roughing the passer and a five-yarder for crawling on the part of Tobin Rote. After the play, the Packers really got kicked – two 15-yarders for personal fouls, one for unsportsmanlike conduct (that was for notifying the officials of their error on the blocked punt), 44 yards on two interference penalties, and a 15-yarder on the delicate roughing-the-passer penalty. Year after year, a discussion of penalties generally brings up the west coast. Pro coaches rarely, if ever, rib the officials publicly – for obvious reasons. The only flagrant public blasting of the officials were aimed at, you guessed it, the west coast bunch a year ago when Bear Coach George Halas lashed out on an interference ruling…PACK OUT-PENALIZED BEARS: The new Packers weren’t the naughtiest team in the league last fall. They were penalized 85 times for 757 yards – an average of seven and 66 per game. In fact, the Packers out-penalized the usual leader, the Bears, 757 to 738. Maybe it pays to be “bad”. The two conference champions, Rams and Cleveland’s Browns, ran one-two in penalties. The Rams came out with the most, 110 infractions for 1,038 yards, while the Browns had 104 for 968 yards. The Ram figure is still short of the league record – 122 penalties for 1,100 yards by Washington in 1948. The Bears drew the same number of penalties in ’48 but they totaled up to only 1,066 yards. The cleanest livers in the league were the Pittsburgh Steelers with only 57 penalties for 477 yards. The other phase of today’s two-way discussion concerns punting and the highlight on said subject is that the Packers sent their punter, Jug Girard, against the bone-crushing Bears without shoulder pads. Girard injured his wrist against the Washington Redskins on the previous Sunday and was forced to wear a cast. Hoping that the Bears might “unharm” a shoulder pad-less player, Coach Ronzani ordered the pads removed and sent the Jugger against the Bears. The Packers gave him great protections and the Bears never got near enough to block Jug or a punt. Jug finished the season with a 38.2 average on 71 punts, below the first 10 punters in the league. The 10th punter, Jim Hardy of the Cardinals, had a 39.4 average on 56 kicks. The Packers booted 74 times – the odd three being kicked by Bob Forte after Jug went out of the Washington game. Forte averaged 35.7.
PACKERS PREPARE FOR 'NEW' DRAFT
JAN 4 (Green Bay) - The next 15 days will be a crucial period for the Green Bay Packers. During that time, Head Coach Gene Ronzani will: (1) Evaluate reports on hundreds of college football players through person-to-person conversations with the athletes or their coaches and (2) select 30-odd college stars in the NFL’s draft in Chicago. Ronzani’s current task – his first as Packer coach (the selection and draft last January was made by the old regime) – is further complicated by Uncle Sam’s draft. A number of college graduates are ripe for war service although a certain percentage are married and have children. Still others have had previous war service. The Packers have sent letters out to hundreds of pro prospects, asking them their draft status and college eligibility and other information. Ronzani will be on the road for most of the two-week period. He left today for Mobile, Ala., where he’ll take in the annual Senior bowl game Saturday and then move down to Dallas to attend the annual national NCAA convention of college coaches…WATCH PRACTICE SESSIONS: Some 50 of the nation’s leading college players, all seniors and eligible for pro competition next fall, will battle in the Senior bowl. New York Giant Coach Steve Owen will mentor one squad and Bo McMillin, recently of the Detroit Lions, will handle the other. The game is promoted by Red Grange. Ronzani expects to sit on one of the team’s practice sessions Friday and Assistant Coach Dick Plasman may come up from Florida to watch the other. In Dallas, Ronzani will talk with coaches regarding other prospects not competing in Mobile. Well known in the coaching field after 18 years with the Chicago Bears, Ronzani will be out to build up a new goodwill for the Packers. Almost every day for the last couple of months, Ronzani sent out 10 to 15 letters to coaches all over the country – just a small part of his rebuilding program. From first-hand information obtained himself, plus reports from scouts at the various bowl games and college games last fall, Ronzani will make the Packers’ first “new” picks. The selections will be made in conjunction with the league’s annual winter meeting in Chicago’s Blackstone hotel starting Jan. 17. The Packers, if they’re lucky, can get the No. 2 draft choice. Baltimore, because of its last place percentage (.083) will draw first. The second choice will be made by the Packers, Washington Redskins or San Francisco Forty Niners who finished with identical percentages of .250. The order of draw for these three teams will be decided by coin flipping by Commissioner Bert Bell. All of the major bowl games were scouted last weekend. Coach Plasman kept his eyes on several boys in the Wyoming-Washington and Lee game, while Line Coach Tarz Taylor observed the East-West and Rose bowl battles. Quarterback Tobin Rote and end Abner Wimberly looked over the Cotton bowl. Don Hutson, the Packers’ immortal end, viewed the Kentucky-Oklahoma contest for the Packers. Don is a personal friend of Kentucky Head Coach Bear Bryant. A number of Kentucky and Oklahoma players are considered pro prospects, although the ace of them all, Kentucky’s quarterback Babe Parilli, is a junior and won’t be eligible for the draft. Ronzani, incidentally, has been informed that Ben Zaranka, drafted by the Packers a year ago, no longer belongs to the Packers because he was selected before his class was to graduate. A defensive and offensive end, Zaranka was the Bays’ 29th choice in the meetings in Philadelphia last January. Zaranka’s class won’t graduate until 1951. Under league rules, a club drafting a player before the commencement of the league’s approaching season loses right to the player for that year and to that selection for the draft.
