Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Let’s Go Get Those Chiefs!

Since those Native American-named fellows are coming to Green Bay for the final exhibition game tomorrow evening, we thought we’d put up a photo from Super Bowl I — or, as it was officially known — The First A.F.L.-N.F.L. World Championship Game. We see the players being introduced to the Los Angeles Coliseum crowd on January 15, 1967 as head coach Vince Lombardi looks on. Heading out to the cheers of the crowd is G Fred “Fuzzy” Thurston (#63), to be followed by T Forrest Gregg (#75), T Bob Skoronski (#76), and later, WR Carroll Dale (#84), and WR Boyd Dowler (#86).

PACKERVILLE NEWS

PRESEASON GAME #4 INFO:
• PACKERS-CHIEFS DOPE SHEET
• PACKERS TEAM REPORT
• PRESS BOX NOTES
• GAME PREVIEW #1
• GAME PREVIEW #2
• GAME PREVIEW #3
• 5 THINGS TO WATCH
*****
• Hoping to survive final roster cuts
• Obama jobs speech up against Packers
• Packers Notes
• So'oto, Lattimore battle way onto field
• Chiefs finish work for preseason finale
• Edgar Bennett's specialty – holding on
• Keys to success for Packers in 2011
• The enemy of NFL champs
• Rodgers, Matthews tops in NFL jersey sales
• Groundbreaking for Lambeau Field project is Thursday
• Timetable for a possible Packers stock sale
• Annual “Welcome Back” Luncheon held
• “Welcome Back Packers” photos
Networks flock to Green Bay for opener

Centered on Bowman

Today we turn our blog spotlight on former Packers’ C Ken Bowman. Born in Milan, Illinois, he played at the University of Wisconsin, after which he was drafted by Green Bay in the eighth round of the 1964 N.F.L. Draft. He played in Titletown from 1964-1973, anchoring the offensive line and, with Jerry Kramer, throwing the key blocks to allow Bart Starr’s game-winning touchdown in the 1967 N.F.L. Championship game (The “Ice Bowl”). After his playing days were over, he also coached one year with the Edmonton Eskimos in the C.F.L. as the offensive backfield coach.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

PACKERVILLE NEWS

• Packers Team Report
• Packers not losing sleep over Eagles' “dream team”
• Packers offensive line backups still to be decided
• Packers notes
• Final defensive line hard to predict
• Packers notebook
• Packers Insider
• McCarthy news conference highlights
• Rodgers: Camp was productive
• Bishop hopes he’s avoided fine for penalty last week
Depth at DB is issue in preseason finale
Jason Wilde: So'oto hopes he's found a home
• Rodgers back at practice, ready to go
• As Kuhn shows, versatility is key
• 2011 Division Preview: NFC North
• Highlights, lowlights of training camp
Mike Neal still targeting Saints game
• Beyond that headline lies an ancient Packers connection
• Harrison, Dungy consider obstacles to Packers repeating
• NFL plans events for Green Bay school kids

Monday, August 29, 2011

Two Swell Guys

Here’s a couple of fine individuals who did their share to contribute to the success of the championship teams during the Lombardi years. Back-up QB Zeke Bratkowski (left, #12) and WR Max McGee (#85), are seen above on the annual photo day, when all of the black & white press photos were taken over on the Oneida Street practice field. Bratkowski played at Georgia before embarking on a pro career with the Chicago Bears, Los Angeles Rams, and the Packers. He became an ideal backup and spot starter during the Lombardi championship era. In a 15 year year NFL career, Bratkowski passed for 10,345 yards and 65 touchdowns. In the 1965 Western Division championship game versus the Baltimore Colts, Bratkowski relieved the injured Bart Starr and led the Packers to a 13-10 victory on their way to the 1965 title. After his playing career, he served two stints as Packer assistant coach, from 1969-1970 and from 1975-1981. He also coached the Browns, Rams, Jets and Eagles, before retiring in 1996. He was inducted into the State of Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in 1980, and the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame in 1989.

Max McGee, out of Tulane University, played for Green Bay from 1954-1967. He may be best known for his performance during the first Super Bowl game. McGee, who had to borrow a teammate's helmet because he had not brought his own out of the locker room, was put into the game when Boyd Dowler was injured early. A few plays later, McGee made a one-handed reception of a pass from Bart Starr, took off past Chiefs defender Fred Williamson and ran 37 yards to score the first touchdown in Super Bowl history. By the end of the game, McGee had recorded seven receptions for 138 yards and two touchdowns, assisting Green Bay to a 35-10 victory. After football, his many successful business entities made him a wealthy man. His ties to the Packers continued from 1979-1998 when he served as the color commentator for radio broadcasts of Packers football games with Jim Irwin. On October 20, 2007, McGee died as a result of a fall from the roof of his home in Deephaven, Minnesota while removing leaves from the roof with a leaf blower. He is also a member of the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame.

