Friday, August 31, 2007

Packers Fall to Titans in Preseason Closer

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- The Tennessee Titans desperately want to roll into the season with some momentum. That means they take the preseason very seriously. Vince Young threw for a touchdown and ran for another for a second straight week, LenDale White added 77 total yards, and they helped the Titans wrap up the preseason by beating Favre and the Green Bay Packers 30-14 Thursday night.

Tennessee (3-1) had its first winning preseason since 2002. Coach Jeff Fisher used this game as his dress rehearsal for the Titans' season opener at Jacksonville, playing most of his starters into the third quarter a year after going 1-3 in the preseason before an 0-5 start in the regular season. "A lot of people keep saying preseason games don't count and this and that," Young said. "It counts to us. We want to continue to get better. We want to continue to keep working. ... We've got a long way to go. We want to continue using these games to get better and better."

Young was 11-of-16 for 96 yards, and White ran 15 times for 58 yards with a 19-yard reception. Rookie receiver Chris Davis added a 70-yard punt return for a TD that White said reminded him of suspended cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones. Rob Bironas kicked field goals of 51, 33 and 46 yards. Brett Favre and the Packers (2-2) missed a chance for their best preseason finish since 2002. But Favre looked sharp and ready to roll into his 17th NFL season with some of his young teammates with a performance that drew a "Wow" from Young, who admitted he watched Favre rather than study the defense.

The Packers scratched 15 players, including receiver Donald Driver (foot) and both starting cornerbacks, Al Harris and Charles Woodson. What remained of the first-team defense left after one series, a three-and-out. "The evaluation part of it, I thought we got a ton of information to draw from," Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy said.

But Green Bay also had another running back injured. Noah Herron, starting with Vernand Morency (knee) and rookie Brandon Jackson (concussion) out, sprained his knee after catching a 6-yard TD pass from Favre. The three-time league MVP had lobbied hard to play more than the two-play series Favre was on the field in the Packers' final exhibition last year, in part to help him improve his chemistry with rookie receiver James Jones. Favre played two series and left with a 7-0 lead, but he accomplished his goal. He and Jones hooked up three times, and Favre was 8-of-10 for 82 yards as the Packers rolled up 129 yards offense in the first quarter even while going no-huddle at times. "A couple of reads I wish I had done something different," Favre said. "I got ahead of myself a little bit. Without watching the film, the first unit, the first two drives I thought we were fine except for a couple bad decisions I made."

The Titans wanted to maintain their offensive rhythm, and Young and White clicked on their third series. Going on fourth-and-1 at midfield, White solidified his hold on the starting job by breaking through for a 21-yard run with Packers Frank Walker and Tyrone Culver hanging on him the last 5 yards. "It was a great call," Titans center Kevin Mawae said. "It was a long cadence to try to draw them offside and take what we can get. We turned something, just trying to get a yard or two and LenDale did a great job of finding the hole and turning it into something bigger." Young tied the game four plays later with a 6-yard pass to Brandon Jones. He drove the Titans 10 plays on the next drive and scored on an 8-yard run after White cleared his path with a pancake block.

It was a bit of a makeup for Young, playing his first game before the home fans since wrapping up his rookie season. He was benched for the exhibition opener after breaking team rules by heading home to sleep the night before the game. Young showed he still is prone to some mistakes. Packers end Larry Birdine hit the quarterback on the Titans' first play of the third quarter, popping the ball loose. Rookie tackle Justin Herrell, a Tennessee native with about 40 family and friends in the stands, caught the ball in the air and ran 18 yards for a TD that tied the game. "That was all me," Young said. He answered by driving the Titans nine plays, setting up Bironas' go-ahead field goal.

The Titans made sure they got newly signed defensive tackle Corey Simon onto the field in the first half for a handful of snaps, and he even knocked Favre to the ground once. "I just went out there, I studied my playbook the last couple of days I've been here and I've been able to grasp it pretty well," Simon said. "I just went out there and played."

Game notes:

Titans tight end Casey Cramer had a mild knee sprain… The Titans went four exhibitions without the quarterbacks being intercepted and finished the preseason with 12 sacks… Green Bay rookie DeShawn Wynn played his first game after missing most of the preseason with a quadriceps injury. He ran 21 times for 54 yards… Green Bay kicker Mason Crosby didn't help himself much in trying to beat out incumbent Dave Rayner. He tried a 52-yard field goal that could have been good from 60 yards or longer, but was wide left… Atari Bigby had one tackle starting at strong safety for Green Bay in his fight to take the job away from Marquand Manuel, who was scratched.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Packers’ Only WWII Casualty

Howard "Smiley" Johnson was not a star player during his brief Green Bay Packer career from 1940-'41. The guard and linebacker from the University of Georgia never scored a touchdown in the National Football League or earned All-Pro recognition.

Johnson was simply a solid young reserve on coach Earl "Curly" Lambeau's teams that posted a 16-5-1 record during those two seasons, including a 10-1 mark in the 1941. He played with some of the greatest names in the Packers' storied history: receiver Don Hutson, halfback Tony Canadeo, passer Cecil Isbell, and fullback Clarke Hinkle.

Yet Johnson holds a special place in Green Bay lore as the only Packer to give his life in service to his country. A display at the entrance to the Green Bay Packers' Hall of Fame honors Johnson, a U.S. Marine who fought in World War II and was killed in Iwo Jima on Feb. 19, 1945.

According to a Green Bay Press-Gazette story, Johnson was involved in fierce fighting on the South Pacific island when a shell exploded and the flying fragments struck him.

"Johnson lay on the ground as Navy corpsmen rushed to his side," Scott Venci wrote. "Instead of pleading for help, Johnson pointed to the other Marines who had been hit and told the corpsmen to save them first."

Johnson was posthumously awarded a Gold Star for his bravery and actions during the Iwo Jima campaign. He previously earned a Silver Star for "conspicuous gallantry" during the Saipan operation for defending a flank during a Japanese attack, engaging the enemy in hand-to-hand combat.

The 28-year-old Marine lieutenant left behind his wife, Marie, and one-year-old daughter, Jennie.

