Preseason: Green Bay Packers (2-0) 17, New York Giants 13
Saturday August 25th 1956 (at Green Bay)
GAME RECAP (GREEN BAY PRESS-GAZETTE)
(GREEN BAY) - It is difficult not to get overly hepped up about the Packers' chances in the forthcoming NFL campaign. This suggestion of optimism toward the '56 season is based on the Packers' 17-13 victory over the New York Giants before 16,448 in City stadium Saturday night - not to mention a 27-6 triumph over the Philadelphia Eagles the week previous. The boys in the football trade don't like to get too excited about a non-league win but the thing that made the Pack's heroics though-provoking was that the Bays accomplished the feat without four key veterans - Billy Howton, Howie Ferguson, Bobby Dillon and Nate Borden. It we may be a bit sassy, the Packers won without a right end - with due respect to Dick Deschaine and Al Romine, who manned the position at which Howton caught 174 passes in four seasons. Kicker Fred Cone filled in for Ferguson, the league's No. 2 ground gainer last year; Ralph Goldston, a former Eagle who knows the Giants, worked in Dillon's spot; and Gene Knutson handled Borden's corner. Howton, Dillon and Fergie went out with injuries and Borden was called away by a death
in his family. With the exception of right end, the performances of three of the four substitutes indicated that Coach Liz Blackboun is getting some strength on the bench - a missing quantity in '54 and '55. The Giants, rated as the championship successor to the Cleveland Browns this year, were without two injured veterans - Rosey Grier, a defensive tackle and offensive guard Bill Austin, but their chief pointmakers were hale and hearty. The Packers made four goalward drives and produced scores on three of 'em - an 18-yard field goal by Cone in the second quarter, an eight-yard bootlegger by Tobin Rote in the third quarter, and a one-yard plunge by Bart Starr in the third quarter. The two touchdowns were scored within six minutes. Cone kicked the two extra points for the 17 total. The Giants sizzled 70 yards in 12 plays with the opening kickoff for a 6-0 lead and then never threatened until the last four minutes of the game when they touchdowned on a 61-yard, nine-play drive. New York had a good chance to win - or rather the Packers almost blew the game thanks to a rare call by the officials - in the last two minutes. After the Giants made it 17-13, the Packers set out to kill the clock on their own 30. On a third down and one play, Rote fumbled and Breezy Reid fell on the ball. Breezy was resting his chest on the ball when Bill Svoboda wrestled it away from him. The officials, apparently screened away from the play, gave the pigskin to the Giants on the Packer 33 and the fans set up a howl. Chuck Conerly passed to Alex Webster to the 12 and then threw four incompletions while Mr. and Mrs. G. Bay hugged the edges of their seats. The Packer defense did exceptionally well riding Giant receivers and to make it sweet John Martinkovic knocked down Conerly's last pass behind the line of scrimmage. This last bit of action pointed up the importance of Cone's field goal. Without that three-pointer, the Giants could have won with a field goal of their own. The Packers also gained a statistical edge but, like the final score, it was close - 20 to 18 in first downs, 153 yards to 126 in rushing, 166 to 144 in pass yardage and 319 to 270 in total yardage. Rote and Starr each had a hand in a successful touchdown drive, while Starr moved the team for the field goal. Rote once worked the Bays from his own 15 to the Giants' one - a distance of 84 yards in 13 plays, where the ball was lost on downs. Between 'em, Rote and Starr completed 13 out of 20 passes - a ratio of more than .600, against the 11 out of 28 by the Giants Conerly, Don Heinrich and Bob Clatterbuck. Rote hit nine out of 14 and Starr four out of five. Long Gary Knafelc upheld the prestige of Packer ends all by himself, catching six for 89 yards. One was leaping 38-yard catch (from Rote) between two Giants that drew a big round of applause. Next longest catch was a 31-yard shot from Starr to rookie Bill Roberts that set up the second touchdown. Blackbourn managed to accomplish most of his testing objectives. Bob Skoronski and Forrest Gregg got a good shot at the line; Tom Dahms worked some on defense; and Starr, Roberts, Emery Barnes and other rookies saw considerable action, while Bob Maddox and Dick Gregory were held out. Heinrich worked the Giants' eye-opening touchdown. He ran Gifford, Webster and Triplett in a series of line plays from his own 30 to the Packer nine where he threw the only pass of the drive to Schnelker for six yards to the Packer three. On the next play Triplett banged over for the score. Martinkovic deflected Chandler's low kick for the extra point. After an exchange of punts, the Packers went to work with Starr at quarterback near the end of that first frame. Cone hit for 13 and Reid, Carmichael and Starr ran 16 yards to the Giant 43. Starr hurled 12 yards to Knafelc to the 30, handed off to Cone for five and passed to Reid for seven and eight yards. The attack stalled on the 12 and Cone hit a field goal from the 18 for the 6-3 score with 2:10 gone in the second quarter. Clatterbuck moved the Giants to the Packer 37, but a holding penalty forced the New Yorks to punt to set the stage for Rote's 84-yard move. Rote led off with a 10-yard run. Then in quick order Carmichael ran seven, Knafelc took Rote's pass for 11, Cone ran six, Knafelc caught a Rote pass for 11 and then performed his 38-yard feat to the Giants' six. Cone was stopped on the first try and then Rote made it inside the one in three more belts. The Packers appeared fired up as they came out for the third quarter. Reid ran 16 yards in two attempts but Dick Deschaine was forced to punt. The Packer defense quickly forced the Giants to punt and the Bays were off to the races. The first drive started at midfield. Reid slipped behind Joe Skibinski for 15 yards to the Giant 35. In the next six plays, Rote threw to Knafelc for 11, Carmichael for four and 12 yards and then bootlegged around left end for the score at 9:05. The Bay defense made Chandler punt the ball right back and the Bays started from their own 27. Reid led off with nine yards and then Starr and Roberts worked their 31-yard pass to the Giant 34. Johnson ploughed 19 to the Giant 16. Roberts made one and a Giant offside put the ball on the 10. Johnson cracked seven, Cone two and Starr drove the last yard. Early in the fourth quarter, the Packers forced the Giants to give up the ball on downs on the Packer 23, following a 47-yard drive. The Giants got it right back after Deschaine punted, moving to a teedee from their own 39. A Packer personal foul played a big role in the move. On second down, Jerry Helluin, Deral Teteak and Martinkovic smeared Conerly back 15 yards, but the Packers were penalized and the Giants had a first down on the Packer 45. From there, the Giants scored in seven plays. In three passes, Conerly hit Kyle Rote for a total of 50 yards and Webster finally drilled over from the one with 11:42 gone in the fourth heat. The fumble and Packers' last stand followed.