PACKERVILLE NEWS

• Monday Camp Report
• James Jones hasn’t seen many passes
• Packers Notes
Docu-details on Packers 2010 season
• Starks gets look as third-down back
• Neal still aiming for next week
• Solid tight end group will be a tough decision
• Packers Notebook
• Packers Insider
• McCarthy shortens practice
• Rodgers misses practice with strained foot
• Thompson: “We’re ready for football
Peter King’s Monday Morning QB
• NFL announces opener kickoff events
• Pack should be even stronger

Another Good Prediction

We spent the day in downtown Chicago, within sight and walking distance of Soldier Field, but we didn’t go near it for fear of being contaminated. We did, however pick up this issue of The Sporting News’ N.F.L. Preview for 2011 in the heart of Bears-Land. Two of our boys who only played at the beginning of last year before being injured — RB Ryan Grant and TE Jermichael Finley — put our team on the cover of yet another preseason publication, and you’ll be quite pleased with their prediction for how the season might turn out.

According to the magazine, “(The Sporting News) is picking Green Bay to repeat as Super Bowl Champion. Mike McCarthy doesn’t doubt us, and there are plenty of reasons you shouldn’t either.” We also thought this quote was interesting from QB Aaron Rodgers: “A lot of (last year’s injured players) feel like they didn’t contribute to the Super Bowl run, and they want to be part of something special. Those guys are hungry to be difference-makers on a team that can go deep in the Playoffs.”

It all sounds good to us here in Packerville, U.S.A.

PACKERVILLE NEWS

• Packers Team Report
• Sunday Camp Report
• Roster-deep Packers release veterans TE Havner, WR Swain
• Focus on filling out middle, bottom of roster
• Chad Clifton expected to play at a high level
• Crosby happy to hit a game winner
• Packers Notebook
• Packers Notes
• Packers Insider
• McCarthy keeps faith in Clifton
• McCarthy: We have to pick the right 53
• Rodgers signs with State Farm Insurance
Ryan Grant talks contract, preseason

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Smoke, If You’ve Got ’Em...

Lighting up on the Lambeau Field western sideline today is head coach Vince Lombardi, during an early Sixties home game. That’s something that we pretty much guarantee you’ll probably never see again any time soon. It’s all about positive images and being good examples for the youth these days, and it should be.

PACKERVILLE NEWS

• Green Bay ready for its close-up on Sept. 8th
• Offense still has pass protection problems
• NFL coaches touched by Packers' tradition
• Packers Notes

Lambeau Field Redevelopment

We thought that some readers might like to watch the press conference from this week when the Packers released their plans for adding 6,600 seats at Lambeau Field by 2013. This is of particular interest to those of us who are below the 3,000 mark on the “Green” package season ticket waiting list. Also touched upon in the press conference (conducted by Packers’ president Mark Murphy, seen above) is a possible stock sale as a part of this process. So, if you missed your chance to become an N.F.L. owner in the 1998 sale, your chance may be coming again.

The press conference can be seen here.

The Q&A session can be seen here.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Fun Ending in Indy

There’s still quite a bit of work to be done with our 2011 Green Bay Packers, but it was fun to see the backups to the backups put together a game-winning effort at the end of the game tonight in Indianapolis. If you went to bed early, you need to check out the highlights via the link in our Packerville, U.S.A. Newsroom section below. Basically, they were down by eight with time running out, got a TD and the two-point conversion, the onside kick, and enough yardage to kick a 50-yarder to win it as time expired.

Here’s Mason Crosby and his special teammates making the victory possible.

TE Ryan Taylor, a seventh-round draft choice in 2011, caught the final TD and the game-tying two-pointer.

Although he had some good stats, including a TD pass, QB Aaron Rodgers had plenty of company in the backfield — fellows who were wearing different-colored jerseys.

Rodgers was sacked four times in the first half. Chad Clifton had a rough night, including nullifying a TD with a holding penalty. This was also not a good night to be Jarrett Bush, who gave up two TDs in the end zone.

It was good to see Jermichael Finley in the end zone tonight.

LB Clay Matthews was back playing tonight, and he introduced himself to Colts’ QB Curtis Painter.

Really? Hey buddy, your team just lost their 26th out of their last 30 preseason games. Maybe next year.