The idea to create a special display in March 2005 to recognize Johnson came from Ron Wolf, former Packers' general manager and an avid military history buff.

Wolf, who lives in Annapolis, Md., said he was paging through a NFL fact book and found a listing of players who served and died in World War II.

"I saw that Smiley Johnson was the only guy from the Packers," Wolf said. "I thought it would be appropriate to recognize him not only for his contributions to the Green Bay Packers, but to the American way of life.

"I suggested to Bob Harlan that we put together a display in our Hall of Fame, and the staff got it done. What better place to honor him than in the cradle of professional football: Green Bay, Wisconsin."

Johnson was a popular player, a conservative and religious man who refrained from smoking or alcohol - a rarity among players of his era. He was one of the first players, along with team star Hutson, to retire in the Packers' hotel on road trips.

"Hutson hits the hay almost every night by eight o'clock," former Packer line coach Richard "Red" Smith said in David Zimmerman's book, "Curly Lambeau: The Man Behind the Mystique." "Friday, however, generally is his night to howl. Then he'll probably stay out as late as 8:15."

Johnson's profile in the Packers' 1941 media guide reads:

"Nobody who has met him need ask twice why Howard Johnson carries the nickname, `Smiley.' Around the city streets of Green Bay, and elsewhere before and after games, Johnson greets acquaintances with the most cheerful of countenances."

In a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article in September 2001, sportswriter Cliff Christl gathered the following comments from Johnson's teammates:

The late Pete Tinsley, who joined the Packers out of Georgia two years before Johnson and played through 1945, said a decade ago that Johnson had been one of the most popular players on the team.

"I'll tell you what, he was one of the finest young boys I ever knew," Tinsley said. "He was honest. He was religious. He was an orphan and he read his Bible every night before he went to bed."

Herm Rohrig, another former teammate, said a year ago: "Smiley was a piece of work. He got along with everybody and was tougher than nails."

Johnson grew up in an orphanage in Clarksville, Tenn., and when he reported to the Packers' training camp in 1940, he still faced financial difficulties.

Harold "Hal" Van Every, a running back and defensive back from the University of Minnesota, played with Johnson in 1940-'41. Van Every, 89, lives in Minneapolis and fondly recalled last week his teammate and fellow World War II veteran.

"I enjoyed playing with Smiley," said Van Every, a B-17 bomber pilot who spent nearly a year as a prisoner of war in Stalag Luft III after his aircraft was shot down in May 1944 near the Germany-Poland border.

"He had a good attitude and personality, and everyone liked him. He was a guard, but played some quarterback, too - a blocking back in our day. Smiley didn't smoke or drink and he got along well with Lambeau. They didn't come much better than Smiley."

Johnson was a solid contributor in his backup roles during the 1940 and 1941 season. A personal highlight was an interception the 5-foot-10, 195-pound linebacker returned for 10 yards.

Life in America changed dramatically on December 7, 1941, when the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor triggered the United States entry into World War II.

On that fateful Sunday, the Green Bay Packers and Johnson were in Chicago, watching the Bears play the Cardinals in their regular-season finale. It was a must-win game for the Bears to tie the 10-1 Packers and force the firstNFL divisional playoff in history.

Early into the game, the public address announcer at Comiskey Park told the crowd that all servicemen in attendance should report to their units; then came the news to the 43,425 spectators that the Empire of Japan had bombed Pearl Harbor.

The Bears won the game, 34-24, and a rematch with Green Bay the following week at frigid Wrigley Field.

With a nation preparing for war, the Packers lost to Chicago 33-17, with a tenacious Bear defense stifling the Green Bay passing attack, limiting Hutson to a single reception on the day.

Johnson enlisted in the Marine Corps in January 1942 and was one of 32 active Packers called to duty - but was the only one who did not return home.

He is not only honored with the display in the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame, but the former University of Georgia star is also remembered in his home state at the Peach Bowl in Atlanta. Each year, the outstanding lineman of the game receives the Smiley Johnson Award.

The Marine Corps also named several South Pacific island athletic fields in honor of Johnson.

"He was an American hero," Wolf said. "What he went through was incredible in Iwo Jima. He paid the ultimate price for his country. It's a fitting tribute to him in our Hall of Fame."


Howard Johnson
College: University of Georgia.
Packer years: 1940-'41.
Packer Highlights: Reserve guard and linebacker on Green Bay's 10-1 team in 1941. . . . Recorded an interception with 10-yard return in 1941. . . . Played in 22 regular-season games in Green Bay tenure.
Jersey No.: 64.
Birthplace: Sept. 22, 1916 in Nashville, Tenn.
Died: Feb. 19, 1945 on Iwo Jima at age 28.

By Martin Hendricks in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

Monday, August 27, 2007

Brett Favre in Atlanta

After a weekend off for a trip to Tennessee (not related to this Thursday’s game against the Titans), Packerville returns with an image of Brett Favre’s Upper Deck card for 1991. The card features an image of him while at Southern Mississippi in his senior season, instead of him in a Falcons uniform.

Favre was a second-round draft selection by the Atlanta Falcons (33rd overall and the third QB, after Dan McGwire and Todd Marinovich). He completed 14 of 32 passes for 160 yards and two touchdowns, with one interception in the preseason. He was active for three games during the regular season, and played in two of them — October 27th vs. the Rams and November 10th at Washington, in which he attempted four incomplete passes.

The Packers acquired Favre from Atlanta on February 10, 1992 for a first-round draft selection. And the rest is history.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Favre Looks Ahead — Packerville on Break

The photo for today is a Brett Favre portrait-type shot taken at Lambeau Field, and he looks as if he’s poised and pondering the coming NFL regular season, his 17th overall. While speculation each year is that the current season will be his last, some speculate that he may play as many as two more seasons after 2007. We’ll see. Just enjoy it while it lasts.