NEW YORK - 6 0 0 7 - 13
GREEN BAY - 0 3 14 0 - 17
NEW YORK GREEN BAY
First Downs 18 20
Rushing-Yards-TD 28-126-2 38-153-2
Att-Comp-Yd-TD-Int 28-11-144-0-0 20-13-166-0-0
Total Yards 270 319
Fumbles-lost 1-0 1-1
Turnovers 0 1
Yards penalized 4-29 2-18
1st - NY - Mel Triplett, 3-yard run (Kick failed) NEW YORK 6-0
2nd - GB - Fred Cone, 18-yard field goal NEW YORK 6-3
3rd - GB - Tobin Rote, 8-yard run (Cone kick) GREEN BAY 10-6
3rd - GB - Bart Starr, 1-yard run (Cone kick) GREEN BAY 17-6
4th - NY - Alex Webster, 1-yard run (Don Chandler kick) GREEN BAY 17-13
GREEN BAY - Breezy Reid 7-43, Fred Cone 9-33, Joe Johnson 4-32, Tobin Rote 7-26 1 TD, Bart Starr 2-8 1 TD, Al Carmichael 7-7, Bill Roberts 2-4
NEW YORK - Frank Gifford 12-50, Alex Webster 6-30 1 TD, Mel Triplett 7-25 1 TD, Charley Conerly 2-20, Kyle Rote 1-2
GREEN BAY - Tobin Rote 14-9-129, Bart Starr 5-4-37
NEW YORK - Charley Conerly 17-6-94, Bob Clatterback 6-3-35, Don Heinrich 4-2-15, Frank Gifford 1-0-0
GREEN BAY - Gary Knafelc 6-89, Breezy Reid 3-25, Al Carmichael 2-16, Bill Robert 1-31, Joe Johnson 1-5
NEW YORK - Kyle Rote 4-57, Wayne Williams 2-26, Frank Gifford 2-25, Alex Webster 1-21, Bob Topp 1-9, Bob Schnelker 1-6
WINNING FRAME OF MIND KEY TO PACKERS' CHANCES
AUG 26 (Green Bay) - One thing is sure - Liz Blackbourn's Packers love to play winning football. That winning frame of mind has been restored at the Bay and could go a long way in deciding the Packers' chances during the coming league season. The Packers today, strong but not too deep, want to win and believe they can win. Take Saturday night's 17-13 conquest of the New York Giants: "I honestly didn't think we could win this one," Blackbourn said after the game. "I didn't think the boys had football on their mind at the start." Blackbourn explained: "This was moving day for most of them. Can you imagine playing football after lugging furniture all afternoon and getting their families settled here," Liz asked. "And when the Giants started right off with a 70 yard touchdown march, I was sure the boys weren't up to it. We came around in the second quarter and started to look like a football team." Blackbourn's eager beavers beat a good team at its own game - defense. And his club did it without its best fullback, best end, best safetyman and one of its best defensive ends. The Packer boss wouldn't take any chances using fullback Howie Ferguson, end Billy Howton or safetyman Bobby Dillon - all nursing minor ailments. Defensive end Nate Borden was out of town attending a funeral. So some new and some old men closed ranks and the Packers settled down to business. Blackbourn looked over game statistics in his hotel suite and said, "It was pretty close, wasn't it." His assistant, Abe Stuber, appropriately added, "when you win you can forget 'em." Liz liked the work of his defense. He singled out Roger Zatkoff, Deral Teteak, John Martinkovic, Billy Bookout and Bill Forester - all proven vets. Hank Gremminger looks like a rookie comer. "Forrest Gregg has good speed," added Liz, "but Bob Skoronski is a little too heavy." (He's gained 10 pounds since deciding to play pro ball.) The other All-Star, Jack Losch, was sidelined with a pulled muscle." How about Bart Starr? "Boy, this guy looks real good." Liz looked at the sheet showing four completions in five tosses. "Last week he had three for four. I'm going to start him again against the Browns next Saturday. He can visualize plays as good as anyone. And his soft passes are right on the target." Tobin Rote had a real good night, considering he played half of the game. Rote completed nine of 14 passes for 129 yards. End Gary Knafelc made it look easy, as he snared Rote's strikes with the greatest of ease. Blackbourn was also impressed with the running of Breezy Reid, 43 yards in seven attempts, and Joe Johnson, 32 yards in four carries. Blackbourn insisted his club wasn't shooting the works in these pre-season tussles. "We've still got a lot of shuffling to do before this team shapes up."
