ Letlow.
REDSKINS 5-3 FAVORITES TO WHIP PACKERS IN DENVER BATTLE TONIGHT
SEPT 10 (Denver) - The Washington Redskins and the Green Bay Packers will meet in a NFL exhibition fracas at the University of Denver stadium tonight, with the Skins established as 5 to 3 favorites in Rocky Mountain betting circles. The game, which owner Marshall of the Redskins thinks will be a preview of the National league championship battle, was expected to draw 20,000 fans. Marshall said he felt Washington "definitely" would win the NFL Eastern division title and "would not be surprised" if the Packers annexed the West division crown. Sammy Baugh and his Redskins dropped a 16 to 14 decision at Los Angeles Friday night to the Rams, NFL champions. Coach Curly Lambeau's Packers also were defeated Friday night, 7 to 6, by the Philadelphia Eagles in Milwaukee...PACKERS IN BETTER SHAPE: Lambeau predicted a "dead even game" tonight, adding "we'll be in better shape" than when Green Bay lost to Philadelphia. In that game, the coach said, practice injuries, mostly pulled muscles, kept five Packers on the sidelines: backs Ted Fritsch, Irv Comp and Tony Canadeo, end Clyde Goodnight and guard Russ Letlow. Whether Lambeau will take a chance on his injured boys is still
problematical however. His probable stating lineup didn't indicate that such boys as Tony Canadeo, Ted Fritsch and Clyde Goodnight would see much action. The only starting player who didn't work against Philadelphia is Letlow. The rest of the lineup is the same that started against the Eagles. It included Ace Prescott at left end; Baby Ray at left tackle; Charley Brock at center; Bob Adkins at right guard; Paul Lipscomb at right tackle; Nolan Luhn at right end; Larry Craig at blocking quarterback; Roy McKay at left halfback; Herman Rohrig at right halfback; and Cecil Hare at fullback...NUSSBAUMER GETS CHANCE: Two boys who are expected to get plenty of play tonight are Bob Nussbaumer, the hard running right half, who scored the Packers' only touchdown against the Eagles. Nussbaumer established himself as a possible pro star when he skirted left end and eluded a couple of tacklers for the score. The other is fullback Walt Schlinkman, who showed a lot of drive against the Eagles. If Tony Canadeo sits out most of the game, the Packers' passing probably will be built around Cliff Aberson, who demonstrated that he could throw under fire in the Eagle game. The Packers again will be facing the T-formation, which is constructed around Sammy Baugh, the expert passer and ball handler. The game, in fact, is being billed as a passing duel between Baugh and Aberson, the Packer left halfback who throws a lot like the immortal Baugh...Two Packers will sweat the game out in Green Bay. They are left halfback Bruce Smith who aggravated a groin injury against the Eagles and was sent back to home territory after getting as far as Chicago Saturday. The other is blocking back Ken Keuper who injured his knee in a scrimmage shortly before the Army-Navy tilt in Green Bay. Lambeau expects Keuper to be ready for the Bear game in Green Bay Sunday, Sept. 29.
PACKERS TO MEET REDSKINS TONIGHT
SEPT 10 (Denver) - The once beaten Green Bay Packers and once beaten Washington Redskins will resume their preparations for the National league race in an exhibition game here Tuesday night that is expected to draw upward of 20,000 fans. The game is the first pro contest Denver has had since the late thirties. Green Bay, badly crippled in the game which it lost to Philadelphia in Milwaukee last week, was back at full strength again except for halfback Bruce Smith, who did not accompany the team here. Ted Fritsch, Irv Comp, Tony Canadeo, Clyde Goodnight all were expected to play here. Coach Lambeau gave his team an even chance. Owner George Marshall of the Redskins described the game as a preview of December's championship contest between the league's eastern and western division. "We'll win the eastern flag," he predicted, "and don't sell the Packers short in the west."
TITLE CONTENDERS? BAYS STILL MUST PROVE IT
SEPT 10 (Milwaukee Sentinel-Lloyd Larson) - If Green Bay entertains real hopes for the NFL title - as had been broadly hinted in advance - proof is still lacking. Certainly, the most ardent Packer roster saw nothing in the opening exhibition game with Philadelphia at State Fair Park last Friday night to indicate those hopes will materialize. It wasn't that the Packers lost; rather how they looked in losing. Ordinarily, a team dropping a 7-6 decision to one of the hottest contenders in the league and coming with inches of winning on a last second field goal would be considered to have made a successful inaugural. But not in this case. Except for Bob Nussbaumer's 30 yard touchdown run after a third quarter penalty break and and Cliff Aberson's last minute passes to set up Ted Fritsch's field goal try, the Bays' offense was well bottled up. The defense was such that the customers still can't figure how the Eagles failed to win by three touchdowns instead of a skimpy one point margin. The Packers failed to react quickly and their tackling was on the shoddy side. The absence of Fritsch, Irv Comp, Tony Canadeo, Clyde Goodnight and Ken Keuper - sidelined by injuries - and Bruce Smith's bad leg, which should have kept him on the bench, hurt plenty. Whether or not they could have they turned the tide is open to question. But there is no denying that Green Bay needs them - badly...FREE SUBSTITUTION - OR THE MIXUP SYSTEM: Coach Curly Lambeau did his first half storming over the phone from the press box. He was on the bench - that is, pacing back and forth in the vicinity - during the second half. Needless to say, he was the unhappiest onlooker. But when all was said and done, Lambeau wasn't of a mind to give up, disappointed as he was. "We'll be in there when all the boys are back in shape," he said. "Besides, we're three weeks away from the league opener with the Bears. We'll be ready for that one." Maybe he figures the Philly game as the right sort of a tonic for a club with the possibilities of these Packers. The players themselves known they have a big job on their hands. And that's step No. 1 in easing a coach's problems. Self-satisfied players, which the Packers can't be today, aren't driven and whipped into shape easily. Some 25,000 fans, who shared Lambeau's disappointment, in general were inclined to withhold the hammers and adopt a wait-and-see policy from a straight playing standpoint. Which is fortunate. However, there was no tendency to hide dissatisfaction over something that came into professional football with the adoption of the free substitution rule - the constant parade between the bench and the scene of action on the field. Players went into the game and came out so often and in such numbers that the sharpest eyes couldn't give the lineup at any given time. And the fans didn't take kindly to what some of them aptly termed the mixup system...INEXPERIENCE ABERSON SHOWED REAL PROMISE: Opening the parade gates is one of the few professional rules to backfire and detract from the fans' enjoyment of the game. Although nothing can be done about modification this year, the coaches should take it upon themselves in taking advantage of it. Running 'em in and out that fast, to my way of thinking, is a practice detrimental even to the coach himself. How can he get a complete look at a man who does most of his running between the bench and the scene of activity? Of course, newspapermen and radio announcers are definitely on the fans' side. To say the least, it isn't easy to write or tell about a game featured by the constant shifting
of personnel. To get back to the brief sunny side of the opening game picture, the big newcomer, Aberson, looked the part of the star Don Hutson, among others, predicted he would be. "I may be going out on the limb on that boy, but he may be our best left halfback before we get too far along," said the all time All-American before the game. "He played some service ball, but never went to college. So he lacks experience. But when he does the right thing, no one can do it better. He's big and fast, and really can throw that apple." High praise indeed from an expert and Aberson showed signs of living up to it, especially in the final minutes when he uncorked some passes, strictly of the big league variety. Fifteen, 25 or 45 yards - he fired the ball with the same motion. No windup; just a varied snap of a strong wrist. So you may hear more of Mr. Aberson.