Preseason: Green Bay Packers (1-1) 34, New York Giants 10
Saturday August 15th 1964 (at Green Bay)
GAME RECAP (GREEN BAY PRESS-GAZETTE)
(GREEN BAY) - The Packers exploded for 24 points in the fourth quarter to smother the Giants 34 to 10 and delight a sellout audience of 42,327 in the fourth annual Bishop's Charities game in City Stadium Saturday night. The two clubs played a defensive 3-3 first half before the Packers scored their first touchdown in the third quarter on an eight-play, 87-yard march, with Frank Mestnik blasting over from five yards out to cap the drive engineered by Bart Starr. The Packers scored the last five times they had their hands on the ball, and the Giants were held touchdownless until the last minute when they recovered a fumble on the Packer 10-yard line. Zeke Bratkowski worked the entire fourth quarter and passed 11 yards to Marvin Fleming for the second touchdown. The Bays moved 76 yards in 11 plays. The third TD came on a surprise pass from Paul Hornung, rolling out to his righ, to Boyd Dowler, who took the ball on the 25 and ran home to close out a 56-yard play. That made it 24-3. Dave Robinson recovered a fumble by Hugh McElhenny to set up a 29-yard rookie-studded scoring move, with Dennis Claridge scoring from two yards out. Hornung kicked his second field goal of the night with four minutes left from the 30-yard line. He kicked one from the 17-yard line in the second quarter. Don Chandler booted one from the 33 in the same period. The Giants scored on a 10-yard fourth down pass from Glynn Griffing to Homer Jones.
The Packers dominated the statistical picture, thanks to the big second half, rolling up 387 yards to the Giants' 170. Green Bay gained 237 yards in the air, with Bratkowski completing 4 of 6 for 51 and Starr 8 of 11 for 130. The Bays picked up 19 first downs to the Giants' nine. And that just about tells the story. Mestnik carried on the Packers' first three plays and made a first down, but the Giants closed the door. The Giant offense was less effective. Dick James carried three times and on his third he fumbled when hit by Dan Currie and Dave Hanner recovered the ball on the Giant 41. The Packers moved to a fourth and inches-to-go situation and decided to go for it on the Giants 31, but Starr fumbled and recovered, with the Giants taking over on downs. After Herb Adderley made a great save of a touchdown pass from Tittle to Morrison, the Packers really moved. Starting from the 20, Mestnik ran 20 around left end, Starr hurled 13 to Downer and then Hornung and Mestnik made eight yards to the Giant 20. Mestnik then fumbled and Andy Stynchula recovered from the Giants to end the Pack's first threat. Tittle uncoiled two passes to Morrison - one for 40 yards and the other for 20 to set up a 3-0 lead for NY. Chandler kicked the field goal from the 33 with 1:05 gone in the second quarter. After Chandler punted once and Norton twice, the Packers moved in for a tie. The big break came when Jess Whittenton intercepted rookie Gary Wood's pass on the Giant 47 and returned to the 26.
YARDS CLOSE TOO
An interference penalty by Millard Fleming on Ron Kramer put the ball on the Giant 19 and on a fourth down and one situation Hornung kicked a 17-yard field goal to knot the count at 12:55. The Giants picked up a first down. Chandler punted and Pitts ran six yards as the half ended. The two clubs were also close in yards at the half, with the Giants gaining 119 total yards and the Packers 110. The Packers broke the ice in the third quarter with an 87-yard TD drive chiefly on Starr's passing to Dowler. He hit Boyd on successive passes of 15 and 48 yards and then hurled to McGee for 11 to the
nine. Two plays later Mestnik flashed across from the five behind powerful blocks by Fred Thurston and Bob Skoronski. Hornung converted and the Bays went in front 10-3. This was just the beginning. The defense returned the ball and the Bays moved again - this time 76 yards with Bratkowski at quarterback. He opened with a 21-yarder to Dowler and nine plays later hurled to Fleming for the TD. Hornung's kick made it 17-3 at 3:07 of the fourth period. The next TD was real exploder. Hornung faded to his right and fired a bomb to Dowler and the big receiver raced home. The play covered 56 yards and Hornung converted for 24-3. The Giants gave the ball right back when Hugh McElhenny fumbled and Dave Robinson recovered on the 33. The rookies had a hand in this one. Bratkowski fired a nine-yard pass to Dwain Bean and then on three straight plays Claridge ran 10, Bean eight and Claridge two for the TD. Again Hornung converted and it was 31-1. Just before the end, Hornung kicked a 30-yard field goal which was set up by Tom Brown's 44-yard return of an interception. Then, with a minute left, Jim Patton recovered a fumble by Bratkowski was on the Packer 10 and on fourth down Glynn Griffing passed 10 yards to Homer Jones for the Giants' only TD.