PACKERS WORKED ON 'OUR WEAK SPOTS': HOWELL
AUG 27 (Green Bay) - Genial Jim Lee Howell could think of a number of reasons for his New York Giants' losing effort at City Stadium Saturday night but was able to put his finger on one as the most damaging. "The Packers picked our weak spots and kept working on 'em," the mountainous Arkansan volunteered, elaborating, "Their runners were terrific on the inside. They had blocking, too. That Rote's just a good quarterback," the Giants' major-domo went on, admiration in his tone. "I don't know what they would have done with Howton in there. Starr looked very good, too. He hit four out of five passes, didn't he? I guess he had three for four against the Eagles last week, too. That's hard to improve on." Howell, rolling a game program in a huge pair of hands as he reflected in a corner of the East High dressing room, shortly came up with another point. "We moved the ball well," he submitted matter-of-factly, "but our defense couldn't get it back often enough." Another factor, he felt, was the Giants' general inability to capitalize on a Packer defense minus the services of veteran "outfielder" Bobby Dillon, whose contribution was limited to one play because of an injury. Jim pointed out "Liz used a lot of boys tonight, especially in the secondary but we couldn't see to do what he figured to do against them. And, toward the end," he added wryly, "we couldn't keep Hanner out of our
backfield. We had a holding penalty and a clipping penalty that hurt us, too. I'm not alibiing, because we were guilty," he grinned, "but they did slow us down." Nothing it had been a "whirlwind finish," Howell let it be known he wasn't too disappointed because "we had a chance up until the last. I saw a lot of good things but a lot of bad things, too," Jim summarized. "I think we've got a good ball club," the man from Lonoke, Ark., confided in a parting shot. "The Packers just had a better one tonight."...That the Packers are rapidly acquiring the calm acceptance of victory that comes with winning was evident in the dressing room where Liz Blackbourn's athletes were taking a second straight triumph in their stride. There was considerable conversation, but nothing resembling a war whoop or a victory yell, as Liz walked among the players to extend personal congratulations for a job well done. "They gave you a pretty good going over," he said with a laugh as he came to placement specialist Fred Cone, who had seen heavy duty at fullback filling for the injured Howie Ferguson. Next door, rookie tackle Forrest Gregg was gently needling fellow Texan Bobby Dillon. "Bobby Dillon goes in and saves the ball game," he got off with a smirk. "Nothing to it," Bobby, who made his only appearance on the Packers' second last defensive play of the night, shot back good naturedly. A few feet away, Dave Hanner, who had another great night, was full of respect for the Giants. "They've got a real good ball club," the burly defensive tackle said. "They've got some hard running backs and I figure they'll be right up at the top of that Eastern Division." John Sandusky, late of the Cleveland Browns, was of a like mind. "The Giants have a good football team," he declared soberly. "They'll give a lot of guys headaches." At this point, Breezy Reid went by on his way to the shower - with a perceptible limp which had come as a result of a big night against a big Giant line. It moved former Packer Bob Forte, chatting with Blackbourn, to comment, "You looked pretty spry for an old man." The seven-year veteran's answer was a grin, which he managed despite a cut on the nose, that spoke volumes...Blackbourn, who admitted "I'm always satisfied when we win," was particularly pleased with the performance of his rookies. "I'm well pleased with Starr," Liz declared, "and I thought Bill Roberts did a good job. I thought Gregg looked pretty good, too, and Hank Gremminger did all right. He had a pretty good test there at the start, too." Touching briefly upon the veterans, he noted that "Breezy is having his best camp season since I've been here" and observed that "Gary Knafelc had a great night." Perhaps most significant to him, however, was the fact that "we were pretty fortunate to win without Howton, Ferguson, Dillon and Borden." Howton, Ferguson and Dillon were held out because of injuries while Borden, who arrived in time to witness the second half from the bench in civilian clothes, had been called to his New Jersey home by the death of his grandmother. Liz was also pleased by his disciples' recovery after a slow start. "The boys got a little hard-nosed the second half," he remarked, not without satisfaction. Maybe it is better to come from behind, someone suggested. "Oh, no," Liz shot back with a grin. "I think it's better the other way. I don't like the script like that."...NO SOONER SAID: "Now you've got your break defense, let's go," Liz shot over his shoulder to the defensive platoon after the Packers scored their first touchdown in the third quarter to take a 10-6 lead. The defenders followed his instructions to the letter - they stopped the Giants cold following the kickoff. Not to be outdone, the offense shortly went the distance for another TD before the quarter ended…NOTHING LIKE CHANGE: “How was it?” Liz asked Tom Dahms with a smile when Tom, normally an offensive tackle, came off the field after trying his hand at defense late in the fourth quarter. “It was lots of fun,” Dahms grinned…THE LAST WORD: Referee Ronnie Gibbs effectively silenced an unidentified Giant critic after ruling the Packers had recovered their own fumble midway in the fourth quarter. “I saw the ball,” he barked as the Giants put up a howl over the decision. When one of the visitors continued to beef, he took a step toward the New York alignment and snapped, “I’ll throw you right out of here, too.” That ended the conversation…FIRST APPEARANCE: Bob Skoronski, the giant rookie tackle from Indiana Packer fans have been waiting to see, made his pro debut at 5:50 of the second quarter when he came in to relieve Len Szafaryn…ECONOMY DRIVE?: The Cleveland Browns, who in the past have sent as many as four representatives to diagram the Packers, had only man, Paul Bixler, in the press box. Also charting the action were the Chicago Bears’ omnipresent Walter Halas, Lou Zarza of the Detroit Lions and George Svendsen of the San Francisco Forty Niners…SPECTATORS: Curly Lambeau, founder and first head coach of the Packers, and Gene Ronzani, the Bays’ second head man, were on hand to witness the Packers’ 1956 home debut. Also in the press box was Jack Mara, president of the Giants…LAUNCHES 18TH YEAR: The Packer Lumberjack band, which accords the Packers musical support at all games here and in Milwaukee, opened its 18th season in the bandshell at the west end of the stadium under the baton of Wilner Burke…NEW LOCATION: The Packer public address system has been officially moved from the field to the press box. Tom White functioned from above Saturday night and club officials have indicated it will become a permanent practice. The change was made as the result of a 1955 experiment when the p.a. was operated from the press box for the final home game of the season…BEST IN LEAGUE: The City Stadium press box provides the best service in the NFL, according to George Svendsen, 49er scout. He said this applied not only to the refreshments, dispended by Clem Collard, but to the speed with which statistical reports, developed by Hank and Leo Zautzius and processed by Dave Yuenger and Don Hickock are furnished to press box tenants.
