PASS TO ROTE
DEC 6 (Pasadena-Green Bay Press-Gazette) - The Packers' win at Frisco proved to Tobin Rote that the short pass is a mighty potent weapon and to Veryl Switzer that he can actually catch the football. Rote had fallen into the long-pass habit, which characterized his throwing during the Ronzani regime, in the last three or four games. His last longie was the one Billy Hotwon dropped in Detroit, although he threw three of them in the last few seconds of the first half at Detroit. Coach Liz Blackbourn, an exponent of the short pass, noted that Rote produced two touchdowns with five short passes against the 49ers. In the nine-play, 67-yard drive in the second quarter that tied the score, Rote completed shorties of 13 yards to Howton, 11 to Howie Ferguson, 11 to Gary Knafelc and 21 (the pass only traveled 10 yards) to Al Carmichael in that order and Rote sneaked it over. There was more proof early in the fourth quarter when Reid caught one for 10 and Switzer for 14, setting off another Packer drive that ended with a fumble by Joe Johnson at midfield. Switzer has been troubled catching punts and Blackbourn figures that "Veryl might have some trouble making up his mind whether or not to fair catch it, causing a last-second fumble." Sunday's game wasn't five minutes old when Veryl fumbled a Bobby Luna punt. Frisco promptly turned it into a 7-0 lead. On the ensuing kickoff, Johnson joined with Carmichael to catch Gordy Soltau's boot while Switzer sat on the bench. "I didn't keep him there because he fumbled," Liz explained, "but he got a bad bump on the nose and needed a breather." From that sitdown on, Switzer caught punts like he owned 'em. Luna's next punt was blocked for a TD but Switzer took the next on the 49er 45, veered sharply to his right and raced 38 yards to the Frisco 7, setting up a 21-7 lead. Switzer caught two more and returned 'em 50 yards but one, a 30-yard runback, was nullified by a penalty. In fact, Frisco coach Red Strader took special note of the Packers' punt returning with this crack, "Blackbourn really took the commissioner's suggestion seriously." Recently, Bert Bell announced to the world that the punt return is becoming a thing of the past in pro ball because of all the fair catches and that the rules should be changed to encourage the thrilling runbacks. He later told the coaches that they should have their boys do more punt returning. Strader didn't take much heed. The 49ers fair caught three out of six and two others were permitted to roll dead.
BAYS TAKE DAY OFF BEFORE STARTING WORK FOR FINALE WITH RAMS
DEC 6 (Los Angeles) - The Green Bay Packers rested here Monday before they went to work again Tuesday for their NFL finale with the Rams at Los Angeles Sunday. The Packers' performance in their 28-7 triumph over the 49ers at San Francisco certainly earned them a day off. Against the 49ers, quarterback Tobin Rote had one of his finest days. The protection afforded by his lineman was superb. Rote completed 50% of his passes, 9 of 18, to six different receivers. He never had to "eat" the football for a loss and he never had to run when he went back to throw. Nor were any of his pitched intercepted. Green Bay's running game was hardly effective but for good reason. Fullback Howie Ferguson is so battered and bruised that he can hardly pull on his uniform. But he must be in there to keep the defense honest. With Ferguson crippled but still willing, old Breezy Reid came up with by far his top job of the season, running low and fighting for extra yards. He led the Packers' modest ground attack with 32 yards. He also caught three passes for 77 yards, leading the team in both respects. Reid's last catch, for a 60 yard touchdown play on a short pass over the middle, perhaps brought home to Rote something Coach Lisle Blackbourn has been telling him with indifferent success for two season. Throw them short. Rote laughed about his passing after the 49er game especially when Ray (Scooter) McLean, backfield coach, pointed out that he had thrown only once (for a 13 yard gain) to Billy Howton, fellow Rice alumnus and usually his favorite target. "Those shorties over the middle," Rote said, grinning as he buttoned his shirt, "had their linebackers going crazy. They didn't know which way to turn or which guy to follow." Blackbourn expressed pleasure over his defense, as well he might. "Our strategy," he said, "was to stop the long one, which we did. We figured that if we had to let them complete the short