Packerville will be off until Sunday, so we’ll see you then. Enjoy the game tonight.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Brett Favre in High School

Here at Packerville, we have over 600 images of, or relating to, Packers’ legendary quarterback Brett Favre, and so we will share some of them from time to time. Today, we have a photo of a young Brett as he appeared when he played for Hancock North Central High School in Kiln, Mississippi. Besides quarterback, Favre played strong safety, punter, and placekicker for the team coached by his father, Irv. Following his senior season, he played in the Mississippi high school all star game. Favre also had his high school jersey (No. 10) retired in April of 1993 — and he was further honored on May 8, 2004, when the school’s football field was renamed “Brett Favre Field,” complete with a life-sized statue at the stadium entrance.

Monday, August 20, 2007

A Moment of Silence for Lombardi

Today’s photo is from a solemn preseason game which was played two days after the death of former Green Bay head coach Vince Lombardi. On Saturday evening, September 5, 1970, the Cincinnati Bengals met the Packers at Milwaukee’s County Stadium to play the fifth of six preseason contests that season (NFL preseasons were not shortened to four games until 1978). In the foreground of the image is, of course, longtime Packers’ linebacker legend Ray Nitschke. On this evening, the Bengals and Packers played to a 10-10 tie in front of 47,411 fans.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Green Bay Thrashes Seattle

GREEN BAY, Wis. — For all of Brett Favre's questions about the readiness of some of his younger teammates, only one question mattered Saturday night: To leap or not to leap?

Rookie receiver James Jones did a "Lambeau leap" into the grandstands after scoring a touchdown early in Green Bay's 48-13 preseason rout of Seattle. But rookie running back Brandon Jackson passed, choosing instead to jog back to the sideline to celebrate with his teammates.

"I thought about the Lambeau leap," Jackson said. "But I was winded, and it was wet and slippery."

Favre directed the Packers to 17 points in their first four drives after declaring earlier this week that their dismal showing in its preseason debut at Pittsburgh -- they failed to gain a single first down with Favre under center -- left him as frustrated as he had ever been after a preseason game.

"I think we executed better," Favre said, in comments issued through the Packers' public relations department after halftime. "Last week, we didn't execute very well. Guys made some plays."

The Seahawks weren't exactly poised to put up much of a fight, as cautious coach Mike Holmgren sat quarterback Matt Hasselbeck and both of his starting offensive tackles.

"It shouldn't matter," Holmgren said. "Those are three very good players, but it shouldn't make that kind of a difference. We got injured last year and guys had to come in and play. I just didn't think we played very well. We didn't execute at all."

At least the Seahawks didn't come away from the game with any major injuries.

"Why would we?" Holmgren said. "We didn't hit anybody."

It was the most prolific preseason scoring output since the days of leather helmets for the Packers, who beat the Cedar Rapids Crush 75-0 in 1938.

Favre showed increased comfort with two rookie teammates, handing off to Jackson for a 1-yard touchdown run in the first quarter and connecting with Jones for a 16-yard touchdown pass to begin the second quarter. Jones also caught a touchdown pass from backup Aaron Rodgers later in the quarter.

Meanwhile, backup Seneca Wallace struggled in Hasselbeck's place. Without starting tackles Walter Jones and Sean Locklear, Wallace spent most of the first half on the run.

"We've played well without those guys before," Wallace said. "We just didn't play well. We have no excuses."

Jones is coming off right shoulder surgery and Locklear has a sore right knee.

"It's preseason," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. "Sometimes you run into games like that. I don't think the score really tells the whole story about the Seattle Seahawks and it doesn't really tell the whole story about the Green Bay Packers. You have different agendas going on on both sides of the ball."

Packers defensive end Kabeer-Gbaja Biamila sacked Wallace in the second quarter and forced a fumble, allowing linebacker Nick Barnett to recover and run for a 62-yard touchdown. With the extra point, the Packers led 24-3.

The Packers scored another defensive touchdown late in the second quarter when safety Atari Bigby pounced on Wallace and forced a fumble, allowing linebacker Tracy White to pick up the ball and run 34 yards.

Wallace was replaced late in the second quarter by third-stringer David Greene -- who threw three interceptions, including two to Jarrett Bush.

Hasselbeck, who played only one series in the Seahawks' preseason opener against San Diego, had surgery on his non-throwing shoulder in January.

Seahawks running back Shaun Alexander played less than a quarter, carrying only three times for 3 yards. Backup Maurice Morris gained 31 yards on six carries, including a 15-yard touchdown run.

Favre was 7-for-12 for 74 yards and a touchdown. Jackson, a second-round pick from Nebraska who started in place of injured back Vernand Morency, gained 54 yards rushing on 13 attempts.

Jones, a third-round pick out of San Jose State who is solidifying his spot as the Packers' No. 3 receiver, caught four passes for 58 yards.

"Once you get your first TD here, you have to do a Lambeau leap," Jones said. "It was exciting."

Rodgers, whose development has been one of the most encouraging stories of Packers camp, was 10-for-16 for 97 yards and two touchdowns but fumbled twice.

Notes: Packers defensive end Cullen Jenkins had a sack and two tackles for loss in the first quarter... Bubba Franks, who has been working as the Packers' No. 2 tight end after the worst season of his career, caught four passes for 30 yards... Three Seahawks players were called for holding on a kickoff return late in the second quarter: Michael Boulware, Deon Grant and Omowale Dada... The Packers' usually lethargic return game got a jolt from second-year player Will Blackmon, who ran a kickoff back 83 yards in the first quarter to set up Jackson's touchdown... Packers WR Shaun Bodiford, FB Ryan Powdrell and defensive lineman Michael Montgomery all left the game with medial collateral ligament injuries. McCarthy said all four players would be out "at least a couple weeks."

— Associated Press

Friday, August 17, 2007

A Fierce Ray Nitschke

Ray Nitschke is our photo subject for today. The feared Ray Nitschke. Looking very intimidating. What more can we say? A great football player... and Hall of Famer. An outstanding ambassador for the game and for the city of Green Bay. Unfortunately, he left us too early.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Wood’s Missed Field Goal Return

The photo for today is from the 1967 Western Conference title game which was held at Milwaukee’s County Stadium on December 23, 1967. A capacity crowd of 49,861 was on hand, sitting in balmy (for that time of year) 20-degree game time temperature.