SCHUSSLER TO BROWNS, LYSSY TO BROWNS
AUG 27 (Stevens Point) - The Packer squad was cut to 47 players today when Coach Liz Blackbourn placed Carroll college tackle George Schussler on waivers and returned back-end Chet Lyssy to the Cleveland Browns. Lyssy had been obtained in a trade that also brought veteran tackle John Sandusky. Veteran linebacker Tom Bettis was expected to join the team today, following Army service.
PACKERS MOVE TESTING EAST, SOUTH; CLEVELAND FIRST STOP
AUG 28 (Stevens Point-Green Bay Press-Gazette) – The Packers now move their testing and jelling excursion east and south. They’ll break camp here Friday and fly out to Cleveland for a non-league game with the Browns Saturday night and then head south for a pre-opener with the Washington Redskins in Winston-Salem, N.C., Sept. 8. Then, it’s back to Green Bay for a week of drills before meeting the Chicago Cardinals in St. Louis Sept. 15. There won’t be a game the weekend of Sept. 22, but National league action will start the following Sunday, Sept. 30 against Detroit. Thus far, Coach Liz Blackbourn has had exceptionally good fortune in his program of trying out the newcomers, although the looks at All Stars Jack Losch, Forrest Gregg and Bob Skoronski are behind schedule. As it turned out, the caliber of opposition has been excellent for testing. The Philadelphia Eagles were a bit on the ragged side when the Packers rolled over ‘em 27-6 while the New York Giants appeared tougher and better organized at this stage of the game. The Bays, nevertheless, posted a 17-13 victory. As a third step, the Packers will get something tougher than the Giants – namely, the Browns, the world champion Browns, that is. World champions or not, Coach Liz Blackbourn is treating the Cleveland game as another preseason test, the third of the current warmup campaign. “Our approach to this game won’t be any different than the Eagle and Giant games,” Liz pointed out today, adding: “We’ve got plenty of testing to do and we intend to do it.” He mentioned halfback Bob Maddox and linebacker George O’Brien as “two boys who must be given a good shot.” Both were held out of the New York battle. Blackbourn said he also wants to get a better look at Lowell Herbert – at middle guard or linebacker. Also due for a good test is quarterback Paul Held, who will get the same, Liz said, “if his knees come around.” Held picked up a sore knee in practice and Tobin Rote and Bart Starr carried the load against the Giants, each scoring a touchdown. Halfback Jack Losch, the late reportee, probably won’t be ready for Saturday. “He should be okay for the Washington game,” Liz said. Losch pulled a muscle in practice last Thursday. Tom Bettis, the veteran linebacker, was due to report here today after completion of a six-months’ tour of Army service. He left Fort Eustis, Va., yesterday. Tom, the Packers’ top draft choice a year ago, will work at left linebacker with Deral Teteak and at middle guard behind Bill Forester. “We’ll let Tom get his football legs back before using him,” Blackbourn said, indicating that Bettis won’t play until the Washington game. Two and possible three of the four veterans who missed the Giant game will be ready for the Browns. Nate Borden, who was away last week until halftime due to a death in his family, and Bobby Dillon, sidelined with a leg hurt, will be ready. The two question marks are Billy Howton, who missed both the Eagle and Giant games, and Howie Ferguson, who sat out the Giant test. Of the two, Ferguson is the best possibility for action. Fred Cone worked at fullback last Saturday and gained 26 yards in seven carries. The Packer offensive backfield and the squad was reduced by one yesterday when Blackbourn placed halfback Dick Gregory of Minnesota on waivers, leaving Losch, Maddox and Bill Roberts as the three remaining rookie ball carriers. Earlier yesterday, tackle George Schussler was placed on waivers and defensive back Chet Lyssy was returned to the Cleveland Browns. Lyssy came to the Pack in the deal that also brought veteran tackle John Sandusky…Blackbourn called for a scrimmage designed to sharpen protection for the passer this afternoon. “Our protection was generally good but that’s what an important phase and we may work on it every week,” Liz pointed out. Rote and Starr went through the test without getting smeared for losses, although Tobin was forced to run several times. Both pitchers have been able to remain in the
pocket for their passes – an indication that the protection has been better than average…The type of football veteran Dave Hanner has been playing the last two games showed up in the tackle chart on the Giant game. He came up with six clean tackles to lead all of the defensers. John Martinkovic and Val Joe Walker each had five to rank second. Coming in with four apiece were Bill Forester and Deral Tetak. Billy Bookout, Roger Zatkoff and Gene Knutson each had three. Al Romine and Glenn Young had two apiece. Single tackles were made by Jim Capuzzi, Ralph Goldston, Hank Gremminger, Lowell Herbert, Jerry Helluin and Emery Barnes.