passes and make yards on traps up the middle coming down the field, okay. We didn't think they'd be consistent enough to keep going, that something would stop them sooner or later in close, a fumble or an interception. That's what happened, too. The boys did what they were supposed to all the way." Lou Rymkus, line coach, pointed out that the defensive line put a good rush on San Francisco's passers, Y.A. Tittle and later Maury Duncan. "Sure," he said, "we didn't catch Tittle for big losses, but the boys forced him out of the pocket several time, and made him get rid of the ball too fast most of the time. If you want to single out someone who did a real good job in there, I'd say Dave Hanner, although he had plenty of help." Bill Forester, middle guard, made two leaping interceptions and lateraled off to gritty little Billy Bookout after one of them. The large, well-proportioned Texan with the slow drawl had one of his better day after disappointing performances earlier in the season. Roger Zatkoff also leaped high for an interception and Bobby Dillon, quarterback of the deep defense, grabbed another, bringing his season total to nine. Doyle Nix, improving as he learned and one of the league's really fine rookie defensive backs, knocked down three passes, one of them after a burst of speed and a leap to avert what looked like a certain 49er touchdown. For his part, Val Joe Walker, Dillon's sidekick at safety in the all-Texas back line, fell on a fumble on the Packer one foot line to halt San Francisco's early second half bid to make it a contest once again. After the game, the 49ers denied that Walker had actually recovered the ball. Joe Perry, fullback, said, "I crossed the goal and still had possession. It should have been a touchdown. When I did fumble in the end zone, McElhenny was on the ball." Hugh McElhenny, 49ers' halfback, said, "I was sitting right on the ball - in the end zone. It was mine." Someone asked Walker how he got the ball. "McElhenny slid across and past the ball, and I feel on it," he said. "Well, where did you recover it?" "Where'd the referee put the ball down?" Walker asked. "On the one foot line." "That's good enough for me," Walker said, smiling.
GILLMAN SAYS REPORTED REEVES OUSTER WON'T HURT LA MORALE
DEC 6 (Los Angeles) - Los Angeles Ram coach Sid Gillman had this to say today about the reported firing of Dan Reeves as club president by associates Ed Pauley, Hal Seeley and Fred Levy, Jr.: "I don't know anything about front office matters and this has nothing whatever to do with the conduct or the morale of the team. I have no statement other than the fact we want to win this last game against Green Bay." Reeves, who in 15 years at the helm of the Rams has built the club into one of pro football's most successful ventures, has been asked by his partners to devote more time to the team or turn the duties over to someone else. Reeves, a millionaire Beverly Hills broker, owns 32.22 percent of the Ram stock; oilman Ed Pauley 30.56 percent; Fred Levy 22.22 and Hal Seely 13.89 percent. Comedian Bob Hope owns half of Levy's stock, but is not a partner, Levy retaining voting rights. Reeves acknowledged Monday that his partners had expressed a desire to make "certain changes in our existing partnership agreement," but he denied reports that he would step aside as president. One partner, Frederick Levy, Jr., said Reeves had been served notice that his contract as managing partner will not be renewed Jan. 1 unless he can devote "almost full time" to the job. Reeves stated further: "Under our agreement, drawn up in 1953, outlining the management structure of the organization, I was delegated complete authority by the other partners to operate the Los Angeles Rams. Included in this agreement, drawn up by us at the time of the establishment of the partnership, was a proviso that at any time they wished to limit or change the authority delegated to me, such changes could be made by notification on or before Nov. 1 of any calendar year. A desire by my partners to make certain changes in our existing partnership agreement was made known to me on last Oct. 31." He declined to say what changes were sought. Reeves, once sole owner of the Rams, was reported to have drawn a salary of $50,000 a year as managing partner. But he stated: "Although as managing partner of the Ram organization I am authorized a salary, I have not seen fit in the past to draw this money, devoting my time without financial compensation."