The original Milwaukee Journal caption that ran with this photo reads: “Wood Return — A key play in Green Bay’s 28-7 victory over Los Angeles in the Western Conference playoff at County Stadium was this return of a short field goal by Willie Wood. The Packer safety man took Bruce Gossett’s short kick on the Green Bay one yard line and returned 44 yards, and the Packers went on from there to break a 7-7 tie just before the half. Lester Josephson (#34) of the Rams gave chase and caught Wood. Herb Adderley (#26) of the Packers trailed the play.”

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Bad Weather is Good News for Tayor

For today, we have another blog posting dealing with the 1965 NFL championship game which was played in Green Bay on January 2, 1966. The Packers defeated the Cleveland Browns 23-12 that day for coach Vince Lombardi’s third title in “Titletown.” The next day, an article in the Milwaukee Journal by Terry Bledsoe read: “Jim Taylor got up at 8:00 a.m. Sunday and peered out of the window of his room at the Bay Motel. ‘I liked what I saw’ he recalled in the humid home club dressing room at Lambeau Field eight hours later. ‘I knew the snow was going to equalize some things.’”

“Taylor and his family had moved into the hotel Friday to avoid having to pay another month’s rent on their leased home, and it was there Saturday night that he first learned of the pile of slush that was approaching the city. ‘We heard on television that the forecast was for some snow, but not this much,’ he said. ‘When I saw it this morning, I knew it could only be good news.’”

“If ever good things came in bad packages, this was the time, for the businesslike 23-12 victory with which the Packers reclaimed the National Football League championship was wreathed in a combination of rain and sleet and darkness of noon which would have routed all but the most dedicated postman.”

“The snow waited until the protective tarpaulin had been removed from the field Sunday morning, and then swooped down, preceded by rain and followed by sleet, to coat the surface of the ground with a muddy grease. It was cold enough to produce a smoke signal of breath when the teams lined up, warm enough to create goo which applied a secondary smear to any runner smeared by the opposition.”

“Taylor was named winner of a sports car as the games’s outstanding player in a competition which must have been restricted to him and his two backfield mates. He ran for 96 yards and Hornung 105 and Starr passed for 147 more. Jerry Kramer, who plays guard for the Packers, whooped in delight when he heard of Taylor’s selection. ‘I knew it,’ he yelped. ‘I knew it would be either Jimmy or Paul. I kept asking them during the game, ‘If I win the car for you, what’ll you give me? I told them I wanted part of the car if I was going to block for them. I never did get Jimmy pinned down on it though.’”

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Mud Doesn’t Bother Hornung

The image for today is a shot of running back Paul Hornung gaining yardage in the 1965 NFL championship playoff game at Lambeau Field. Because of snow in the hours leading up to the game, the field was decidedly not in its normal good-weather condition. According to Chuck Johnson in the Milwaukee Journal on January 3, 1966: “The lights were on for the start of this, the 33rd annual NFL championship playoff, because it was a dark and wintry day. It snowed in the morning, some three inches covering the tarpaulin. It rained, sleeted, and spit snow while the game itself was on. And then it snowed some more after the Packers had won their ninth championship. Many of the 50,852 fans who filled the stadium to capacity did not arrive until the game was well under way. Road conditions, coupled with a traffic snarl for miles around accounted for the inordinate number of late arrivals. The temperature was slightly above freezing. ‘Steam’ from the breath of fans and players hovered over the field and the stands, adding to the eerie setting. The field itself was muddy, but the footing was surprisingly good, at least as far as the Packers were concerned.”

— Milwaukee Journal photo by Heinz Kluetmeier

Sunday, August 12, 2007

The Packer Sweep — January 1968

Today’s post is just a fine image from Super Bowl II on January 14, 1968 in Miami, Florida. Running back Donny Anderson is sweeping left following the handoff from quarterback Bart Starr. Out in front, guards Gale Gillingham (#68) and Jerry Kramer (#64) are pulling out to block for him.

The Packers, of course, beat the AFL champion Oakland Raiders that day 33-14 in front of 75,546 fans in the Orange Bowl. Anderson would finish the game with 48 yards on 14 carries and 1 TD. He would play in 84 games for Green Bay from 1966 through 1971.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Packers Win 13-9 in Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH — Good thing for Ben Roethlisberger and Mike Tomlin this one didn't count. Brett Favre, too. Neither Roethlisberger nor Favre did much as the Packers' and Steelers' offensive starters were shut out in little less than a quarter's playing time, with backup Aaron Rodgers throwing a touchdown pass and leading two other scoring drives in Green Bay's 13-9 exhibition victory Saturday night.

Rodgers, 18-of-27 for 168 yards, produced the Packers' only touchdown by ending a 71-yard drive on their opening possession of the second half with a 3-yard scoring pass to Carlyle Holiday, who slipped behind safety Anthony Smith in the end zone. Mason Crosby kicked a 52-yard field goal later in the third quarter to make it 13-9, after starting kicker Dave Rayner made a 32-yarder to end the first half.

Tomlin, coaching at Heinz Field for the first time as only the third Steelers head coach in 38 years, did what predecessors Bill Cowher and Chuck Noll did by losing his first preseason home game. He was animated and enthused, slapping hands and clapping loudly just before the opening kickoff, discarding the all-black look he's had throughout training camp by wearing khaki slacks with his black coaching shirt.

Then Tomlin found out why the preseason can be so unpredictable as his starting offense, which has been ahead of the defense so far in camp, lost a fumble and punted on its only two possessions. The Steelers' special teams weren't much better as Green Bay's Michael Montgomery overpowered snapper Greg Warren to block Jeff Reed's extra point after Pittsburgh's only touchdown and a 45-yard Cedrick Wilson punt return was called back for holding.

Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy, a native Pittsburgher who once worked in his father's tavern near a steel mill, returned home for the first time as an NFL head coach and left a winner before dozens of friends and family members. But he had to be concerned with the inefficiency of his starting offense.

Favre played in Pittsburgh for the only the second time in his 17-season career, and probably isn't eager for a return visit. McCarthy, intent on developing some continuity on his offense, allowed Favre to play four series but the Packers went three plays-and-out on each, with Favre going 2-of-7 for seven yards.