BETTER LINE PLAY, STARR AT QUARTERBACK PLEASE LISLE BLACKBOURN MOST
AUG 28 (Milwaukee Journal) - The Green Bay Packers have now played two exhibition games and won two - won them impressively. They beat the Philadelphia Eagles in the Shrine game here two weeks ago, 27-6, and the New York Giants at Green Bay Saturday night, 17-13. What, Coach Lisle Blackbourn was asked Monday, were the most significant things about the victories? "Our line play," he answered without hesitation, "our offensive line play. And then Bart Starr's showing at quarterback." The answer was an encouraging one, for Blackbourn had the offensive line primarily in mind at last winter's draft (tackle Forrest Gregg of SMU, No. 2; guard Cecil Morris of Oklahoma, No. 4;tackle Bob Skoronski of Indiana, No. 5) and in his trades since (John Sandusky from Cleveland). "We needed help up front," he said, "and so far at least we're really encouraged with what we got. Skoronski and Gregg both have looked good and so had Sandusky." (Morris refused to report.) "We've been running better partly because of these new men and passing better - better protection for our passers. Not only are they contributing something real, but they're making our other veterans hustle. Nobody is sure of a job. It's panning out well all around." The more he sees of Starr, the more Blackbourn believes he may have the quarterback rookie of the year. "Starr had all the poise of a guy who has played three or four years of pro ball," he said. "Throws a fine ball and handles the team well. We've never really had a number one number two guy, if you know what I mean, behind Rote, and we may well wind up with two of them this year. Paul Held has looked pretty good himself and we may go along with three quarterbacks." In Monday's drill, preparing for the Cleveland game at Cleveland Saturday night, Blackbourn worked both Gregg and veteran tackle Len Szafaryn at the guards. "Just experimenting," Blackbourn said. The club will break camp here Friday morning, go to Green Bay to establish its base for the rest of the season, and then fly to Cleveland Friday afternoon. After the Cleveland game will come an engagement with the Washington Redskins at Winston-Salem, NC. Two more players were placed on waivers after Monday's drills - halfback Dick Gregory of Minnesota picked up as a free agent from the Chicago Bears and 250-pound tackle George Schussler of Carroll College, also a free agent. The squad dropped to 46 with these cuts but will be back up to 47 with the expected arrival of linebacker Tom Bettis of Purdue either Tuesday night or Wednesday morning. Bettis has been in the Army.
PACK HAS CUTTING PROBLEM; 47 STILL FIGHTING FOR POSTS
AUG 29 (Stevens Point-Green Bay Press-Gazette) – The Packers have reached the halfway mark in their training for the 1956 NFL season. And with the league opener here against Detroit just four weeks from next Sunday, it’s time for another nose count. The Packers have a total of 47 players in camp at the moment. This figure could change slightly before the squad leaves Friday for the Cleveland Brown game Saturday night, barring a waiver or a trade. Of the 47 athletes, 31 are Packer veterans – that is, players who were with the Packers in ’55 or previous years. Twelve are simon-pure rookies and four are new Packers this season who had previous experience with other pro clubs. Two of the other-club pros were picked up on waivers – Ralph Goldston, a defensive back, from the Philadelphia Eagles last spring; and Larry Lauer, a center, from the Chicago Bears three weeks ago. The other two, tackles John Sandusky and Don King, were obtained from the Browns in trades. The rookies include six members of the ’56 draft list – halfback Jack Losch, first choice; tackle Forrest Gregg, second; tackle Bob Skoronski, fifth; halfback Hank Gremminger, seventh; halfback Max Burnett, 12th; and quarterback Bart Starr, 17th. Two other rookies are members of the 1954 draft who were called into service before they had a chance to report – end Emery Barnes, 18th; and center Lowell Herbert, 20th. The remaining four rookies are free agents – halfbacks Bill Roberts, Bobby Maddox and Glenn Young, and linebacker George O’Brien. The 31 returning veterans are: Backs – Tobin Rote, Paul Held, Breezy Reid, Joe Johnson, Howie Ferguson, Fred Cone, Al Carmichael, Bobby Dillon, Val Joe Walker, Al Romine, Billy Bookout, Jim Capuzzi. Linebackers – Roger Zatkoff, Deral Teteak, Bill Forester, Tom Bettis. Tackles – Bill Lucky, Dave Hanner, Jerry Helluin, Tom Dahms, Len Szafaryn. Guards – Buddy Brown, Jack Spinks, Joe Skibinski Center – Jim Ringo. Ends – Gary Knafelc, Bill Howton, Dick Descahine, John Martinkovic, Nate Borden, Gene Knutson. The 47 players are composed of 20 backs, five linebackers, nine tackles, three guards, three centers and seven ends. Since the roster must be reduced to 35 athletes the Monday before the league opener, it is obvious that somebody will have to go. Coach Liz Blackbourn pictured some difficulty in reducing the squad after the 27-7 victory over Philadelphia, although seven players have left since then. He voiced similar cutting troubles after the 17-13 victory over New York. The problem could become more complicated if the Packers conduct themselves in noteworthy fashion against the Browns. Actually, that would be a sort of pleasant predicament for Blackbourn. The Packer offensive backfield presently has Rote, Starr and Held at quarterback; Reid, Johnson and Losch at left half; Ferguson and Cone at fullback’ and Carmichael, Roberts and Maddox at right half. The defensive unit has Dillon, Walker, Goldston, Romine, Burnett, Bookout, Gremminger, Young and Capuzzi. The linebackers are Zatkoff, Teteak, Forester, Bettis and O’Brien, with Forester also handling middle guard. Centers are Ringo, Herbert, who is also a linebacker, and Lauer and the ends are Martinkovic, Knafelc, Howton, Deschaine, Borden, Barnes and Knutson…GET FULL TEST: All of the aforementioned players have had their interesting moments with the exception of Maddox, O’Brien and Howton. Maddox and O’Brien will get a full test against the Browns. Howton has missed both non-leaguers because of injuries. The Packers are short-handed at offensive guard with only three such animals in camp – Spinks, Brown and Skibinski. Blackbourn hopes to straighten out that situation by shifting a tackle, possibly