PACKERS NEED RUSHING 'LIFT' TO BEAT RAMS
DEC 7 (Pasadena-Green Bay Press-Gazette) - The Packers will need more than 85 yards rushing to beat the Los Angeles Rams in the Coliseum Sunday. Coach Liz Blackbourn is sure of that but "we'll also need Howie running at full speed to give us the big lift." The Packers beat Frisco 28-7 with only 85 soil stripes. Blackbourn may get his wish and hope. Howie Ferguson, the Packers' one and only Mr. Rush all season, now is certain that there's nothing seriously wrong with his shoulder. He gained this peace of mind Tuesday when X-rays revealed no structural breaks. Ferguson went through Tuesday's workout with no pain. "Feels wonderful," he shouted in the shower room and in answer to a question added: "I don't expect any shoulder trouble against the Rams," The Rams are well aware of Ferguson - not only from their first game vs. Green Bay but from a "slight" hint Baltimore coach Weeb Ewbank dropped after Sunday's game. Asked if he thought Ram Tank Younger was the best fullback in the league, Ewbank replied: "He's good but wait until you see Ferguson. Watch for him."...Younger had a tremendous day against the Colts, the Packer defense has been notified, reeling off 132 yards in 25 carries and scoring two touchdowns. In fact, Younger and Ronnie Waller, the Rams' rookie halfback sensation, sawed up Baltimore's powerful defensive line for 270 yards in 49 carries. These two gents, who had nine gains of over 10 yards each between 'em, helped keep the Colts' defense honest. The Packers can't match Younger and Waller but Blackbourn figures Ferguson ranks with Tank. As for Waller, the Packers will have to match his high production with Breezy Reid and Joe Johnson, the left halfbacks. Johnson has had trouble squeezing the ball, fumbling three times in the last three games, while Reid has been in something of a late-season slump until the Frisco game, when he broke out with two touchdowns and 109 yards rushing and passing...The Packers had themselves some fun in yesterday's workout. "The boys are a little down about being out of the championship running," Blackbourn pointed out, "but they'll be okay by the end of the week." Green Bay had high hopes Los Angeles would lose to Baltimore. Blackbourn shortened the game preparation part of the drill - held under leaden skies and on wet turf at Brookside Park - and finished off with three exciting games of touch football. The games gave everybody a chance to remove bumps and bruises. If Ram coach Sid Gillman had any private eyes in the mountains surrounding the area, they must have been confused. The Packers had 35 players, two over the limit, in sweat uniforms yesterday, the two odd balls being a couple of sporting writers from Wisconsin. The 33 Packers felt fine today, but the two ringers - on my (and Chuck's) aching back. Blackbourn, incidentally, isn't worrying about Gillman or spies. Liz closed only one week of practice all season and that oddly enough was before the Ram game in Milwaukee. At the time, the Packers were working out a spread formation...Speaking about Gillman, the Ram coach is quite confident of winning Sunday. He told the annual Ye Olde Rams party Monday night that "We only have two games left - Green Bay Sunday and the championship game against the Browns."...BRIEFS: End Jim Jennings left Tuesday for more schooling at the University of Missouri. Placed on the inactive list last Saturday to make room for Dave Stephenson, Jennings hopes to return next year if service doesn't get him...Tackles Dave Hanner and Jerry Helluin have maintained the weights are specified in their contracts. Hanner is carrying 250 and Helluin about 269. A year ago at this time, both ballooned beyond recognition, Hanner going up to 270 and Helluin 304...Reid never scored two touchdowns in a single game until last Sunday - "At least I don't ever recall getting two in one game."...When tackle Len Szafaryn scooped up a blocked punt (by Pat O'Donahue) and raced 26 yards for a touchdown against Frisco, he also received credit for a 26-yard punt return - rather rare for a tackle.
GROUP FAVORS REBUILDING CITY STADIUM
DEC 7 (Green Bay) - A call from the Northside Businessmen's Assn. to start the reconstruction of City Stadium and disregard views for a new stadium was received by the City Council Tuesday night and sent to its finance committee. A letter from Chester Racine, association president, said the group had voted unanimously "to endorse and support the Green Bay Packer Corporation's recommendation that City Stadium be improved and expanded at its present Baird St. location. Our association has taken this action in view of reported attempts by persons, both in and out of the city administration, to contravene this recommendation at a greater cost and expense to the city of Green Bay. We believe that the Packer Corp, decision should be supported because it was based on a careful and thorough investigation of all facets of this situation. Accordingly, we petition and urge you to proceed with plans for the development and improvement of City Stadium at its present location with all possible haste," the letter said. The Council presently is marking time on stadium plans while awaiting comparative cost estimates of rebuilding and enlarging City Stadium and a new stadium on city-owned land at Military Ave. and Bond St. Improvement of the present stadium was the original recommendation of the Packer Corp. because of cost considerations. Proponents of the new site have advanced traffic and parking advantages. A bonding referendum will be required for the plan which gets Council approval.