Pittsburgh's starting defense has allowed only 29 yards and one first down during minimal playing time in two preseason games.

Roethlisberger, so sharp last Sunday in leading a six-play, 80-yard touchdown drive during his only series in a 20-7 Hall of Fame game win over New Orleans, completed both of his passes for 14 yards while playing two series. But Cullen Jenkins stripped him of the ball and fell on Roethlisberger's fumble on a third-and-5 play from Green Bay's 36 on Pittsburgh's opening drive, and the second possession stalled at the Steelers' 38. The Steelers ran both series out of a no-huddle formation.

With backups on the field for both sides, the Steelers scored on backup Charlie Batch's 41-yard scoring back to Walter Young a play after he also was sacked by Jenkins, for an 8-yard loss. But Reed's extra point was blocked, though he kicked a 27-yard field goal to make it 9-0 late in the first half following Batch's 49-yard completion to Santonio Holmes. Batch was 3-of-5 for 97 yards.

— Associated Press

First Preseason Game of 2007

Tonight, the Green Bay Packers open the 2007 NFL season with a game against the Steelers on the road at Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field. Game time is 6:30 p.m. GBST (Green Bay Standard Time).

It will be carried on the following television stations: WFRV, Green Bay; WTMJ, Milwaukee; WKOW, Madison; WAOW, Wausau; WXOW, La Crosse; WQOW, Eau Claire; WYOW, Eagle River; WJMN, Marquette, Mich.; and KQDS, Duluth, Minn. The broadcast will feature Kevin Harlan and Rich Gannon as the announcers. The same network of state stations will carry two other preseason games: The Aug. 18 game against Seattle and the Aug. 30 game at Tennessee. Fox will carry the Aug. 23 game against Jacksonville.

This network is put together each year solely for the purpose of carrying three preseason games.

If you can't get any of those stations, and you have a satellite dish, here are the broadcast coordinates: C-band, AMC-6, Transponder 23.

If you get NFL Network via satellite, the Packers-Steelers game will be shown on tape delay at 4 p.m. Sunday.

Green Bay Packers Yearbook — 1990

Today’s installment of “Packerville” focuses on the 1990 Green Bay Packers Yearbook, which features quarterback Don Majkowski about to be throttled after getting rid of the ball in a preseason game with the New York Jets on August 12, 1989 in Milwaukee. The Packers won that game 28-27. Because they were coming off a 4-12 season in 1988, there were only 22,931 “fans” in the seats. Your Packerville editor was one of them. Compared to the 55,000+ fans who would attend games in Milwaukee’s County Stadium a few years later when they were a “winning” team, this was an embarrassing time.

But, after the 1989 10-6 season that was described in detail in our last installment, hopes were high in 1990 that the team would make the playoffs, right? Wrong. The man on the cover held out for more money in 1990, and then sustained an ankle injury in the tenth game at Arizona. Because of Majkowski’s holdout, backup quarterback Anthony Dilweg (grandson of early days’ Packer legend Lavvie Dilweg [1927-1934]) started the first two regular season games. Majkowski then took back the reigns in week three. Dilweg started the next four of five games after Majkowski’s injury, with third-stringer Blair Kiel starting the other game — a week 15 game with the Lions in Green Bay.

Majkowski led the team in passing in 1990, racking up 1,925 yards on 264 completions, with 10 TD’s and 12 INT’s. Dilweg’s numbers were 1,267 yards on 192 completions, with 8 TD’s and 7 INT’s. Michael Haddix led the rushing effort with 311 — that’s not a typo — yards on 98 carries and no TD’s. Once again, Sterling Sharpe led the receivers with 67 catches for 1,105 yards and 6 TD’s.

Some of the stories in the 1990 Yearbook were: “The Next Step”... “The System Succeeds”... “Cardiac Pack: Four 1-Point Wins Set NFL Record”... “Lindy: A Coach — and a Man— For All Seasons”... “(Tom) Braatz and His Scouts Make An Impact”... “Plan B (Free Agency) is a Boon”... “It Was a ‘Magik’ Trip”... “Pack Gains Speed: 1990 Draft”... “The Right Foot” (Chris Jacke)... “They Know Him Now” (Tim Harris)... “Something New at Lambeau” (New private boxes)... “The 1990 Green Bay Packers”... “(Scott) Stephen Ready to Step In”... “(John) Anderson Joins Nitschke”... “Jeff Query Has Star Quality”... “Tailgating at Tampa”... “(Rich) Moran Matures”... “Packers Back in Pro Bowl” (Tim Harris, Sterling Sharpe, Don Majkowski, and Brent Fullwood)... “The All-New Packer Hall (of Fame)”... “Old Grads Welcome New Success” (Lombardi-era players comment on 1989 season)... “Phlashback to Philly (1960 NFL Championship game)... “(Curly) Lambeau Leaves”... “The ’50 Stock Drive”... “The 1989 Season in Review”... “(Joe) Montana Returns to Wisconsin”...

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Green Bay Packers Yearbook — 1989

After a day off from the Blog, we come to the 1989 Green Bay Packers Yearbook. The cover subject is linebacker Tim Harris, who was becoming a “star“ for the Packers’ defense. Harris played for the team from 1986-1990.

In 1989, the Packers play on the field made fans think that in coach Lindy Infante’s second season, the team was really “back” to winning form, and that a new “glory years” was just around the corner. That season, they would win four games by one point and become known to some as the “Cardiac Pack.” This was also the season that Green Bay drafted Tony Mandarich with the second overall pick in the NFL draft. With their 10-6 record, they tied Minnesota in the standings, but the Vikings had a better Division record, so the Packers missed out on the Playoffs — settling for second place.

Quaterback Don Majkowski became the toast of Titletown that year, really earning the nickname “Majik Man” because of the Packers’ last-minute heoics on the field. He started all 16 games and passed for 4,318 yards, with 27 TD’s and 20 INT’s. He also ran for 5 TD’s. Brent Fullwood led the running backs with 821 yards on 204 carries — with 5 TD’s. For the receivers, Sterling Sharpe exploded with 90 receptions for 1,423 yards and 12 TD’s.