Szafaryn, to guard. This will depend on how Skoronski and Gregg progress. Gregg, incidentally, is also a guard possibility. Other tackles are King, Lucky, Hanner, Helluin, Sandusky and Dahms…Everything wasn’t peaches and cream in camp Tuesday afternoon. In a brief scrimmage aimed at sharpening protection for the passer, Herbert suffered a sprained ankle. He will miss his change in the Brown game for sure but may be ready for Washington. Herbert was hurt when blocked by fullback Fred Cone, who was protecting the passer. Blackbourn had been impressed with Herbert’s work as a linebacker and had hoped to use him considerably in Cleveland. While the protection given passers Rote, Starr and Held was called “good” by Blackbourn, the pitchers were off their marks. “That’s unusual because you’d think at least one of them could hit,” Liz said. In the two victories, Rote and Starr both were above average in completions, with Starr completing seven out of nine for 68 yards and Rote 13 out of 24 for 175 yards. Held has completed two out of seven for 21 yards. Bettis reported to camp Monday night and took his first drill today. Preparations for the Browns were scheduled to start in the afternoon’s workout. No outdoor action was held this morning.
WALKER,CARMICHAEL HURT IN COLLISION
AUG 30 (Green Bay) - Suddenly, the Packers are all banged up! The surge of injuries that left the squad crippled somewhat for the New York Giant game reached a critical point when veterans Val Joe Walker and Al Carmichael crashed together in a freak accident during practice Wednesday afternoon. Walker suffered a slight lung tear and an injured knee. He will be out of action from 10 days to two weeks and must refrain from running for one week. Carmichael injured his knee and may miss the Cleveland game Saturday. Carmichael slammed into Walker while running at full speed after taking a long pass from Paul Held. Ironically, Walker also was catching a pass – an interception, and had his back to Carmichael when the collision occurred. The Packers were practicing in uniforms without pads at Goerke stadium and Coach Abe Stuber’s defensive unit, which included Walker, was working around the 10-yard line while the offense, under Coach Liz Blackbourn and aide Ray McLean, was running off plays around the opposite 20-yard line. Normally, the distance between the two units is safe, but Columbia Broadcasting System cameramen were on hand yesterday taking individual and group action pictures to be used in pregame telecasts during the league season. At various times, the cameramen asked the offensive unit to “move up” for a better angle and, as a result, the teams were close to the 40 when the long pass was worked. Carmichael, playing a flanker position, took Held’s pass in full stride and ran only a yard or two before crashing into Walker, who was tensed up in the act of receiving the ball. Dr. L.W. Reichardt, who attends the Packers here and who just happened to be at practice, and Trainer Bud Jorgenson rushed over and revived Walker. Carmichael was dazed but continued practice. Walker, who was spitting some blood, was taken to the Rice clinic for X-rays and an examination and then to the Packer training room for knee treatments. He spent last night in St. Michael’s hospital, across the street from the Packer dormitory, chiefly as a precautionary measure. Coach Liz Blackbourn, who said one word – “damnation” – when the players crashed hurried to the scene along with the entire squad. Everybody was relieved that it wasn’t worse. The CBS cameramen quickly adjusted their sights and took pictures of the injured players, and Blackbourn ordered the defense to move into another area. A third unit, the linemen under Lou Rymkus and Earl Klapstein, was working in the end zone behind the offensive team. Walker and Carmichael agreed later that they’d never get hit that hard “no matter how long we play.” The injury to Walker, a shock to his defensive buddy, Bobby Dillon, left the Packers without that combination for the Brown game. Dillon, with the exception of one play, missed the Giant game due to an ankle injury and Blackbourn is leery of taking a chance with Bobby in Cleveland. The Packers may have to go with Ralph Goldston, the former Philadelphia Eagle, and rookie Max Burnett at the defensive outfield posts. The Packers have another real hurt – offensive end. Billy Howton, who missed the first two non-league games, is running better and may see only brief action Saturday. One of his substitutes, Al Romine, came up with a muscle pull in the last play of Tuesday’s workout and was hobbling yesterday. This leaves the Packers with only two ends – Gary Knafelc, who has played all of the left end in the first two games, and Dick Deschaine, the punter who is just breaking in as an end. Blackbourn informed Jorgenson that “it looks like you and Dad (Braisher) will have to play some end.” Seriously, though, Blackbourn asked veteran halfback Joe Johnson this question on the way to chow last night: “Do you know the plays for both ends?” Joe gave with a smile and nod. So it appears that Johnson may get his baptism at end somewhere along the line Saturday night. In all, the Packers have 10 players with various hurts – which takes quite a cut into the roster of 47. On the list are Walker, Carmichael, Howton, Romine, Dillon, Held, Jack Losch, Howie Ferguson, Lowell Herbert and Billy Bookout…Walker became the first hospital case of the ’56 training season, although his term across the street was short lived. The Bays missed a no-hospital camp by one day since the club breaks camp Friday morning. In the Packers’ first year here (1954), Deral Teteak suffered a broken ankle and spent some time in St. Michael’s. Last year, Bill Lucky lost his appendix and tackle Len Szafaryn underwent knee treatments there. “Until Walker, we’ve had few doctor bills. Other than prescriptions for colds and few X-rays, there hasn’t been much,” Jorgenson said…Since shoulder pads and other heavy equipment had to be shipped out earlier to Cleveland, the Packers wore their game uniforms with no pads yesterday for the benefit of the cameramen. Belts for the players’ pants also were included in the early shipment so the athletes had to use long shoe strings – to keep their trousers up. The Bays will leave in two chartered North Central planes at 9:30 Friday morning for Cleveland.