PACKERVILLE NEWS

Game Story: Green Bay Press-Gazette
Game Story: Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
Game Story: Packers.com
Game Story: Indianapolis Star
Game Story: Associated Press
Game Story: ESPN
Game Highlights: NFL Network
• Official Game Statistics
• Official Box Score
• Scoring Summary
• Photo Galleries: Here, here, and here
• Packers Notebook
• Packers Notes
• Packers Insider
• For Packers, an up-and-down night in Indy
• Packers' protection suffers breakdowns
• Primary concerns for the secondary
• Packers, Vikings moving in opposite directions
• First deadline for roster cuts is Tuesday
• Area hotels full for season opener
• Crime report in Titletown
• For Hammes Co., Lambeau project is Phase 2

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Chalk Talk with Coach

Resident offensive genius — and head coach — Vince Lombardi is seen today working outside at the chalkboard with Packers’ staff members during a practice session. We wonder when the last time was that a chalkboard was hauled outside in the N.F.L. to be used to diagram pass routes in this manner.

PACKERVILLE NEWS

PRESEASON GAME #3 INFO:
• PACKERS-COLTS DOPE SHEET
• PACKERS TEAM REPORT
• PRESS BOX NOTES
• GAME PREVIEW #1
• GAME PREVIEW #2
• GAME PREVIEW #3
• PREVIEW FROM COLTS’ SITE
• 5 THINGS TO WATCH
*****
• Plans announced for adding seats
• Expansion renderings can be seen here
• Packers to add 6,600 seats at Lambeau
• New seats to make room on waiting list
• Expansion will create “wall of sound”
• No taxpayer dollars in new Lambeau expansion
Stock sale possible to fund expansion
• Concussions holding trio back
James Starks, you’re up
• Packers Notes
• Like Harlan, Mark Murphy Puts Stamp on Franchise
• Younger inside linebackers make noise in preseason
• Rodgers favorite to earn MVP honors
• Five TEs looking be backup to Finley
Mike Vandermause: Sitton has a fan in Rodgers
• Greene certain Zombo will return
Jason Wilde: Countdown to 53
Roster could feature more TEs, fewer FBs
• NBC giving season-opener full attention
• NFL experimenting with 8th official

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Sometimes There’s No “Daylight”

Here’s an image of Packers’ FB Jim Taylor trying to find a hole in the line during a game with the Cleveland Browns. The “Daylight” reference in our blog title today, of course, refers to Vince Lombardi’s famous 1963 book, Run to Daylight, written with W.C. Heinz. If you haven’t read it, and you’re a student of Packers’ history, then put it on your list.

PACKERVILLE NEWS

• Wednesday Camp Report
• Packers strong at safety
Howard Green taking nothing for granted
• Breaking down the Packers’ roster
• NFL guide paints Packers by numbers
• Sherrod tough to evaluate
• Packers may be without WRs on Friday night
• Packers Notebook
• Packers Insider
• Packers to announce plans for Lambeau expansion
• NFL knows it needs big crowds to make for good TV
Camp fight brings back the memories
• Green Bay to let kids out early for opener

Fox Sports Video: Aaron Rodgers goes home

Here’s a video from WBAY-TV Green Bay about the “paper incident” this week...

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Mike and His Bike

It’s back to the early 1990’s today as we put up a photo of head coach Mike Holmgren on one of his Harley Davidson motorcycles of the era. Also notable, but probably already forgotten by most fans, is the pre-renovation Lambeau Field in the background. This is the old stadium that was covered with corrugated sheet metal painted green on the exterior. Holmgren is now the president of the Cleveland Browns, who defeated the Packers in the first preseason game out in Ohio. Someday perhaps he’ll be honored at an alumni game in Green Bay when he’s retired from football for good. For now, we’ll just see him come through Titletown with whichever team he’s working for at the time. We do thank him for the success achieved in his time in Green Bay, though. Like today, those were good days, too.

PACKERVILLE NEWS

• Tuesday Camp Report
No-huddle gives added dimension
• Desmond Bishop focuses on being the best
• Packers face tough choice at fullback
• O-Line counting on young reserves
• Packers Notebook
• Packers Notes
• Packers Insider
• McCarthy wants starters to play two quarters Friday
Tom Oates: Trading Flynn tempting, but no...
• Fans pick Pats as Super Bowl champion
• Continuity may give Packers an edge

The Golden Boy

If you go to any Packers’ game at Lambeau Field, you’re sure to see middle-aged men wearing #5 Paul Hornung jerseys, and it has been 45 years since he suited up for a game at Lambeau Field. Such is the legend of “The Golden Boy” in Packers’ history. A member of the College Football Hall of Fame, the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame, and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, Hornung’s Heisman Trophy can be seen on the club level of the Lambeau Field Atrium. It has been said that Forrest Gregg was the best player Vince Lombardi ever saw, but Paul Hornung was like a son to the coach — which must’ve been puzzling to Vince Lombardi, Jr.