COLTS' WATNER GETS HELP FROM MARSHALL; GP DEFERS PAYMENT
JAN 4 (Green Bay) - Baltimore’s Abe Watner got a little help Wednesday from Washington’s George Preston Marshall in his efforts to keep the Baltimore Colts alive in the NFL. Another $50,000 installment is due Jan. 10 on the $150,000 Marshall exacted a year ago for letting the Colts into the fold. The owner of the Washington Redskins said Wednesday the Colts can have at least a week longer to make the payment. Watner, Baltimore financier, still hasn’t decided whether he wants to take this $50,000 first step into 1951. The Colts’ board of directors hasn’t decided whether to let him. There is some question whether they can stop him if he elects to take the plunge. It cost Watner $83,078.71 to get into this fix. He took over as president of the Colts about a year ago and agreed to meet the 1950 loss. If the directors made up the losses, Watner stipulated, he would be glad to step out. If he’s to pay the bill for 1951, he wants full control. “The board has no intention of reimbursing Mr. Watner,” Chairman William F. Hilgenberg declared Wednesday. The new “payment due” date set by Marshall is keyed to the opening of the league meeting in Chicago. But there may be a further stumbling block. League Commissioner Bert Bell told reporters by telephone Wednesday that the new deadline will have to be approved by 11 of the league’s 13 clubs. “If they disapprove,” he declared, “everything would be over.”…Quarterback Stan Heath, once of the Green Bay Packers, has teamed up with the professional football champion Cleveland Browns, the team said in Cleveland today. Heath, only 23, played last season with Hamilton in Canada with ex-Brown Edgar (Special Delivery) Jones. The former Milwaukee boy – first to sign a 1951 Brown contract – will supply some young blood to the Browns’ rather slim quarterback staff, headed by the sensational Otto Graham.
PACKER STOCKHOLDERS SET MEETING JAN. 22
JAN 9 (Green Bay) - The annual meeting of stockholders of the Green Bay Packers, Inc., is scheduled for Monday night, Jan. 22, in the assembly room of the Brown country courthouse, E.R. Fischer, Packer president, announced today. Date of the annual stockholders’ meeting, previously held in July, was changed at the last stockholders’ session because of the January date coincides more closely with end-of-the-year business. A feature of the meeting, in addition to reports on the 1950 season by Secretary-Treasurer Frank Jonet and Head Coach Gene Ronzani, will be the election of directors. Ten of the 30 directors’ teams will expire this month. They are William Servotte, Russ Bogda, Frank J. Jonet, August Reimer, Ed Schuster, Walter Scherf, H.J. Bero, Dominic Olejniczak, C.J. Renard and Henry Washburn- all eligible for reelection. The names of these 10 directors in addition to 10 new ones have been listed in the election-nomination ballot sent out to stockholders today. The names were nominated by a committee composed of Fred Leicht, chairman, H.J. Bero, Jerry Atkinson, Charles Mathys and Maurice Maloney. Stockholders can write in the name of any other candidate they wish to vote for. All ballots must be mailed to the committee not later than Jan. 15. The 10 new nominees are Morgan Wheeler, Menasha; Jim Manci, Iron Mountain; and John Borgenson, Robert Brebner, Dr. H.S. Atkinson, Joe Crevcoure, John Paeps, Haydn Evans and William Sullivan of Green Bay. The 10 stockholders receiving votes representing the greatest amount of stock will be recommended to the stockholders at the meeting for election to the board.