LIZ LOOKS TO NOVEMBER TILT WITH BROWNS, NOT SATURDAY
AUG 30 (Milwaukee Sentinel) - A Liz Blackbourn-coached Packer team has never beaten the Browns, whether it was a pre-season test or when the chips were down. How bad then does Blackbourn want to win when his Packers take on the Browns in Cleveland's Municipal Stadium Saturday night? "I don't want to win this one too much," said the sharp spoken Packer headman Wednesday. "When the chips are down in November, we'll be shooting the works." Blackbourn was referring to the Stadium engagement with the world champs November 4. "We're still trying out many new things and that's the way it's going to be in these preseason games," Blackbourn continued. "It's a funny thing, though, when things get tight I find myself wanting to win." Well, that attitude has rubbed off on his 47-man squad. Even though there is a complete shuffling of personnel taking place, the club has two wins in its first two starts. Cleveland, which has referred to Green Bay as its farm club because of numerous deals, will toss one of those prize trades against the Packers when Babe Parilli starts at quarterback. The Babe hasn't been able to shed the rust from two years in the service so far, but is starting because George Ratterman is bothered with a shoulder bruise. "Cleveland fans have been reading a lot of Parilli and now they'll get a chance to see him," is Coach Paul Brown's reasoning. "I had the feeling in the late stages of the Ram game that he was beginning to find himself." Blackbourn's reaction: "That doesn't mean anything to me. Parilli wasn't around when I took over at Green Bay. I've only met the boy once. Reports show the Browns haven't been throwing well yet, but that's nothing new this time of year." Blackbourn said he would start veteran fullback Howie Ferguson, sidelines against the Giants because of a leg injury. "Fergy needs the work and
he's itching to play," said the coach. End Billy Howton, working out with pads again, and linebacker Billy Bookout, who got a going over from New York, will be the only Packers benched against the Browns. Safetyman Bobby Dillon, out with a slight ankle sprain, is fit to go. Blackbourn was uneasy only about one thing in preparation for Saturday night's game - lack of contact work. "Tuesday was our last chance to scrimmage because our equipment had to be shipped east." The Packers will headquarter in North Carolina prior to their next engagement with the Redskins at Winston-Salem September 8. While the Cleveland exhibition means absolutely nothing in the books, it could be a probing ground for each club prior to their November meeting.
BAYS PUT TWO-GAME WIN SKEIN ON LINE VS. BROWNS
AUG 31 (Cleveland-Green Bay Press-Gazette) – The Green Bay Packers put their two-game winning streak on the line against the world champion Cleveland Browns in Municipal stadium Saturday night. But Packer Coach Liz Blackbourn isn’t worrying about winning at this stage of the non-championship season. He’s intent on using as many new players as possible – a plan he followed in victories over the Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants. The Packers arrived here in two North Central plans early this afternoon and after checking in at the Hotel Cleveland practiced in a field outside the
stadium. The contest will start at 6:30, Green Bay time, and will be broadcast over Press-Gazette radio station WJPG, starting at 6:25 with Tony Flynn at the mike. The Packers have 46 players in their party, including Val Joe Walker, who suffered a lung tear and injured knee, and Al Carmichael, who injured his knee in a crash during practice Wednesday. Val Joe was hospitalized Wednesday night as a precautionary measure and will be out of action for 10 days to two weeks. Carmichael may see some action here. Nearly 10 players have various hurts but only Walker and Lowell Herbert, rookie linebacker who has a sprained ankle, will be held out. Others injured, including Bobby Dillon and Billy Howton, will play briefly. Blackbourn announced that he will start rookie Bart Starr at quarterback and possibly rookie Bill Roberts at right halfback in place of Carmichael. Other newcomers in the starting offensive lineup will be left tackle Bob Skoronski, center Larry Lauer and right tackle John Sandusky, who will be playing against his old teammates. Sandusky came to the Pack in a draft choice trade with the Browns. Question mark starters are Howton at right end and Howie Ferguson at fullback. Replacement starters are punter-end Dick Deschaine and kicker-fullback Fred Cone. The Packers will continue their eastern journey Sunday morning to Greensboro, N.C., flying in two North Central planes, to start preparations for a non-leaguer with the Washington Redskins in Winston-Salem, N.C., a week from Saturday night. They return to Green Bay Sept. 9 to clear the decks for the final non-leaguer – the Chicago Cardinals in St. Louis Sept. 15 and the league opener in Green Bay against Detroit Sept. 30. Weekend action opens tonight with a battle between Detroit and Philadelphia in Miami. Besides the Packer-Brown game Saturday night, Los Angeles meets New York in Seattle; and Washington takes on the Chicago Bears in Little Rock, Ark. The Cardinals visit San Francisco Sunday afternoon.