NEW YORK - 0 3 0 7 - 10
GREEN BAY - 0 3 7 24 - 34
NEW YORK GREEN BAY
First Downs 9 19
Rushing-Yards-TD 27-64-0 43-150-2
Att-Comp-Yd-TD-Int 24-8-118-1-2 18-13-237-1-0
Sack Yards Lost 2-12 0-0
Net Passing Yards 106 237
Total Yards 170 387
Fumbles-lost 3-3 3-2
Turnovers 3 4
Yards penalized 4-42 6-44
2nd - NY - Don Chandler, 33-yard field goal NEW YORK 3-0
2nd - GB - Paul Hornung, 17-yard field goal TIED 3-3
3rd - GB - Frank Mestnik, 7-yard run (Hornung kick) GREEN BAY 10-7
4th - GB - Marv Fleming, 11-yard pass from Zeke Bratkowski (Hornung kick) GREEN BAY 17-7
4th - GB - Boyd Dowler, 56-yard pass from Hornung (Hornung kick) GREEN BAY 24-7
4th - GB - Dennis Claridge, 2-yard run (Hornung kick) GREEN BAY 34-7
4th - NY - Homer Jones, 10-yard from Glynn Griffing (Chandler kick) GREEN BAY 34-10
GREEN BAY - Frank Mestnik 18-78 1 TD, Elijah Pitts 6-33, Dwain Bean 6-24, Dennis Claridge 4-12 1 TD, Paul Hornung 7-6, Bart Starr 2-(-3)
NEW YORK - Ernie Wheelwright 15-31, Dick James 3-10, Clarence Childs 3-10, Phil King 3-9, Steve Thurlow 1-5, Hugh McElhenny 1-(-3), Gary Wood 1-2
GREEN BAY - Bart Starr 11-8-130, Zeke Bratkowski 6-4-51 1 TD, Paul Hornung 1-1-56 1 TD
NEW YORK - Y.A. Tittle 7-4-68, Gary Wood 7-3-40 1 INT, Glynn Griffing 8-1-10 1 TD 1 INT, Steve Thurlow 2-0-0
GREEN BAY - Boyd Dowler 6-157 1 TD, Max McGee 2-27, Marv Fleming 2-21 1 TD, Frank Mestnik 1-17, Dwain Bean 1-9, Jerry Kramer 1-6
NEW YORK - Joe Morrison 3-61, Bob Crespino 2-25, Clarence Childs 1-15, Homer Jones 1-10 1 TD, Dick James 1-7
TITTLE PLAYED LITTLE; SHERMAN SATISFIED
AUG 16 (Green Bay Press-Gazette) - "I really don't know how we looked, but I think we played much more of a solid game than we did in our opener last week." It was a relaxed Vince Lombardi, summing up the Packers' 34-10 Bishop's Charities decision over their perennial playmates, the New York Giants, in City Stadium Saturday night. "We started to come a little bit in the second half," Vince observed. Any explanation? "No, I think we just started to jell a little bit." The Giants had changed defenses frequently, it was noted. "They've got a lot of different defenses, but we expected that," Lombardi said. "We saw all of them last week in their game against Minnesota. That's why our fullback carried so much - we changed up a lot on the line of scrimmage." This precipitated mention of Frank Mestnik, the ex-Cardinal and ex-Giant who had pinch hit for the ailing Jim Taylor with marked success. "He's a good, hard-running fullback," the Packer head man declared. Taylor, he added, could not have played. Discouraging undue optimism, Lombardi pointed out, "This is no ball of fire, you know, for us to beat the Giants under the circumstances. They didn't use Tittle at quarter." He expressed pleasure with the performance of his own quarterback, Zeke Bratkowski, who relieved Bart Starr in the third quarter and produced a 24-point burst in the final period. "I was very much pleased with Zeke's performance," he said, adding with a chuckle, "That's our quarterbacks. Two, that's all we've got." Did he think he'd seen the last of the Giants for 1964? Lombardi laughed and replied, "I hope I get to play them once more - at the end of the year." Surprisingly, the Giants' Allie Sherman was singularly cheerful in the wake of a three-touchdown reversal. "We're satisfied," he said. "We feel our team is coming. We're satisfied with what the boys did tonight. We hit well, we blocked the way we should be starting to block, and we know who got beat and we're not concerned." He paused and appended with an impish grin, "You can play around with that - I don't know how you can explain the score." Explaining the 48-yard third quarter strike from Starr that keyed the Packers' "getaway" touchdown, Boyd Dowler said, "It was a play fake to the weak side. It's the same play that Max (McGee) has scored 15 touchdown on in the last five years. It's a play where the backs commit and when they do, it's all over. It was a first run down play and I think they expected us to run."...FEELS GOOD: Frank Mestnik, who churned for 78 yards in Jim Taylor's absence, conceded, "It felt good. Of course," he added with a sheepish smile. "I messed up on a couple of 'em. On that fumble, I carried the ball in the wrong hand. After five years, you ought to know." Across the room, Max McGee was shaking his head over the inspired performance of ageless Dave Hanner, who recovered two fumbles in the rugged early going. "After 13 years, you start as a rookie again," he quipped. "That Dave sure had a great night - he was all over the field like a rookie."...CHARIRIES CHATTER: Bishop Stanislaus V. Bona presented a plaque to Herb Adderley, voted the outstanding defensive player in 1963's classic, as a highlight of pregame ceremonies. Jim Ringo, the offensive honoree, was unable to be present because of other business - with the Philadelphia Eagles...Announcing "I am very much gratified to see the stadium filled to capacity and I am grateful to all of you," Bishop Bona told his 42,327 listeners. "Every cent raised by the charity games has been spent for charity and, I
assure you, it will be done again. The Bishop was introduced by Father Peter Klauck, chairman of the Bishops's Committee. Art Daley, Press-Gazette Sports Editor, served as emcee...The Packer Band, opening its 26th season under the baton of Wilner Burke, Lake Band of Milwaukee and the Packer Pom Pom Girls combined to form a colorful backdrop for the flag-raising ceremony. The Lake organization, a 64-piece unit, which has won a number of state and national trophies, also entertained between halves...Discussing the NFL's latest experiment, which finds the umpire stationed behind the offense rather than the defense, league observer Ronald Gibbs explained, "Vince Lombardi was the first to suggest the change. We're trying it tonight for the first time and we'll try it again next week. There's a lot of traffic behind the defense, there's no doubt about it, and the umpire gets in the way. It also can be a little dangerous, although that's not the reason we're doing this. If you can the holding, it will be all right," he added with a smile. "These pros are smart, you know. I like to have the umpire back there and saying, 'Watch it, boys.' It keeps them on their toes. What's the next step? "I'll call the commissioner (Pete Rozelle) and the supervisor of officials (Mark Duncan) after the game and tell them what I've observed. The same thing next week. They'll take it from there."...The Chicago Bears don't open defense of their world championship until Sept. 13 against the Packers on these same City Stadium premises, but they already are keeping a vigilant eye upon their immemorial enemies. For the second straight week, veteran scout George J. Halas (a New Orleans visitor last week) was in evidence, pad in hand. Also diagramming the action were Wayne Milner of the Washington Redskins and the Philadelphia Eagles' John Sauer and Bill Daddio. Another press box observer was George (Lefty) James of Camp Hill, Pa., Packer area scout in the new cooperative pool with the Cleveland Browns, St. Louis Cardinals and Baltimore Colts...The visiting Fourth Estate included New York's Red Smith (a Green Bay native) and Joe King. The game was aired back to New York by two Gotham radio networks, which reportedly blanketed two-thirds of the nation. The "Eyes of Texas" also were upon Green Bay last night. The phone rang in the press box as the first half ended and a Texan who identified himself as Al Lowe announced, "I've been trying all night, but I can't get the game broadcast down here. What's the score?"