HERBERT, SERVICE STAR IN GERMANY, LOOKING FORWARD TO PLAY WITH PACKER
DEC 7 (Mannheim, Germany) - The Green Bay Packers, who have lost a lot of talent to the armed forces recently, may get something in return next season. Pfc. Lowell Herbert, a former captain of the College of the Pacific football team, is serving with the U.S. Army in Germany and playing with the 37th Transportation Motor Transport Command football team at Mannheim. The 22-year old Herbert wound up his college career in 1954 and was drafted by Green Bay of the NFL. He went directly into the service, but plans to join the Packers as a linebacker next year. Herbert will be no stranger to Coach Lisle Blackbourn of the Packers. Blackbourn coached the Marquette University team before taking over the Packers in 1954, and his teams played College of the Pacific all three years Herbert was a member of the squad. After one Marquette-Pacific battle, Blackbourn patted Herbert on the back and said "you were giving Marquette more trouble than anyone else on your squad," which is quite a compliment for a linebacker. Herbert has been living up to that reputation while playing with the 37th Transport Command "Wheelers". The team voted the 215-pound Wheeler the most valuable player of the year and he has been credited with dozens of pass interceptions and key tackles. The prospective Packer player is a native of San Andreas, Calif. He was named outstanding defensive player in his junior year at Pacific and was elected captain his final year. Herbert is married to his college sweetheart, the former Patricia Drake of Tracy, Calif., and plans to make football his career. "The folks all up and down Wisconsin are the backbone of the Packer squad," he said. "I'm looking forward to Green Bay. I'm sure it will make a fine home for Pat and me. I only hope I can do my bit for the team."
DICK DESCHAINE VAULTS TO SECOND IN PUNTING
DEC 7 (Green Bay) - Dick Deschaine's 73 yard punt for the Packers last Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers carried him to second place among the league's punters, according to NFL statistics released today. Deschaine has booted the ball 52 times for a 43.4 average. Norm Van Brocklin of the Los Angeles Rams was first with a 44.5 average on 58 attempts. Deschaine's kick last Sunday carried from behind the Packer goal line to the San Francisco 45 and then rolled another 18 yards. Fred Cone, another Packer with a talented toe, stands fourth among the league's scorers with 73 points on 28 points after touchdowns and 15 field goals. The loop's leading scorer is Doak Walker of Detroit with 85 points. Teammate Al Carmichael is the top ranking kickoff return leader with 392 yards in 13 returns for an average of 30.2 yards. His teammate, Veryl Switzer, is tied for fifth with a 26.6-yard average. Bobby Dillon is ranked second in pass interceptions with nine. He returned the interceptions 153 yards, including one 61-yard run. Packer ends, Bill Howton and Gary Knafelc - were 7th and 8th in the standings with 40 and 26 catches respectively. Pete Pihos of Philadelphia led with 51. Tobin Rote stands 11th among league passers with an average gain of 5.85 yards per pitch. He's tried 314, completed 141 for a 44.9 average and 1,836 yards. On top of the pile was Otto Graham of Cleveland with an average gain of 9.25 yards. He completed 85 of 160 for a completion average of 53.1 and 1,480 yards. Howie Ferguson, bruised but battering fullback, was third among the ground gainers. He's clipped off 4.6 yards per trip on 174 attempts that gained 796 yards. Alan Ameche, former Wisconsin star from Kenosha, Wis., tops that department with 932 yards gained on 197 tries. He's averaged 4.7 yards a trip. Switzer was the eighth best punt return artist in the league with a 6.5-yard average.
PACKERS GOING ALL OUT TO BEAT RAMS SUNDAY
DEC 7 (Los Angeles) - Liz Blackbourn's Green Bay Packers aren't going to win the NFL's Western Division championship this year. But they'll go for broke Sunday when they play the Rams here since they can get a piece of second place money from the championship game proceeds provided they whip the Rams and Philadelphia upsets the Chicago Bears. Such an eventuality would leave the Packers and their historic arch-enemy, the Bears, tied at 7-5-0...IRONIC SITUATION: It would be ironic, indeed, for Green Bay to practically hand the hated Bears the championship by dumping Sid Gillmans's team. After reviewing the movies yesterday of Green Bay's last minute 30-28 victory over LA. Oct. 16 in Milwaukee, Coach Blackbourn said he felt that the Packers should have won that one going away. "We played rings around the Rams, "he said. "Until Fred Cone kicked that field goal, every break went against us. Andy Robustelli was out of position when he recovered a fumble for a touchdown, Tobin Rote threw the ball away that Jim Cason intercepted for another score."...TEAM IMPROVED: "But I'm sure the team we beat that day is tremendously improved. Younger didn't play against us and he's a great one. Our scouts say that Morris at linebacker and Waller at halfback are two of the best rookies of the year. I've been in the coaching racket for 30 years and I never remember when the Rams weren't loaded with talent." In his two seasons with the Pack since leaving Marquette University, Liz has done a remarkable job. Last year at Milwaukee, he directed his team to a resounding 35-17 conquest of L.A., Green Bay's first victory over our lads in 12 games...LOSS AVENGED: The Rams later avenged that loss in a rematch, but Blackbourn-coached teams now hold a 2-1 edge over Dan Reeves' varsity. Liz reports that Howie Ferguson's sore shoulder escaped further damage in the 49er game and he expects the big fullback to be in top shape Sunday. The Packers lost linebacker George Timberlake of SC to the service. Stanford's great quarterback, Bobby Garrett, won't rejoin Green Bay until the 1957 season. If the Packers had won the bonus choice at the draft meeting in Philly, they would have taken Hopalong Cassady.