PACKERS OPPOSE CLEVELAND, SEEK THIRD STRAIGHT VICTORY
AUG 31 (Cleveland) - The Green Bay Packers will seek their third straight NFL exhibition victory when they meet the Cleveland Browns here Saturday night. Paul Brown's Browns will be after their first victory. This, however, does not mean the Packers are favored. On the contrary, Cleveland rules a slight favorite. The reasons for this include: (1) Brown and his Browns want to win at home, even in an exhibition, and (2) Lisle Blackbourn's Packers never have beaten the Browns, either in exhibition or league play. The Browns use the preseason games to get ready for the season. Their records in exhibition games are rarely good, but once the regular season starts, they always win the division and often the league championship. Brown said Friday that he would start his regulars against the Packers. A victory here would help the gate when the season starts and he said he wanted the boys who would be playing together most of the time to get the "team feel". Vito (Babe) Parilli, former Packer just back from the service, will be at quarterback against his former teammates. George Ratterman, understudy last year to the retired Otto Graham, may not play because of injuries. Veteran Tobin Rote and rookie Bart Starr of Alabama will share the quarterback job for Green Bay. Starr will probably start. The Packers will have a makeshift defensive backfield because regulars Val Joe Walker and Bobby Dillon, talented deep men, both are injured. Rookies Jack Losch and Lowell Herbert also are sidelined. Bill Howton, star offensive end, will likely miss his third straight game because of injuries, but fullback Howie Ferguson should be ready. The Packers have beaten Philadelphia, 27-6, and New York, 17-13. Cleveland was beaten by San Francisco, 27-17, and by Los Angeles, 17-6. Both games were played on the West Coast.
PACKERS SEEK 1ST WIN OVER TOUGH BROWNS
AUG 31 (Milwaukee Sentinel) - The Packers are extremely anxious to beat the big, bad Browns for the first time ever Saturday night, but if Coach Liz Blackbourn's gang expects to turn the trick, rookies and sheer guts will mean the mostest. Injuries will keep three Bays sidelined. Defensive back Val Joe Walker is out two weeks with a lung injury sustained in practice Wednesday. Rookie back Jack Losch has a pulled muscle, and center Lowell Herbert is benched with a sprained ankle. Then, too, Blackbourn can name six other players with various injuries. On the list are Al Carmichael, Billy Howton, Alton Romie, Bobby Dillon, Howie Ferguson and Billy Bookout. Meanwhile, the Browns will counter with a veteran offensive and defensive unit which is likely to open the regular season. Babe Parilli, the old Packer flipper, will open at quarterback in place of George Ratterman, nursing a bruised right shoulder and damaged ribs. Blackbourn will probably start Tobin Rote at quarterback with Breezy Reid and Bill Roberts at halfbacks and Ferguson at fullback. Halfback Joe Johnson is expected to get a shot at end. Veteran linebacker Tom Bettis, who returned from the Army on Wednesday, may get into the lineup. Liz will shoot the rookie herd against the Browns and may have to go the whole game with Ralph Goldston, a former Eagle, and Max Burnett at defensive halfback posts.
BROWNS DUE FOR POINT SPLURGE AGAINST PACK
SEPT 1 (Cleveland-Green Bay Press-Gazette) – The Cleveland Browns should score a flock of points in their non-league battle with the Green Bay Packers in Municipal Stadium at 6:30 Green Bay game tonight. The reasons are twofold: First, the Browns have scored only 23 marks in their last two starts – a 28 to 17 loss to Los Angeles and a 17-6 setback in San Francisco. The men of Paul Brown are overdue in the point department. Second, the Packers won’t be able to field their best deep defense, which is good news for such Cleveland aerialists as Babe Parilli, George Ratterman, Ray Renfro, Dante Lavelli and Darrel Brewster. The Packers will be without their two ace outfielders, Bobby Dillon and Val Joe Walker. Dillon may see some brief action but Walker is definitely out – the result of an accident in camp last week. Replacing the key defensers are Ralph Goldston, the former Philadelphia Eagle, and a rookie, Max Burnett. In the cornerbacker spots in front of the deep men (at least at the start) will be Jim Capuzzi, who had little game experience with the Pack last year, and rookie Glenn Young…KING FOR HELLUIN: The rest of the defense will be all Packer veterans with the exception of tackle Don King, the former Brown, who will start in place of Jerry Helluin. King came to the Packers this season in exchange for a draft choice. Other starters are John Martinkovic and Nate Borden at ends, Dave Hanner at tackle, Bill Forester at middle guard, and Deral Tetak and Roger Zatkoff at middle guard. Coach Liz Blackbourn plans to start two rookies in his offensive backfield – Bart Starr at quarterback and Bill Roberts at right half in place of the injured Al Carmichael. Three newcomers, including rookie Bob Skoronski at left tackle, will start in the line. The others are Larry Lauer, a former Chicago Bears, at center and former Brown John Sandusky at right tackle. Due to injuries, ends Gary Knafelc and Dick Deschaine may have to go all the offensive way, although Billy Howton may see brief action. The other end, Al Romine, has a muscle pull. For emergency, halfback Joe Johnson has been briefed on the end duties. The Packers will be out to extend their two-game winning streak, which is composed of a 27-6 win over the Eagles and a 17-13 verdict over the New York Giants. But Blackbourn won’t turn the squad inside out looking for a win tonight. He wants to give the newcomers a good test and possibly switch the veterans into different positions, especially in the line. The Browns will be making their first appearance of the ’56 season at home and they figure to really cut loose. Parilli, the former Packer, is expected to start in a veteran backfield composed of Ray Renfro at flanker, Fred Morrison at left half and Ed Modzelewski at full. The Packers, headquartering at the Hotel Cleveland, will fly out of here Sunday morning for Greensboro, N.C., where they’ll set up shop for the week. They meet the Washington Redskins in Winston-Salem, N.C., a week from tonight.