PACKERS' WIN OVER GIANTS SIGNIFICANT; START TO JELL
AUG 17 (Green Bay Press-Gazette) - The Packers' runaway victory over the Giants Saturday night was mighty significant. In case you have forgotten and despite all the preseason dopesters who keep dangling that work "champion" in front of the Packers for '64, the Packers are not champions. Those titles belong to the Bears of the Western Division and the Giants of the Eastern. But the Packers went out and demolished the New Yorkers like they intended to get one or two of those titles back. This is what impressed Coach Vince Lombardi. "It was different the last couple of years. We were playing those (preseason) games as champions and pride became a big factor. This year, don't forget, we're not champions. And now it's up to them (the players) to get themselves up for these games," Vince said Sunday after viewing the pictures and analyzing the game. Mechanically, the Packers were, as Vince puts it, "able to put something together. We started to jell." Lombardi felt this was the big difference between the opening-game loss to the Cardinals in New Orleans and the win over the Giants. Personnel changes including use of rookies, were made there as early as the second series. Against NY, the replacements were worked in gradually. Speaking about replacements, the Packers led off with one - fullback Frank Mestnik, who opened for injured Jim Taylor, and the ex-Marquetter led both teams in rushing with 78 yards in 18 carries. This was 17 more carries than he had all last season. Feeling good about getting a chance to play, Mestnik laughed modestly after the game, "the way they were blocking up there, anybody could gain yards."...HITTING HARD: The big fullback was hitting hard and sliding off and clawing for extra yards. With Taylor out and Tom Moore sidelined on the opening kickoff, Hornung turned out to be the Packers' only running back - and even Paul is making a comeback due to his absence last year. Mestnik, Elijah Pitts and finally Dennis Claridge and Dwain Bean took up the slack - but good. Pitts picked up 33 yards in 6
trips, Bean 24 in 6, and Claridge 12 in 4. Hornung finished with 7 yards in 6 trips, but threw a 56-yard scoring aerial to Boyd Dowler and kicked four extra points and field goals of 17 and 30 yards. While the Giants used Y.A. Tittle only a quarter and a half, it is quite noteworthy that the Packers went with Zeke Bratkowski after only a slim 10 to 3 lead. Starr went the first half and then drove the Bays 87 yards in eight plays for their first touchdown with five minutes gone in the third period. It painless and impressive, with Mestnik running 15 yards in four carries, including the last seven for a touchdown; Hornung running once for 2; and Starr passing to Dowler for 15 and 48 yards and to Max McGee for 11. Bratkowski came forth on the Pack's next series and drove the club, with the benchmen working in, to three touchdowns on drives of 76 yards, 17 yards (including Hornung's 46-yard pass), and 29 yards. He threw to Marv Fleming for one touchdown and sent Claridge two yards for the other...TRAINING CAMP BENEFIT: Bratkowski said he had benefitted considerably by "starting off in training camp." Zeke came to the Packers late in the season last year. Defensively, Dave Hanner played himself a whale of a game. "He was like a rookie out there," McGee said, and Lombardi said that Hawg was outstanding. Vince also felt that Dan Currie played a good game. Hanner didn't play last week at all and it was obvious he wanted none of that - anymore. The Packers' next assignment is against the world champion Bears in Milwaukee Saturday night...BRIEFS: The Bishop's Charities battle, witnessed by 42,327, saw some excellent punting. Giants' Don Chandler averaged 47.6 yards in 7 kicks, including a 67-yard boomer while Jerry Norton of the Pack averaged 44, including a 53-yarder...The Bays outgained NY, 287 to 170...Starr and Bratkowski went through without an interception while Glynn Griffing and Gary Wood each had one - by Jess Whittenton and Tom Brown. Starr hit on 8 of 11 passes for 130 yards, Bratkowski 4 of 6 for 51 and Tittle 4 of 7 for 68.