DEFENSE AGAINST AIR BOMBS CHIEF PACKER WOE; 25 TDDS VIA THROWING
JAN 10 (Green Bay) - The new Green Bay Packers scored only four less touchdowns than the world champion Cleveland Browns posted in 1950. Yet, the Browns finished with 10 wins and two losses while the Packer had 3-9. The difference? Defense! The Browns permitted 144 points and the Packers gave up 406 – the highest pointage ever allowed by a Packer club. Naturally, a comparison of the Packers and Browns would seem unfair because – down the line – Cleveland’s personnel is superior to that of the Bays. However, the figures are presented merely to “point” up one fact: That the Packers’ trouble afield was chiefly defense – or lack of it – against passing! In the process of rebuilding, for the future, Packer Head Coach Gene Ronzani had to sacrifice defense for offense right from the start as he installed the straight T-formation – a system that was new to everybody, including the Packer veterans and one that required considerable drill time…DEFENSE SECONDARY CONCERN: Until the Bays worked deep into the non-league season, the matter of defense was almost of secondary concern. The Packers were occupied with boosting their output from the five or six basic plays used against the Browns in the non-championship opener to the complete, normal set needed to confuse an enemy. Offense, or scoring, was of primary concern. Although the Packers’ air defense was “behind schedule” at the start, it helped produce five victories in the first seven games, including three non-loop wins. However, it was apparent that a new defenseman here and there might have solved a number of defense-against-pass problems as enemy clubs scouted personnel weaknesses in the Packers. As the season progressed, the Packers shifted in a number of defenses, including the six-one-four which the New York Giants used in beating the Browns twice, but enemy passers were able to deploy their receivers rather successfully. The ideal defense against passes goes like this: Three ball-hawking outfielders and four big, fast tackles – two of whom play defensive (crashing) end. The two units must be perfectly coordinated, the idea being that the passer gets no more than the standard time to throw. If he gets too much time, few defensemen can properly cover a receiver because a receiver has that much more time to get away or maneuver his mates into position…CONVERTED FROM AN END: The Packer outfield was composed, until the last few games, of Rebel Steiner, Wally Dreyer and Alex Wizbicki. Both Dreyer and Wizbicki were defense experienced – Wally with the Bears and Alex with the Buffalo Bills and Cleveland. Wizbicki and Dreyer both played a “smart” game in that they were able to figure an enemy with a reasonable amount of success. Steiner, a rookie, was converted into a defender from end because he was a vicious tackler and a good ball hawk. Rebel had no trouble with some clubs – including the Bears – but the Detroit Lions and Los Angeles Rams, particularly Cloyce Boz and Tom Fears, terrified him, so to speak. Later, end Al Baldwin was moved back to Steiner’s spot. Despite trouble with several clubs, Steiner led the Packers in pass interceptions with seven. Baldwin and Dreyer each snagged five, while Wizbicki got two. In all, the four outfielders grabbed 19 enemy aerials. Defense in the line? The Packers didn’t have the crashers at end the likes of Larry Craig, Larry Brink, Len Ford, etc. Steve Pritko, the defensive left end, had his best season and often nailed enemy quarterbacks but Dan Orlich was hot and cold at right end. Enemy touchdown figures point up the Packers’ defensive unhappiness. In 12 league games, the opponents scored 56 touchdowns and 25 of them came directly on passes and six others were set up by passes. The Rams, pro football’s passingest team, created the most havoc. They scored nine touchdowns against the Packers on passing and two others were set up by throwing. In fact, the Rams scored nearly one-fourth of the Packers’ opponents’ points – 96 in two games. In Detroit’s nine TDs against the Pack, five came directly on passes. The New York Yanks scored five of their 11 TDs against the Packers on passes. While guys like Fears, Box, Doak Walker and Elroy Hirch were able to get away for touchdowns on passes against the Packers, the Bears went through two games against the Packers without completing a TD throw. In fact, the Bays intercepted four John Lujack passes and returned two of ‘em for TDs in the opener Oct. 1. Defense against rushing? That’s where the Packers flashed, with giant Clayton Tonnemaker covering the entire line from his middle backerup position. The Packers ranked among the first four in yards permitted by rushing but they were last in yard allowed by passing.