ALAN AMECHE CINCH FOR RUSHING HONORS
DEC 7 (Philadelphia) - Alan (The Horse) Ameche, Baltimore Colt rookie fullback and former University of Wisconsin All-American, almost could sit it out in the final game of the season Sunday and still win the individual ground gaining championship in the NFL. Statistics released Wednesday by league headquarters here show Ameche with 932 yards, 197 more than his closest rival, Fred Morrison of the Cleveland Browns. Ameche will face the San Francisco 49ers in the closing game of his first pro season Sunday. Morrison will his plunging against the Chicago Cardinals. Morrison, with 146 carries to Ameche's 197, is averaging 5.5 yards a play. Ameche has an average of 4.7. Howie Ferguson of the Green Bay Packers dropped to third place with 796 yards. Tobin Rote, Green Bay quarterback, remained in 11th place among the league's passers with 114 completions for a total of 1,836 yards and a 5.85 average. Cleveland's Otto Graham is well ahead of the pack with a 9.25 average on 85 completions for 1,480 yards. Jim Finks of the Pittsburgh Steelers has gained the most yards through the air, 2,100. Punting honors will be at stake in Green Bay's game with Los Angeles Sunday. Norm Van Brocklin of Los Angeles leads with an average of 44.5 yards. Dick Deschaine of Green Bay is second with 43.4 and Adrian Burk of Philadelphia third with 43.3. Biggest gain among pass receivers in the last week was made by Pete Pihos, Philadelphia veteran, who caught 10 aerials and jumped from third to first place. Pihos has caught 51 passes for 750 yards and seven touchdowns. Billy Wilson of the 49ers is second with 49 completions. The Packers' Al Carmichael continues to lead in kickoff returns with a total of 392 yards on 13 for an average of 30.2 Ollie Matson of the Cardinals is out in front in punt returns with 167 yards on 11 for a 15.2 average. Willard Sherman of the Rams leads in pass interceptions with 11, followed by Green Bay's Bobby Dillon with nine. Doak Walker of Detroit is the scoring leader with 83 points.
BEARS WRAP UP OFFENSE CROWN
DEC 7 (Philadelphia) - The Chicago Bears and Los Angeles Rams settle their Western Division title argument on separate fields this Sunday, but the Bears have already taken a stranglehold on the statistical battle. The Rams jumped from fourth to second place in total yards gained after last week's action, but they still trail the Bears by 330 yards, NFL statistics showed Wednesday. The chances of the Rams gaining 330 yards more against the Packers than the Bears do against the Eagles are remote. The Los Angeles club rolled up 418 yards on the ground and in the air against Baltimore, while the Bears were piling up 203 against the Lions. The totals are the Bears, 4,024 to 3,694 for the Californians. Cleveland, winner of the Eastern Division title, is the third place club, Detroit fourth and Pittsburgh fifth. Barring an oversized splurge by the Browns, the statistical title appears rest in the Rams-Bear games. The Bears also are on top as rushing yardage leaders, with a total of 2,174 to the Browns' 1,929. Los Angeles, Washington and Green Bay trail in that order. In the passing department, the Steelers and Eagles are waging a nip-and-tuck affair for the statistical title. The Steelers have a 37-yard edge, 2,273 to the Eagles' 2,236. Detroit, Los Angeles and Chicago follow. Cleveland's passing efficiency leadership, mainly the work of Otto Grahan, dipped one percent, but is still four percent better at 56 than Baltimore with 52 percent completions. Detroit, Los Angeles and San Francisco are next in line.