PRO FOOTBALL TO SET ATTENDANCE RECORDS ALMOST EVERYWHERE
AUG 18 (New York) - The Washington Redskins, sixth in the Eastern division of the NFL last year, lost their exhibition games this season. The next day they sold 1,000 season tickets. "I guess people suddenly realized the football season is here," a club official said. Two years ago the New York Jets of the AFL, then known as the Titans, had to walk home from practice because the fellow who drove the team bus hadn't been paid. "This year we have sold 15,000 season tickets," a team official said. "We have more money in the bank than we took in all last year." So goes the pro football boom, and an Associated Press survey shows that this season will be the biggest ever. The two pro leagues, already bolstered by fabulous television contracts, will undoubtedly set gate records almost everywhere...SIX CITIES SOLD OUT: NFL teams, for example, averaged more than 11,000 at their final intra-squad practice sessions, which were opened to the public. The Minnesota Vikings drew one of the smallest, 5,000, at Bemidji, Minn., but that was reported by the largest crowd ever gathered in Bemidji. In six NFL cities, every game will sell out. Three more will be close to capacity every Sunday. Things are looking up in the other five. The AFL has hotbeds of interest in Buffalo, Boston, Houston and San Diego and a new live one in New York. Denver, Oakland and Kansas City are also promoting their clubs vigorously. Here is a rundown by leagues: NFL - New York Giants stopped season ticket sales at 57,000, and will have usual seven sellouts of 62,700. Also will show home games in three theaters vis closed circuit television. Motels beyond television blackout area thriving. Philadelphia Eagles expect 48,000 season tickets and seven sellouts of 61,700, as usual. Baltimore has 50,000 season tickets sold, and will sell out all games at 60,065-seat Memorial Stadium. Washington Redskins, up 6,000 season sales to 29,000, expect near capacity of 50,000 at all games. Cleveland Browns expect 30,000 season tickets and will be near to 80,000 capacity for all games. Exhibition doubleheader Sept. 5 is sold out. Pittsburgh Steelers play all home games in 54,000-seat Pitt Stadium for first time, but hope for only one sellout. Season tickets at 12,800, up 20 percent. Dallas has 7,000 sale, up 2,000, and hopes to draw 50,000 for Packers. Chicago Bears cut off exhibition sales at 35,000, will sell out 48,000-seat Wrigley Field every week. Also about 10,000 theater seats at $5 each. Fans flock to motels for television. Green Bay Packers have sold all tickets for all home games, as usual. Detroit Lions should top last year's record 36,409 season tickets and will be sellout or nearly so for all home games at 53,000-seat stadium. Lions showing their games in three theaters. St. Louis Cardinals expect to sell record 15,000 season tickets, and at least three home sellouts at 32,500-seat Busch Stadium. Minnesota Vikings over 20,000 season sales, a record, and except two sellouts of 42,000 during season. San Francisco 49ers, off 1,000 at 20,000 tickets, are hoping for good year on the field. Los Angeles Rams expect 300,000 for seven home games...AFL - Jets hope to average 30,000-35,000 for home games at new Shea Stadium. Boston Patriots have 10,000 season sale and had New England record 20,000 for exhibition game. Buffalo expects to average around 31,000 as usual and has 10,000 season ticket sale. Bills drew 13,000 to club scrimmage. Houston has 12,000 season sales and interest is high. Kansas City sales down to 11,000, some 5,000 under the league record set last year to get the team to move from Dallas, but promotion is vigorous. Denver is off a fraction at 7,000 season sales. San Diego had a record 10,300 and should draw about 30,000 each game. Oakland reports before prospects in history. Exhibition drew 11,000, up more than 2,000.
WOOD IMPRESSES GIANTS' SHERMAN
AUG 18 (Fairfield, CN) - Gary Wood, Cornell's football hero of last year, returns to the campus at Ithaca, N.Y., Saturday as the No. 1 candidate for the job of No. 2 quarterback on the New York Giants. For an Ivy Leaguer, he has made it. Players from the Ancient Eight are so lightly regarded in NFL circles that they are usually drafted only after the "futures" and the boys who claim they aren't interested in the pro game. Only one is an NFL regular - Mike Pyle of Yale and the Chicago Bars. Wood was the Giants' eighth draft choice and after one rather limited appearance in an exhibition game, Coach Allie Sherman gave him this accolade: "He is a quarterback." Gary is expected to offer further proof when the Giants play Washington in an exhibition at Ithaca Saturday. Second string Giant quarterbacks likely will remain rather anonymous as long as Y.A. Tittle's bald head remains unbowed, but it's a job. Lee Grosscup sat on the bench a few years and then yielded to Glynn Griffing, who got into 13 games last season but is just one of three candidates now. The third is Henry Schichtle from Wichita. Wood hardly was tried at quarterback until about a week ago. With an idea of keeping all three candidates on the Giants' roster, Sherman had him working as a defensive halfback. He finally got his trial against the Green Bay Packers last Saturday night and it wasn't his fault the Giants lost 34-10...JERKED BACK: Wood's first pass was a long, perfect one, but receiver Joe Morrison apparently was going too fast, jerked back and the ball went through his hands and was intercepted. Later, Gary moved the team down to the Packer seven only to have Ernie Wheelwright, another rookie, fumble the ball away. Gary completed four of seven passes for 40 yards. "I liked him," said Sherman. "He had a good vision. He moved the club and threw the ball well. He had good command. He did a lot with limited help." There's no question that the help against the Packers was limited, and there may not be much more Saturday when angry Sam Huff, former Giant star linebacker, starts slamming his old teammates around...LACK EXPERIENCE: In addition to a batch of injuries to veterans, the club has been troubled with lack of experience on the defensive line. Andy Stynchula, obtained from Washington, has had trouble making the switch to tackle from end. He and right end Bob Taylor haven't put on pass rushes well. Tackle Tony DiMidio and linebacker Lou Slaby show promise but have made plenty of mistakes. By comparison, left linebacker Jerry Hillebrand is a veteran. He played in a half dozen games last year. But Hillebrand won't be playing for a few weeks. He tore some ligaments in his left knee in the Packer game. That means either Tom Costello, a rookie, will play that corner or that Taylor will be shifted from end.