PACKERS FACE PROBLEM IN ’51 COLLEGE DRAFT
JAN 12 (Green Bay) – What would you do? Go for the big name star headed for military service or settle for a few lesser-knowns – with children? You won’t have to make the decision but Packer Head Coach Gene Ronzani will when the NFL gathers for its annual meeting and college draft in Chicago next week. The Packers, in the process of rebuilding, will be drafting for next fall. Many of the other clubs, already loaded with material, can afford to draft for the future – delivery after the present emergency. For example, the Bears, Browns, Rams, Detroit and several others can select a quarterback the likes of Bob Williams of Notre Dame because they are already set with QBs – elderly and married (with children) ones. They can snag Bucky Curtis, great pass catcher from Vanderbilt, without batting an eye because they’re all loaded at end. Both Williams and Curtis are reported sure bets to go into service. The Packers, who undoubtedly would get a crack at Williams and Curtis before the aforementioned clubs, can build for ’52 or ’53 next week, but Ronzani is fixin’ to get the Packer back on a par with the big guns as quickly as possible – in 1951. Most of Ronzani’s efforts have been concentrated on the war eligibility of the boys he’d like to draft next week. His needs are many – off the 3-9 record of last fall and an early request by Uncle Same for two 1950 stalwarts, linebackers Clayton Tonnemaker and Bob Forte. In addition, halfback Larry Coutre and guard Len Szafaryn have taken their Army physical examinations. Not all of the headline aces are due for a quick call into the service. One example is Southern Methodist’s versatile Kyle Rote, who is married and the father of a son. Rote probably will be the No. 1 choice. A halfback in SMU’s single wing, Rote played fullback in the “T” in the East-West game and burned up the joint. Which makes him an immediate candidate for the Packer backfield. The disposition of Williams may be interesting. Williams hails from Baltimore and the Colts are preparing to trade the Orioles for the rights to Bullet Bob. Normally, Williams would be a cinch for the Colts because they finished last in ’50 and get the No. 1 choice. However, that George Halas of the Chicago Bears talked the Colts out of their No. 1 draft choice last fall for fullback Jim Spavital and tackle Urban Odson. Spavital had one good game all season, while Odson, the ex-Packer, closed out in the Canadian league. The story out in Baltimore is that the Colts, due to their “unusual” interest in Williams, survival in the league, etc., are trying to prevail on Halas to “return” the No. 1 draft choice (Williams) in exchange for the Colts’ third choice for the next two years. What happens on that will undoubtedly provide some lively discussion in the meeting rooms next week. Halas may want a quarterback himself, and, come to think of it, that’s probably why he made the deal with Baltimore. What’s more, Williams is practically Bear-trained for delivery to – you guessed it – the Bears. Do you think the Packers need a quarterback like Williams? Most sideliners are pretty well divided on that question. Incumbent Tobin Rote, married and father of a youngster, should be an ace next year. And maybe Pitchin’ Paul Christman will consent to another season. Who knows? The Packers, incidentally, can get the No. 1 choice – if they’re lucky or, as Ronzani puts it, “if we get the right bounce.” The No. 1 choice will be the “bonus” pick of the league and four teams, the Bears, Detroit, Philadelphia and Washington, are ineligible because they previously have had “bonus” awards. The team gaining the bonus will be pulled out of a hat in which the names of all eligible clubs will be placed. After the bonus choice and Baltimore’s first selection in the regular draft, the Packers could conceivably draw second – if they are lucky. They’ll join with Washington and San Francisco in a coin flipping ceremony to decide the second picker because they finished last season with the same percentage in the won-lost column. Next to Kyle Rote, who is a first cousin to the Packers’ Tobin, Michigan’s Chuck Ortmann seems to be the most logical contender for the No. 1 snag. Ortmann, a Milwaukee boy, is a passing, punting and running back in the single wing, but, ‘tis said, he could be converted to the “T” without much trouble. Chuck is to be married soon. The country is loaded with top-flight backs. Try these for size: Duke’s Billy Cox, who beat Ace Parkers’ age-old total offense record for the Blue Devils last fall with 1,995 yards – 1,486 by passing on 108 completions in 206 attempts; Fred Cone of Clemson, with a 4.9 rushing average; Everett Grandilius of Michigan State, who gained 1,023 yards in 163 rides for a 6.73 average against tough competition; Eber Van Buren of LSU, brother of the Eagles’ Steve; Eddie Salem of Alabama, defensive star; and Leon Heath, Oklahoma’s powerhouse fullback. From the small schools, Whizzer White of Arizona and Brad Rowland of McMurry proved themselves against the big schoolers in the East-West game. White led the nation in rushing with 1,502 yards for an average of 7.55. Most of the clubs, including the Packers, will be looking for big, fast tackles who can switch to end on defense. Kentucky’s Bob Gain ranks among the best. So does Holland Donan of Princeton. Notre Dame’s Jerry Groom seems to be tops among the country’s linebackers and offensive centers – a fine replacement for Tonnemaker by the way.