But, all the excitement was short-lived. After the winning season of 1989, the Packers fell to a 6-10 record in 1990, and Majkowski held out for more money before getting injured for the rest of the season. In the words of Bob Harlan, “It didn’t take long before I started to think that 1989 may have been just a flash in the pan.” After Infante won “Coach of the Year,” the team gave him a contract extension for two more years, through 1994. Big mistake — when he was fired after the 1991 season, they wound up paying him for 1992, 1993, and 1994 to sit in Florida and build his dream house.

Some of the stories in the 1989 Yearbook were: “Chapter Two: We Should Expect More of Ourselves” (Lindy Infante)... “The U.F.A. Factor” (Unrestricted Free Agents)... “Tim Terrific” (Tim Harris)... “Majik’s Moment?” (Don Majkowski)... “The 1989 Draft: There’s Nothing Anonymous About Tony (Mandarich)”... “The Packers’ New President — Bob Harlan”... “Retiring Judge (Robert Parins) Reviews His Tenure”... “The Packers Lose a Great Fan” (Former team president Dominic Olejniczak)... “The Doctor of Defense (Defensive Coordinator Hank Bullough)... “Record Breaking Rookie” (Sterling Sharpe)... “The Spotlight’s on Shawn (Patterson)”... “New Hall of Famer: Making Packer Grade Still (Willie) Wood’s Top Thrill”... “Your 1989 Packers”... “Mark Murphy’s Lucky Break”... “Stephanie (Infante) Steps Forward”... “Still Going Strong at 70” (Packers’ 70th anniversary)... “Packer Hall Enshrinees: Zeke Bratkowski and Ron Kostelnik”... “More Than a Football Team: Packers Impact Many Areas of Community Life”... “1988 Green Bay Packers Statistics”... “The 1988 Season in Review”... “ ‘Pokes (Cowboys) Play in Green Bay First Time Since ‘Ice Bowl’ ”...

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Green Bay Packers Yearbook — 1988

After the departure of Forrest Gregg, the Green Bay Packers hired native Floridian Lindy Infante, a former offensive coordinator with both Cincinnati and Cleveland, as head coach. “We have to first learn to feel very positive about ourselves so we can go out and believe that we can win,” he said upon his hiring. He walked into a tough situation on a losing team, and a lot of work would be required to get the Packers back to NFL-caliber.

The first year of his regime would be difficult, however, as the team slipped back down to a 4-12 record and fifth place in the NFC Central Division. Included in the trials of 1988 would be an 0-5 start, a 45-3 loss to New England, and a seven-game losing stretch in the second half of the year before they won the last two games. Their records at home and on the road were identical — 2-6.

Quarterback Randy Wright started the first five games of the season before Don Majkowski took over for the next eight, while Wright started two of the last three contests. Not surprisingly, Majkowski led in passing statistics with 2,119 yards, 9 TD’s, and 11 INT’s. Wright’s numbers were 1,490 yards, 4 TD’s, and a whopping 13 INT’s. Rushing-wise, Brent Fullwood was the leader with 483 yards on 101 carries, and 7 TD’s. Rookie Sterling Sharpe led all receivers with 55 catches for 791 yards and 1 TD.

Some of the stories in the 1988 Yearbook were: “We Have to Feel Positive About Ourselves” (Lindy Infante)... “Off the Field, Lindy’s No Couch Potato”... “The Quarterback? It’s Competitive”... “Andy’s at the Top” (linebacker John Anderson)... “All Frankie (Neal) Needs is Discipline”... “Johnny (Holland’s) a Gem”... “The Assistants — Good Coaches, Good People”... “Uke (Keith Uecker): Shooting For Whole Season”... “Dave (Brown) is Dedicated”... “Making it with Max” (Zendajas)... “Your 1988 Packers”... “The Draft — It Was Sharp(e)”... “New Video Tool: Packers Install Computer Editing”... “They’ve Got the Spirit” (Two priests who volunteer with equipment managers)... “Trio Adds Dimension to Packer ‘Hall’ ” (Lionel Aldridge, Bob Mann, and Jerry Atkinson)... “Hutson Had a hand in Super Bowl XXII”... “The Packers are Big Business”... “The Historic B Team”... “The 1987 Season in Review”... “The Bears? It’s Not Funny”... “Packers Make Cycle With Visit to Miami”...

Monday, August 06, 2007

Green Bay Packers Yearbook — 1987

Today‘s posting brings us to the end of the Forrest Gregg era with the 1987 Green Bay Packers Yearbook. On the cover is quarterback Randy Wright, who played for the team from 1984 through 1988. Wright played at the University of Wisconsin, so he had “local” interest as far as the fans were concerned, even though he was born in Austin, Texas.

In 1987, the Packers “improved” their record to 5-9-1 from 4-12. Because of a players’ strike, one game was cancelled. The replacement players brought in by the owners were on the field for three games, which counted in the final standings. The Packers finished third in the NFC Central Division standings.

As mentioned, quarterback Randy Wright led the Packers that year, with 1,507 yards, 6 TD’s, and 11 INT’s. Rookie quarterback Don Majkowski also played that year, starting five games. He passed for 875 yards, 5 TD’s and 3 INT’s. Replacement quarterback Alan Risher threw for 564 yards, 3 TD’s, and 3 INT’s (in the three “strike” games). Leading the rushers was Kenneth Davis, with 413 yards on 109 carries, and 3 TD’s. The receiver with the most production was Walter Stanley with 38 catches for 672 yards and 3 TD’s.

Coach Forrest Gregg was in his last year on the Green Bay sideline, and as mentioned yesterday, things were not very happy in Titletown. Morale was about as low as it could get, and the feeling around the administration building was that Gregg would not be brought back. According to team president Bob Harlan, “We had off-field problems (sexual assault charges against both James Lofton and Mossy Cade), the team was terrible, and Forrest had to know that his days were numbered. It all ended when Southern Methodist University made a phone call to him, and he jumped on it.”