BEARS OFFER 'TEST CASE' FOR PACK IN SHRINE GAME
AUG 18 (Green Bay Press-Gazette) - The Packers and Bears really aren't playing in a game Saturday night. It's more of a "test case." Pro football's oldest rivalry doesn't explode until Sunday afternoon, Sept. 13, when Green Bay and Chicago launch their 45th year in the NFL in City Stadum. By comparison, the Shrine Classic in Milwaukee County Stadium is for fun. Give or take a fight or two. What's with the testing? A year ago, the Packers and Bears took the field in Milwaukee, played on fairly even terms for three quarters, and then the Bays bristled for 13 points in the fourth quarter for a 26-7 victory. Bart Starr threw touchdown passes to Ron Kramer and Max McGee and Dave Robinson got the other TD on an interception return. Jerry Kramer and Gary Kroner added field goals. The Packers didn't score half that many points in the two league games vs. the Bears last year, losing 10-3 in Game 1 and 26-7 in Game 10. The Bears changed their defensive theory last year, playing it straight-faced all the way to the championship. Their' 63 Shrine game was their second use of the "standard" defensive alignment. Now, of course, the secret is out and the enemy, including the Packers, has had a winter to figure out the Bears' defensive personnel and maneuvering. Thus, the Shrine spectacle shapes up as a grand test of the Packers' offense against a defense that allowed an average of only 10 points last year. How will the Packers play it against the Bears? Coach Vince Lombardi answered it this way: "We'll play it just like we did against the Giants." The Packers played New York tough with the regular (barring those out with injuries) and then continued mighty tough with various replacements, including a flock of rookies. Both teams undoubtedly will keep in mind that they'll be clobbering each other in three short weeks. After Green Bay, the Bears meet the Cardinals in Chicago and the Cowboys in New Orleans. The Packers follow Saturday night's game with the Cowboys at Dallas and the Browns in Cleveland...Slightly under 47,000 will watch the Shrine's test, which was "sold out" several months ago. The capacity of the stadium has been increased to 46.909 with the addition of temporary bleacher seats. Speaking of tickets, the Packers put out the "sold out" sign for their three NFL league games in Milwaukee - the 49ers Oct. 11, the Rams Oct. 25, and the Browns Nov. 22. Last of the tickets were placed on sale Monday, and they were snapped up in a hurry, Ockie Krueger, the Pack's man in Milwaukee, announced today...The Packers got in a good workout Monday, concentrating on offensive plays to be used against the Bears in a one hour and 45-minute session. The three injured were moving well and should be ready for the Bear game - Jim Taylor, Tom Moore and Steve Wright. Taylor stayed out of the Giants game because of a back problem, and Moore hurt his shoulder on the opening kickoff. Wright has a leg injury. The Bears have one injured player - Ed O'Bradovich, who sprained his ankle in the Bears' 14-13 win over the Redskins Saturday night. Ed probably won't play. Rick Kreitling and Doug Atkins, also reportedly hurt, will be ready.
PACKER RUSHING 'HERE TO STAY'; MESTNIK LEADING
AUG 19 (Green Bay Press-Gazette) - The Packers did a lot of running at practice Tuesday. During and after. And after it was all over, running back Elijah Pitts remarked: "I guess running's here to stay." Actually, today's opus has to with the Packers' rushing. Foot soldiering has been something of a trademark of the Pack since Vince Lombardi took over in 1959. His first Packer club finished third (the Bays were 10th in '58) in rushing and in the next four years ranked first or second. The 1959 Packers gained 1,907 yards on the ground. This was upped to 2,150 for second place in the league i 1960. The 1961 figures was 2,350 for first in the league, and in 1962 the rushers made 2,460 yards for another first. With Paul Hornung out last year and Jim Taylor recuperating from hepatitis, the Packer rushing "dropped" all the way to second place, with 2,248 yards. Hornung and Taylor are together again and, of course, bright things are expected. Ironically, these two opened together in the preseason starter in New Orleans and narrowly missed producing a field goal in an opening-game drive. They haven't been together since as the testing of difference backs continued in the game, and Taylor sat out the Giant game last Saturday night with a back hurt. And the yardage totals for the two games produced a pair of "strange" leaders - Frank Mestnik, who backed up Taylor last year, and the aforementioned Mr. Pitts. Mestnik has 86 yards in 21 carries - about 4 per carry, while Pitts has 49 in 8 turns, a 6-plus average. Hornung, in two games, picked up 40 yards in 12 trips while Taylor made 27 in 8 tries vs. the Cards. Tom Moore, hurt early vs. the Giants, moved 13 yards in 5 efforts vs. the Cards. Dwain Bean, the rookie with the perpetual smile, has 31 yards in his 8 chances - just nearly 4 per. Dennis Claridge, the rookie quarterback who works at rushing as a sideline, picked up a touchdown and 12 yards in 4 carries vs. the Giants. Who's for running against the Bears in the Shrine game in Milwaukee Saturday night? The entire crew will be ready - with the exception of Moore, who picked up a "shoulder" on the opening kickoff. "If he plays," said Lombardi yesterday, "he'll be at flanker." Tom has been working at the position behind Boyd Dowler. Oddly enough, while the Packers "improved" their rushing totals in the two preseason games - from 123 vs. St. Louis to 150 vs. New York, the actual average was better in the Cardinal game. The Packers rushed only 28 times for their 123 yards but against NY they had 43 rushes. The average in New Orleans was 4.3, in Green Bay 3.5...OSMANSKI STOPS: The Cardinal and Giant defenses are among the better ones in the league. But the sternest test for the Packers' rushing will come from the Bears. The Bruins allowed enemy rushers only 1,442 yards last year in the 14 games - an average of 3.5. The Cardinals allowed 3.9, the Giants 4.3. The Packer defense may be interested to know that it permitted the No. 2 total - 1,586 yards and an average of 3.7. But that's another story. And speaking about rushers, a late arrival at Packer practice Wednesday was Dr. Bill Osmanski, the Chicago dentist who fullbacked for the Bears in the early 1940s. Bill got there just at the end and then left for Chicago, with a stop at St. Norbert College. The Osmanskis has just picked up their sone at Camp Tivoli and then planned on looking over the St. Norbert campus. "I have a daughter that wants to enroll there," said Bill.