Hornung will always be remembered fondly in Titletown, and that’s the way it should be. His jersey number has never been formally retired, but it informally will not be issued to anyone anytime soon. It was used a couple of times briefly in the ensuing years, but not recently.

Following his retirement he entered the business world, primarily as a real estate investor, but remained involved with professional football as the producer and host of a nationally televised sports program. He also did commentary on television broadcasts of college and NFL football for several years to a generally favorable reception.

PACKERVILLE NEWS

• Monday Camp Report
• T.J. Lang named starter at left tackle
• Zombo’s injury hands job to Walden
Jason Wilde: Woodson’s approach
• Packers look to shore up line, lower sack totals
• Packers Notes
• Packers Notebook
• Packers Insider
• Chastin West’s mother still unimpressed
• Rodgers signs with Ford and adds TV segment
• Packers’ papers found in the street
• Selling tickets at the NFL's “worst stadium”
Peter King: Monday Morning QB

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Some Things to Check Out

There are some new publications for Packers fans to check out as the regular season approaches, although less than normal because of the lengthy lockout. Above is the USA Today’s Pro Football 2011, with Aaron Rodgers and some others from the Division on the cover. They apparently are making no predictions on the post-season, but they do say that the Packers will win the N.F.C. North.

Lindy’s Pro Football issue has Rodgers on the cover (stop looking at the Cowboys’ cheerleader), and they also predict that the Packers will win the Division this year as well. But their post-season predictions say that Green Bay won’t make it past the Divisional round, and that the Ravens will defeat the Eagles in Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis.

And look who’s still hanging around on the back cover.

This is the program from the Packers-Cardinals game on Friday night. Back to Football, indeed!

We’re still trying to hunt down this new publication, as we couldn’t find it while we were in Green Bay, oddly enough.

While we were in Titletown for our lengthy training camp stay, we were able to purchase this brand-new book about the Packers and their relationship with the city of Green Bay. Green Bay – A City and It’s Team is invaluable to anyone interested in Packers’ history (which is why most people come across our blog). The wealth of photos of places and sites in town that are or were connected to the team is extraordinary. You will be surprised at how many key sites survive as the Packers are nearing their 100th year of existence. This 512-page treasure can be found in many places around Titletown, or via the book’s website here.

From the publisher: “A book deeply rooted in American history exploring the evolution of the Packers and professional football in the broader context of American culture. The narrative details the history of football in Green Bay, Wisconsin from its introduction in 1895. The biographical style puts the reader directly into pivotal historical events and locations, with emphasis on the development and survival of the Gre...en Bay Packers thanks to the efforts of the community. It integrates elements of American and World History to paint an accurate picture of American life at various points in time from 1895-2011, viewed from the institution of professional football. Approximately 375 photographs, including "then and now" spreads add a lively visual perspective. This is the most comprehensive book ever written on the history of the Green Bay Packers and will enrich the reader's understanding of American history in general.”

Here are a few examples of what’s inside:

Old Packer Offices
The old Green Bay Packers offices at the corner of Washington and Crooks. Packers business was conducted out of this building from 1949 to 1963. Vince Lombardi’s office was in this building for the first five years of his tenure in Green Bay before moving into the offices at new City Stadium. (Copyright Tom Pigeon)

Sneezer’s Snack Shop
Sneezer’s Snack Shop at 1608 S. Greenwood (now Ashland) Avenue in the early 1950s. Vince Lombardi often ate breakfast here on his way to the practice field. The left half of the building was the restaurant, and the right half of the building was the Jahnke family home. On game day, Sneezer’s was a defacto tailgating site, 1960s style. During the 60s, tailgating at the stadium did not enjoy the popularity that it does today.

Curly Lambeau’s Grave
Curly Lambeau's grave site in Allouez Catholic Cemetery. (Copyright James Hurly)

Van Duyse House, Sturgeon Bay
Mary Jane Van Duyse (Sorgel) speaks to the authors from the exact spot at the home in Sturgeon Bay where Curly Lambeau collapsed and died on her parents’ front lawn in 1965. (Copyright James Hurly)

Here’s a short video, if you are interested:

PACKERVILLE NEWS

• Packers Season Preview
• NFL post-lockout calendar
• Colts' owner tweets he's in Favre's hometown
Josh Gordy shows aptitude to move up depth chart
Alex Green could bring new element
• Offense comes alive in win
• Packers-Cardinals post-game chatter
• QB Harrell solidifies hold on roster spot
• Packers Notes
Jason Wilde: Packers aim to cut back sacks
Eric Baranczyk: Sherrod slow to pick up fundamentals
Mike Vandermause: Packers, Howard Green a good fit