“He got up early one morning in January,” Harlan continues, “and just drove out of town. I was in my office, and my window looked right out on the parking lot toward Lombardi Avenue. One of the coaches came to me and said, ‘Forrest Gregg is going to resign today and leave.’ I asked him how he knew that, and he said he’d heard it in the back hallway. Then I looked out my window, and there was Forrest and his wife driving away.” He didn’t tell his assistant coaches. He didn’t tell anybody on his staff or in the office other than then team president Judge Robert Parins. He just left.

Some of the stories in the 1987 Yearbook were: “Operation: Getaway” (Forrest Gregg’s offseason program)... “Special Delivery: Randy Wright Arrives at Quarterback”...“IMPACT” — Trio Turns Defense Around” (Tim Harris, Tiger Greene, and Ken Stills)... “Walter (Stanley) Wants the Ball”... “The Private World of Forrest Gregg”... “TV Testimonial: Packer/Bear Rivalry Still Magic”... “Mark Lee: Man of Ste(a)l”... “Packers’ Title Triumphs Erased Small Town Label”... “Captain (Ron) Hallstrom’s a Leader”... “(New Executive VP of Football Operations, Tom) Braatz is Back Home”... “’87 Packers Draft Reminiscent of ’58”... “Your 1987 Packers”... “Paul Hornung Receives Hall of Fame RIng”... “Willie Davis Tosses Coin for Super Bowl XXI”... “Art Daley (Yearbook founder) Retires”... “Ruettgers Reigns”... “(Kenneth) Davis: I Know My Role Now”... “Lambeau — Looking Good at 30”... “Eddie Lee (Ivery) — A Versatile Warrior”... “Dr. B” (Team physician Dr. Eugene S. Brusky)... “The Thanksgiving Day ‘Miracle’ ”... “Lofton Passes Hutson”... “Can the Bears Be Dethroned?”... “Packers Debut in Arizona”...

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Green Bay Packers Yearbook — 1986

Moving through the Forrest Gregg era, we come to the 1986 Yearbook. On the cover is linebacker Randy Scott, shown during a game with the Miami Dolphins on December 8, 1985. The Packers lost that game 34-24. Scott played for the team from 1981-1986, making this the second year in a row that the player on the Yearbook cover was playing his last with the team.

In 1986, the Packers went from a .500 team to a 4-12 last-place-in-the-NFC-Central-Division team. The Gregg era was not working out like anyone had anticipated. After an 0-6 start, the Packers ended up beating only Cleveland, Tampa Bay (twice), and Detroit. Finishing out the year in grand style, they lost to the New York Giants 55-24 four days before Christmas. Happy Holidays, Packer fans!

Lynn Dickey was now gone, so Randy Wright was “leading” the team — passing for 3,247 yards, 17 TD’s, and 23 INT’s. The other quarterbacks this year were Vince Ferragamo and Chuck Fusina. Leading the rushing department was rookie Kenneth Davis with 519 yards on 114 carries — and 0 TD’s. Veteran James Lofton, also in his last year with the Packers, led the receiving corps with 840 yards on 64 receptions, with 4 TD’s.

These were obviously not great years for the Green Bay Packers organization. In his recent book “Green and Golden Moments,” Packers’ president Bob Harlan wrote, “There weren’t a lot of times when Forrest was really happy, to be quite honest about it. A couple of years after his regime was over, I asked a player what it was like. He said Forrest was stern, vocal, and at times intimidating. He told me it was negative motivation, and it was a negative time in Packerland. I think that described it very well.”

After a 1985 Monday night game with the eventual Super Bowl champion Chicago Bears in which William “The Refrigerator” Perry scored a touchdown, Harlan said, “I saw Forrest in the locker room... and he was livid. And that wasn’t just in the locker room. He let everyone in the (Packers’ headquarters) building know how upset he was for the next couple of weeks.” There also was an incident after a loss at the Indianapolis Colts that season where it was close to “total chaos” in the locker room, and strength coach Virgil Knight hurled a full can of soda at linebacker Mike Douglass. Ah, those were the good old days.

Some of the stories in the 1986 Yearbook were: “Pack May Put Emphasis on Rushing”... “Getting Ready for a Game — With Coach Forrest Gregg”... “Nose Tackle — The Eye of the Storm”... “Gary Ellerson Still Learning”... “Hornung Enters Hall of Fame”... “(Dominic) Gentile is More than a Trainer”... ““The Great Packer-Bear Rivalry”... “Bears Once Owed Packers $1,500”... “Big Shoes May Fit Mark Cannon”... “The Quarterback Derby”... “Your 1986 Packers”... “Captains Clark and Scott Earned It”... “The Draft — First Two Selections Help Offense”... “Lofton Near Untouchable Record”... “Brian Noble — Tenacious, Strong”... “The Abominable Snow Game — Lambeau Field, Dec. 1, 1985”... “A Historic Trip to Madison”...

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Green Bay Packers Yearbook — 1985

After attending Training Camp for five and a half days, and taking a couple of vacation days off from the Blog, Packerville is back today to resume our series on the Green Bay Packers Yearbooks. We get back on schedule with the 1985 Yearbook, which features an illustration of tight end Paul Coffman on the cover. Coffman played for the Packers from 1978-1985, and appeared in three straight Pro Bowls (1982-1984). He was inducted to the Packer hall of Fame in 1994. He also played for the Kansas City Chiefs in 1986 and 1987, ending his career in his home state — he was born in St. Louis and graduated from the University of Missouri.

In 1985, the Packers achieved their third 8-8-0 season in a row, the second in a row for coach Forrest Gregg. He was hardly turning the team around from where it was when he inherited it (Bart Starr’s last year was an 8-8-0 record). The record placed them second in the NFC Central Division — behind their hated rivals, the Chicago Bears — who would go on to win the Super Bowl after that season. In their two head-to-head meetings with the Bears in 1985, they lost at home 23-7 on October 21st, and lost again in Chicago 16-10 on Monday night, November 3rd.

Quarterback Lynn Dickey started 10 games, Jim Zorn started five games, and Randy Wright started one. Dickey was statistically the leader with 2,206 yards, 15 TD’s, and 17 INT’s. The leading rusher was Eddie Lee Ivery with 636 yards on 132 carries and 2 TD’s. James Lofton led the receivers with 69 catches for 1,153 yards and 4 TD’s.