AUG 19 (Green Bay Press-Gazette) - It would seem, at first thought, that the successor to all-pro Jim Ringo might accept the assignment with some trepidation, particularly if he be a converted tackle. But such, surprisingly, is not the case. The man in question, strapping Bob Skoronski, forthrightly informs, "I really don't feel any pressure. I haven't even thought about it." This last did not bespeak lack of respect for his predecessor, Skronski emphasized. "I certainly always though Jim was an outstanding center," Bob said. "In fact, probably the greatest of all time. And he was a very close friend of mine. But time marches on in this business, and changes are made." Juding by his performance in last Saturday night's pleasant 34-10 exchange with the New York Giants, which saw big Frank Mestnik and assorted colleagues bolt through the middle with spectacular success behind Skoronski's explosive blocking, the 30-year-old veteran has found a home. And the towering University of Indiana alumnus, a restless part-time for five seasons (he was in service in both 1957 and 1958 after winning the starting right tackle berth as a rookie in 1956, then alternated with Norm Masters at left tackle in 1959), takes no pains to conceal his delight - although he earnestly insists, "I have a lot to learn. Every game, every play I learn something new." A dedicated student of his role since May 6, when Vince Lombardi dealt Ringo to the Philadelphia Eagles and immediately announced that Skoronski confesses, " I wish a lot of times I had played this position the last nine years." "I like the position very much," he added with boyish enthusiasm. "It's an interesting position - there's a challenge, a lot of different things to do. Just for an example, take pass blocking. As a tackle, I step back and take the man in front of me. As a center, I move left or right to pick up the red dogs. It's a big difference for me. I also had to change my stance. When I first started at center, I had to much weight on the ball. Bill Austin (offensive line coach) has been working with me on it the last couple of weeks and now I've adjusted my weight off the ball to a point where I can do more things." His biggest adjustment, he says, is mastering "the long snap on punts and field goals. That's the thing I've been worried about, because it takes a long time to learn. Some guys take years to learn it." Although he's not a complete stranger to his new post - Bob was a center in prep school before being switched to tackle at Indiana - Skoronski noted, "I haven't practices it in quite a few years, so I was happy to have Ken Bowman (rookie center from Wisconsin) there Saturday night. He's good on the long snaps and he handled all of them against the Giants." Bob is happy about another change - in his relationship with his former alternate. "Norm and I always have been a lot alike - we have the same ideas about financial situations such as the stock market for example - and we've always been good friends. But, because we shared the same position, there always was something there," he smiled. "Now this year, we're roommates for the first time and now that we're playing different positions, we can be a lot closer." It's been a big year for the personable ex-Hoosier. An avid hunter, he bagged a 500-pound white grizzly bear near Natal, B.C., during the offseason. Said grizzly was no more tractable than a Chicago Bear, however, Bob reports. "He charged me after I shot him, but I was lucky enough to make a pretty good shot. He went into a clump of bushes and knocked down a couple of trees. Then there was silence. So," Skoronski confided with a sly smile, "I said to my trustworthy guide, who I was paying $50 a day, 'Why don't you go and see if he's dead. I'll wait right here.'" P.S. He was.
PACKERS TRADE TODD, DROP GREEN, KREITLING IN DEBUT
AUG 20 (Green Bay Press-Gazette) - One player was traded and another waived in Packer transactions announced today by Coach Vince Lombardi. Turnley Todd, a rookie center and linebacker from Virginia, was sent to the Giants in exchange for a future draft choice. And waivers were asked on Allen Green, the kicking specialist who was attempting a comeback after a two-year layoff. The Mississippi product had been with the Cowboys a season. With the trade of Sam Huff - plus a flock of injuries, the Giants are highly interested in Todd, who started out as a linebacker and then was shifted to center. This is the Giants' second deal in two days. They obtained veteran linebacker Max Messner from the Lions Wednesday. Ken Bowman, the Wisconsin center who can snap the ball back that proverbial country mile, now backs up Bob Skoronski. The departure of Green leaves the Packers' field goal and extra point kicking in the hands of two familiar faces - Paul Hornung and Jerry Kramer. The search is still on for a kickoff "star," although Hornung is the best in this department by a long shot. John Baker and Green were tried on kickoffs in the Giant game. Green had also been working as a punter but Jerry Norton has a wide edge, with Boyd Dowler and Max McGee as back-up footsters. The Packer roster now is set at 47 players, which is only two above the first mandatory cut of 45. This figure must be reached Aug. 25. The Packers have three games left before the league firing opens up against the Bears Sept. 13. They meet the Bears in an exhibition in Milwaukee Saturday night, the Cowboys in Dallas Aug. 29, and the Browns in Cleveland Sept. 5. And speaking of the Bears, we were informed on good authority today that Rich Kreitling, the former Illinois and Brown pass catcher, will make his Chicago debut in the Shrine game. Kreitling, one of the better receivers in th4e Easten Division, injured his leg in a scrimmage before the All Star game and missed the Bears' first two starts. He'll open at spread end in place of Gary Barnes, the former Packers, who will back up Kreitling and Johnny Morris at flanker, according to Bear publicist Dan Desmond. The Shrine tiff also marks the "return" of Doug Atkins, the Bears' giant defensive end who missed last Saturday's 14-13 win over the Redskins with a leg injury. Asked if the injured fullback Rick Casares would play, Desmond said, "I doubt it." The Bears' fullbacking is being shared by Joe Marconi and Charlie Bivings who are virtually neck and neck in two games thus far. Marconi rushed 14 times for 63 yards and caught four passes for 33 yards. Bivings gained 52 yards in 13 trips and caught four passes for 43 yards and one touchdown. Ronnie Bull has been doing most of the running at left half, but Billy Martin is being worked in behind him. Bull and Willie Galimore shared the position last year. Three Bears have been ruled out of the game - defensive end Ed O'Bradovich, ankle injury; tackle John Johnson, appendectomy; and guard Ted Karras, leg. Desmond relayed word from Bear Coach George Halas that "the Bears are not physically or mentally ready for Saturday night's game." Halas said he felt that the Bears were behind the preseason pace set a year ago. The squad lost five practice workouts due to the deaths of Galimore and John Farrington.