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Back from a Packers’ Victory

Yes, it was a meaningless win in the overall scheme of things, but a win is a win nonetheless. If you’re going to pay the same price for a game that doesn’t count in August as you’ll pay for one that decides the Division in December, it’d be nice to at least have the team win the game, right? We enjoyed the trip to Green Bay on Friday, we enjoyed the game, and we enjoyed making a few stops for merchandise procurement before we left town on Saturday afternoon. Preseason games — to us — are fun to watch, if you enjoy seeing guys trying to make the team, seeing the back-ups play, and having no stress about how the game turns out.

While some would say “I can see the game better at home on T.V.,” attending games in person is the superior experience in our opinion. If we were watching at home, we couldn’t focus on T.J. Lang on one play, and then on Derek Sherrod on the next play. Or scan the sideline with our binoculars to see who’s doing what. And next year, Lambeau Field will have HD video replay screens four times the current size. It just may elevate the experience to be a combination of the best of watching at home and watching live in the stadium.

A few notes from last night’s game: With all the frantic attention to head injuries lately, someone needs to get the attention of the equipment staffs and the players about how to properly fit the helmets to the players’ heads. There were more helmets flying off last night than we can remember in recent memory… with Randall Cobb’s knee bruise, does anyone but us wonder why players are allowed to wear absolutely no padding on their thighs and knees?… the 97-yarder from QB Matt Flynn to WR Chastin West was really a beautiful sight, coming right at us in the North end zone… the first-string offense seemed sluggish, until the late first-half TD to Greg Jennings… perhaps it was more noticeable being at the game, but the defensive players were constantly being shuffled throughout the entire game. Few plays on defense had the same personnel two plays in a row… Tim Masthay, while receiving much praise this week for his vast improvements, had a couple of bad punts in a row in the middle of the game. Like, ugly bad…

Alex Green had a good first night of action. (Getty Images)

Greg Jennings’ swivel-and-catch was quite amazing. (Getty Images)

Rodgers’ night was O.K., but not stellar. (Getty Images)

Game Story: Green Bay Press-Gazette
Game Story: Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
Game Story: Packers.com
Game Story: Associated Press
Game Story: ESPN
• Official game statistics
• Official Box Score
• Scoring Summary
• Photo galleries: Here, here, and here
• Rookie Alex Green passes his initial screen test
• Rookie Chastin West makes case for roster spot
• First pick Sherrod has a tough night
• Rodgers, no-huddle to the rescue
Favre impersonator sought in Green Bay
• Preseason Notes
• Mike McCarthy press conference highlights
• Packers Notes
• Packers Notebook
• Packers Insider
• NFL Films tells Packers championship story
Mike Vandermause: Packers remain a work in progress
Tom Oates: Puzzle pieces missing


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Some Rewards for ’59

Today’s photo was taken during the 1960 preseason, when the Packers met the Cardinals (who had just moved to St. Louis from Chicago’s South side) in Green Bay on September 5th. Governor Gaylord Nelson (the father of “Earth Day”) is seen posing with Packers’ head coach Vince Lombardi and WR Boyd Dowler. He was congratulating Lombardi for being selected Coach of the Year for 1959, and Dowler for being selected N.F.L. Rookie of the Year for 1959. As the photo caption states, the Packers won the exhibition game by a score of 35-14. We would like to see a similar score tomorrow night when the two teams meet in Lambeau Field. We will be at the game, so there will be no update tomorrow night, but we might put up a few Tweets, so stay tuned...

PACKERVILLE NEWS

PRESEASON GAME #2 INFO:
• PACKERS-CARDINALS DOPE SHEET
• PRESS BOX NOTES
• PACKERS TEAM REPORT
• GAME PREVIEW #1
• GAME PREVIEW #2
5 THINGS TO WATCH
*****
• Cardinals expect self-discovery in second preseason game
• Packers atop the N.F.L. world
• Taylor fighting for his chance with Packers
Injury news causes concern for Packers
• Packers may be shorthanded vs Arizona
• McCarthy: Neal undergoes MRI knee scan
• Trio fighting for spots in secondary
• Tim Masthay shows long-term promise
• Packers Notes
• Packers Notebook
• Shields mum on NCAA violations allegations
• Adjusting to the new kickoff rule
• NFL should stop playing on Friday nights
• Some NFL execs resistant to 18-game schedule
• Packers fans the most rabid in the N.F.L.