Some of the stories featured in the 1985 Yearbook were: “1985 — An Anniversary Year” (the Packers’ 65th)... “Forrest Gregg — ‘A Fair Person’ ”... “(Mark) Murphy and (Tom) Flynn — Safeties First”... “Now Married, Paul Coffman is Still Mean and Lean and Hungry”... “Your 1985 Packers”... “Love Helped Packers of the 1960s Win”... “Karl Swanke — Alone on ‘The Island’ ”... “Phillip Epps — Just a Blur”... “99 Yards — Tim Lewis’ Run Breaks 1950 Record”... “(QB) Scott Brunner — The Right Place at the Right Time” (Note: He never played in a regular season game with Green Bay)... “Lambeau Field Has a New Look”... “The Draft — Offensive Line Bolstered with First Two Picks” (Tackle Ken Ruettgers and Center/Guard Rich Moran)... “Ron Hallstrom — I Want to Be the Best”... “The 1984 Season in Statistics”... “Eddie Lee Ivery — A Different Type of Runner”... “Al (Del Greco) and Bucky (Scribner)”...

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Day 4 at Packer Training Camp

Last evening, the Packers held a practice in Old City Stadium for the first time since an intra-squad scrimmage in 1961. And before that, they played in the stadium from 1925-1956. Six championship teams played on that field — teams that included Curly Lambeau, Clarke Hinkle, Johnny “Blood” McNally, Arnie Herber, and Don Hutson. The same field is now used by Green Bay East High School, and all of the old wooden grandstands were torn down years ago. But it was fun to see the team return to its roots, and it probably will not happen again for a long time. The reason they did it now is to tie in with the 50th year celebration of Lambeau Field.

From the Green Bay Press-Gazette, here’s what the fans saw last evening:

Let's just say the Packers' first go at the 2-minute drill was ugly. The final damage between the three units: zero points; a net loss by the second and third teams; two bobbled snaps and a fumble by third-string QB Paul Thompson; and at least four offensive penalties.

Elsewhere ...

• With Brandon Miree (Achilles') sitting out, rookie fullback Korey Hall took the majority of first reps with the starters. In the last team period, Hall caught a pass and bowled over cornerback Will Blackmon at the goal line.

• The play of the night probably goes to Calvin Russell and Aaron Rodgers, who hooked up to torch rookie safety Aaron Rouse on an all-go during the blitz period.

• Dropping 'em like they're hot: Chris Francies, Robert Ferguson, James Jones (the play after Ferguson's) and Brandon Jackson.

• Newly signed tight end Joe Werner's first practice was much like the past six years of his life: He didn't play football.

• P.J. Pope would have been in more trouble had Nick Barnett actually tried to light him up after sniffing out a screen during the last team period.

• And your final passing stats from City Stadium (7-on-7 in parentheses): Rodgers 27-for-38 (10-for-14); Ingle Martin 16-for-20 (7-for-8); and Thompson 6-for-10 (3-for-3).

• Tight end Bubba Franks also left the field after taking a shot to the right side of the head during a team drill, but McCarthy said he didn't notice Franks go out and didn't have any other information.

• In another field-goal drill, Dave Rayner made two of two kicks from 28 yards, two of two from 34 yards and 1 of 2 from 40 yards. Rayner's first kick from 40 was blocked by Jarrett Bush on a bad snap from Clark Harris. Rookie Mason Crosby made all five of his field goals, including 2 from 28 yards, 2 from 34 yards and one from 40 yards.

• The team period was marred by some penalty problems. Left tackle Chad Clifton and guard Travis Lefew both had false starts and defensive lineman Michael Montgomery was offsides. All three penalties came during an 18-play stretch.

• TE Bubba Franks drew the biggest cheer of the night with a deep catch over the middle and he showed some agility to avoid converging defensive backs. Greg Jennings also drew cheers when he caught a deep crossing route from Rodgers. More cheers came when running back Jackson burst through a huge hole in the middle of the line.

Other observations from a team drill:

• If it were allowed in practice, A.J. Hawk would have easily sacked Rodgers on a blitz.

• Receiver Chris Francies beat Patrick Dendy on a deep slant route.

• Calvin Russell dropped a pass from Rodgers on a blitz drill with Aaron Rouse in coverage.

• In a one-on-one receiver vs. defensive back drill, Jennings had a nice catch in the end zone over Al Harris. Jennings then later beat Harris on a crossing route over the middle. Donald Driver, who was the sidelines for the first two days of camp, caught a pair of passes over cornerback Charles Woodson.

• For the third straight day, rookie running back Brandon Jackson struggled to pick up blitzing linebackers during the team drill. Jackson missed a block on Nick Barnett who would have sacked quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

• In the same period, first-round draft pick Justin Harrell took a few snaps with the No. 1 defense.

• Defensive backs haven't been engaged in any live tackling during training camp, so tonight they took out their pent-up frustrations by diving at a tackling dummy placed on a thick-padded landing area. Charles Woodson didn't participate in that drill.

• In an unrelated item, the NFL Network is taping portions of tonight's practice and will air footage at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

• Dave Rayner held a slight advantage over Mason Crosby in a kicking drill. The Packers kickers booted successful 42-yard field goals, but Rayner held the upper hand on kickoffs. Rayner's five kicks went to the 4-yard line, the 6-yard line, the goal line, the 4-yard line and the goal line. His hang times were: 4.16 seconds, 4.25, 4.00, 3.87 and 3.85. Crosby's kickoffs went the following distances: to the 7-yard line, the 13-yard line, the 17-yard line, 1 yard deep in the end zone and to the 9-yard line. His hang times were: 3.94 seconds, 4.31, 2.38, 3.62 and 4.18. Lining up for one kick return unit: Shaun Bodiford and Ryan Powdrell.

• The crowd, estimated at between 2,000 and 3,000 people, greeted the Green Bay Packers tonight as they conducted their first practice in 46 years at the stadium, adjacent to Green Bay East High School.