LIPSCOMB DIES OF HEART ATTACK
AUG 20 (Milwaukee-Green Bay Press-Gazette) - Paul Lipscomb, 41, a six-year regular with the Green Bay Packers starting in 1945, died early today after apparently suffering a heart attack at his Elm Grove home. The former University of Tennessee star stepped in as a first string right tackle in his first year in Green Bay. Lipscomb, a native of Benton, Ill, later played with the Washington Redskins and Chicago Bears. At the time of his death, Liscomb was sales manager for a financial firm.
PACK NOT AFRAID TO WORK OVERTIME - WITHOUT PAY
AUG 21 (Green Bay Press-Gazette) - The Packers aren't afraid to work overtime. Without pay. Fifteen of them - plus three coaches - stayed out after a regulation practice earlier this week. Most of them were involved in field goal kicking practice, while others worked on passing and receiving. The kicking starts around the 20-yard line and the booters gradually work back to the 50, with Coach Norb Hecker instructing the kickers and sometimes timing them and Coach Bill Austin working with the centers. Off on another section of the field Coach Tom Fears watched and corrected as rookie ends Bob Long and Tom O'Grady went down for passes thrown by rookie quarterback Dennis Claridge. Long is working on his pass catching "from his left." The Wichita flash had a touchdown pass in his mitts in the Giant game but dropped the ball. He was playing left end in place of Max McGee, and it was a new experience for
him. "I always played the right side in school, and I've still got to learn to catch the ball from the left side," Long explained. Long played only seven college football games in his short life so virtually everything is new for the youngster who made his earlier mark in college as a basketball player. Long dropped one right after another in the post-practice drill - from the left, and it was obvious that he was pretty well bushed from the continuous running - mostly deep. Finally, Claridge, a "fast ball" pitcher, at the suggestion of Fears, started lobbing the ball to the target and Long found success. A frequent overtimers is Bob Jeter, the veteran end who also has trouble catching the ball - plus Zeke Bratkowski and Bart Starr...BEHIND GOAL POSTS: The kickers, holders and centers also practice their "coordination." Until Thursday when Allen Green and Turnley Todd departed, the Bays had two kicking teams behind centers Bob Skoronski, Ken Bowman and Todd. Paul Hornung, Jerry Kramer and Green did the kicking. Six or seven rookies work behind the goal posts to catch the balls and keep them moving back in a hurry, and on occasion somebody will drop a boot at the base of the flag pole in the area in front of the Arena. Working the other day were Lloyd Voss, Tom Brown, Green Breen, John Baker, Tommy Crutcher and Duke Carlisle. Jess Whittenton and Starr do most of the ball holding but Bratkowski will try his hand on occasion...PACKAGE FROM HOME: John McDowell, the fine-looking rookie offensive tackle from St. John (Minn.) received a small pail-shaped package from home Thursday. Some of the boys, before noting the addressee, swore it was a tin of Dave Hanner's favorite chewing tobacco. But McDowell shook the package and smiled - "Cookies from my mother, chocolate chips, the best there is."...The Packers went to Milwaukee for the Bear exhibition via the North Western this afternoon and headquartered at the Astor Hotel. They held a light drill on the Oneida Street fields this morning...GREEN GRASS: The center area of the turf at City Stadium was painted green for the Giant game. The area, badly worn and ungrassed in spots, presently is being ripped up and will be sodded...BUSY WEEKEND: All NFL
Gravesite of Paul Lipscomb - Wisconsin Memorial Park, Brookfield, WI (Source: Findagrave.com)
teams will be active with non-league games over the weekend. The Colts and Cardinals meet in the Cardinal Glennon spectacle in St. Louis tonight. Besides the Packer-Bear event, the Vikings and 49ers play at Salt Lake City, the Cowboys and Rams put on a rematch (the Rams won the opener in LA 17-6) at Portland, the Browns and Steelers meet at Akron, and the Redskins and Giants play at Ithaca, N.Y. The Lions visit Philadelphia Sunday.
AUG 21 (Green Bay Press-Gazette) - Brawny Ted Fritsch wrinkled his massive brow in thought, pushed his baseball-type cap back above the thinning hair and began, "The one thing I remember about him was that he wanted to make good so bad it hurt. He was a real high strung guy - always on edge. When he put that football suit on, he'd tackle his mother." Ted, whose name is mentioned in the same breath with that of Clarke Hinkle and incumbent Jim Taylor among Green Bay's all-time fullback greats, was soberly reminiscing about ex-teammate Paul Lipscomb, the giant Tennessean who was stricken by a fatal heart attack in Elm Grove early Thursday morning at the age of 41. The Bunyanesque blond had been a Packer fixture at right tackle during the middle and late 40s, before moving on to the Bears and Redskins. "They say you take it easy against your teammates in scrimmage," Fritsch went on, then shook his head for emphasis. "Not with Lipscomb - he used to beat the hell out of you. It was never halfway with him, calisthenics or exercise or what it was. I remember after Jug Girard was traded to the Lions and we played them down at State Fair Park in Milwaukee. Lip tackled him - and I mean he tackled him. Jug was on his way out of bounds, but Lip finished him up and broke Girard's wrist. It was an incident line what happened with Bart Starr and Jimmy Hill at St. Louis last year. That was the way Lip was - he always played it to the hilt. I'll never be convinced that Lipscomb was a dirty football player, though. He wasn't dirty - just eager. He used to get a lot of penalties for charging before the ball was snapped or belting somebody after the whistle, but the players never resented it. We felt back because a play was called back, but we knew he couldn't help it. He felt bad himself and tried to overcome it. I can see Lambeau in those dressing rooms," Ted mused, a smile crinkling his broad features. "He'd be giving us the old fire and brimstone and he'd turn to Lipscomb and say, 'Now, Paul, just watch it a little bit today.' And, you know, that wasn't like Curly. Everybody tried to help the guy. Everything was serious to him. You get a guy like that with some guys who've been around and you can have a picnic.," Fritsch added, chuckling gently at the memory. "We were all kind of close, Ed Neal, Damon Tassos, Lip and myself - off the field everybody liked him. We used to go out behind Rockwood Lodge and shoot at seagulls. Neal and Tassos were pretty good hunters and Lip wanted to be one. He was kind of a gullible guy. One day, Neal shot one of those mud ducks and Tassos and I cleaned it. We told him, 'Lip, this is really it.' He liked to eat wild game so he took it home to his wife - they were living in the Savoy apartments on the East Side then, I think. So his wife stuck it in the oven and baked it. I guess everybody in the apartment came pounding on their door to find out what that awful smell was," Ted said, his imposing midsection shaking with silent laughter. "The minute he slammed that car door the next day out at Rockwood Lodge, Neal, Tassos and I all headed in different directions - we knew what was coming. 'What were you guys trying to do to me?' he growled. 'We couldn't even sleep in the apartment last night.' Neal used to drive him nuts," Ted added with a grin. "He used to wire up the bed with a 1-cell battery. Then when he opened the door, he'd get a shock from the knob. Being so high strung, he always let out a big yell." Fritsch, who next Monday begins priming his Premontre Cadets for the 1964 Fox Valley Catholic Conference football season, paused and reflected with a touch of nostalgia. "He was a helluva football player. He was a strong tackle, he could charge and was exceptionally fast for a big game. I've been tackled by lots of guys, but I got hit as hard by Lipscomb in scrimmage as anybody ever hit me in the league. He never just got an arm around you - he had that shoulder into you. And when you get 260 pounds behind that shoulder, it's quite a jolt. Then you'd see him handle his two little kids - they both were the spitting image of him - and you couldn't believe a guy that tough could be so gentle. He was just like butter with them."
PACKERS BATTLE BEARS FOR FUN - AND CHARITY - TONIGHT
AUG 22 (Milwaukee-Green Bay Press-Gazette) - The Packers and Bears play for fun and charity in the 15th annual Shrine Classic in County Stadium tonight. Pro football's oldest rivalry won't exactly explode since (1) the real winner will be the Shrine Hospitals and (2) the long-time rivals will launch their 45th season in the NFL in only three weeks. Regardless, the crowd of about 47,000 will witness the game and the colorful pregame and between-halves Shrine ceremonies. Kickoff is set for 8:05 (WJPG). The reaction of the two clubs to each other will be an interesting sidebar to tonight's clash. The Bears took the Packers' championships (Western and World) away last year and they beat Green Bay twice, 10-3 in Green Bay and 26-7 in Chicago. The Packers can't help but try to seek out the "secret" of the Bears tonight while Chicago likely will play it with great nonchalance. This will be a "new" experience for two Packer veterans - Bart Starr and Paul Hornung. Starr missed the big rematch in Chicago last year due to his broken hand, while Hornung missed the last three Bear games - the two in '63 due to the suspension and the nightcap in '62 because of injury. The return of Hornung, of course, will be closely watched by Milwaukee fandom - not to mention the Bears, who feel the Packers will be improved over '63 if Hornung makes a strong comeback. Hornung's sidekick, Jim Taylor, is expected to play some, but he won't be at top efficiency because of his back injury. In addition, Tom Moore won't be employed as a running back because of his tender shoulder. If Moore plays, he'll work at flanker behind Boyd Dowler. The major rushing load will fall on Frank Mestnik, who did so well in the 34-10 win over the Giants last Saturday night, the speedy Elijah Pitts and Hornung - plus rookies Dwain Bean and Dennis Claridge. Coach Vince Lombardi plans it play it just as he did against the Giants. Everybody on the 47-man roster will get a chance to play. The roster must be cut to 45 by next Tuesday. Starr, Zeke Bratkowski and possible even
Claridge will be facing the best defense in the league - a unit that allowed only an average of 10 points per game last year. The group will be intact with the exception of Ed O'Bradovich, the defensive end who is injured. The Bear offense, with the deaths of Willie Galimore and John Farrington, and injuries, has been slow coming around. Bill Wade is the quarterback, as usual, but the club is still "working" on a replacement for Galimore, who changed off with Ronnie Bull. Ronnie has done just about all of the left halfbacking in the wins over the College All Stars and Redskins. Probably unable to play again will be Rick Casares, who has a foot injury. The Bears' top fullback hasn't been in action yet and the fullbacking has been shared by Joe Marconi and Charlie Bivins. Farrington's spot at left end has been shared by Gary Barnes, the ex-Packer and Cowboy, and Rich Kreitling, the former Brown. Kreitling has been hurt but will make his debut against the Bays. Both of them also spell Johnny Morris at flanker. The Packers are staying at the Astor Hotel here tonight. They'll return by Greyhound bus to their St. Norbert College camp Sunday.