Packers Tour Showcases Relationship Between Team, Fans

Source:  Nate Woelfel, Sheboygan Press Media

It’s hard to find a relationship quite like the one between the Green Bay Packers and their fans.

That bond was on full display Saturday as the 10th annual Packers Tailgate Tour made a stop in Sheboygan at the Grand Ballroom at Blue Harbor Resort.

The tour, which also made stops in locations across the state throughout the last week, featured current Packers Andrew Quarless, Micah Hyde and Casey Hayward as well as alumni Gilbert Brown, Antonio Freeman, Jerry Kramer, Dave Robinson as well as Sheboygan native Bill Schroeder.

“I’ve been raised, as a kid out of Sheboygan, to try to give back … always give back to the community and that’s one thing I’ve done,” Schroeder said. “The people of Sheboygan have always welcomed me coming back and the Packers that come to town. It’s a phenomenal state, a phenomenal city and I was so happy I could finish the tour off here in Sheboygan.”

One aspect of the tour stands as Schroeder’s favorite.

“Meeting all the people. Hearing all the stories they have to tell us.”

While the event also featured food and music, there was no doubt that the players were the stars of the show.

“I’m looking forward to meeting them and getting autographs from them,” 10-year-old Aaron Gebert of Sheboygan Falls said. “It’s been really fun today.”

Players took part in a question and answer session along with Packers President and CEO Mark Murphy. A few fans who took to the mic didn’t even have a question, they simply wanted to take a moment to say thanks.

“Anytime we come back to the state our fans feel just as privileged as we feel to interact with one another,” Freeman said. “When you have the kind of mutual respect and love and admiration from our fans, it makes our job a lot easier. Lining up in there and having 7, 800 people in there to sign autographs for, when you know it really means something to our fans, that’s when it means the most to us.”

Fans ventured to Sheboygan from far and wide to get the chance to ask a question or get an autograph from a Packers player. Bob and Eugenia Costello came from Crown Point, Ind. to partake in the festivities.

“I’ve been a Packer fan since the Lombardi days,” Bob said. “This is the third tailgate we’ve been to.”

For Eugenia, her first trip to Lambeau Field sealed her choice to become a fan of the Packers.

“I got christened into it, a trip to Lambeau and that was it,” she said. “Actually we live in Bear country, 30 miles south of Chicago. I went to the old stadium, the green and the yellow. After that visit, that was it. I was a Packer fan.”

Packer players and fans share views on mutual respect of each other during a Tailgate Tour stop in Sheboygan. Produced by Gary C. Klein/Sheboygan Press Media

For the pair, Saturday’s event provided the chance to meet some new players in a relaxed environment.

“You get an insight to what these guys are like outside of football,” Bob said. “It’s nice to see how they joke and have fun.”

All of the proceeds from the event went to Make-A-Wish Wisconsin, an organization dedicated to granting the wishes of seriously ill children.

Not only do the Packers donate all proceeds from the Tailgate Tour stops to non-profit organizations, they also host Make-A-Wish kids before almost every home game. The kids get a chance to interact with players and receive a full tour of the facility as well as personalized gifts from the team.

“The Packers will just do anything they can to make these children feel so really special,” Forrest Doolen, public relations manager of Make-A-Wish Wisconsin said. “So we’re really proud to have the Green Bay Packers here in Wisconsin. As an organization like Make-A-Wish, it’s been an incredible, wonderful experience.”

Some, like Todd Olson of La Crosse, are drawn to these events because they help worthy organizations.

“One, you get to see some the Packers, talk to them, meet them, listen to them,” Olson said. “It’s also fun because you know there’s a non-profit that’s making profit to do what they do. They benefit from it as well as the people who show up.”

Paul’s Reflections on Packer Season and 2013 Draft

by Paul Guillemette

Before I get totally immersed in DRAFT information, including, but not limited to, the upcoming NFL COMBINE I thought it might be a good time to drop a few tidbits of information and opinion on the PACKERS off-season.

I can assure you that TED THOMPSON and his staff are involved up to their eyeballs when it comes to the off season scouting process in preparation for the 2013 NFL DRAFT which is the lifeblood of this organization under the guidance of the Thompson  administration. Want some further proof of that statement look no further than the current official PACKERS roster posted at their official website . Taking away the announced retirements of DRIVER & SATURDAY the roster stands at 69 players right now. Of those 69, 36 are original Draftees of the PACKERS.

But for THOMPSON the 7 Round Draft is just part 1 of the annual talent acquisition process. The other part tales place (legally speaking) a second after the final pick of each Draft concludes. That is when all teams hop on the phones and try to sign the highest ranked, or most interesting players not Drafted, but classified as having that something special that Green Bay is looking for. Anther 10 layers on the current roster were signed as Undrafted Rookie Free Agents by the Green & Gold.

It should also be noted that the PACKERS scouting personnel don’t always get everyone they are interested in to sign those URFA contracts. So they keep a list of players they wanted but could not sign. Then the Pro Personnel staff scouts these and other players during Training Camp as they attempt to make other rosters around the League. Every season a few of the ones that got away, get cut and are signed by the PACK. Another 18 players on today’s roster originally joined other teams as URFA, but were picked up by the PACKERS when they were released by said teams.

That means that out of 69 total players on the current roster 28 came into the NFL as undrafted players. Besides the PACKERS ability to find talent, one of the major tenets within the organization is that TED THOMPSON must have a coaching staff that prides itself on teaching and developing young players into NFL caliber veterans. Other than “stars” like RODGERS & MATTHEWS, there isn’t much talent differential at roster spots 20-50 for most NFL teams. It is more often than not the ability of coaches to teach and develop  players within a team’s schemes that leads to a deep and productive roster.


The PACKERS are adjusting to the loss of one of TED THOMPSON’s right hand men again with the departure of JOHN DORSEY to the GM’s job in Kansas City. Last year it was the departure of REGGIE McKENZIE to take over the reigns in Oakland. DORSEY was already back in Green Bay when THOMPSON was hired away from Seattle and has been the leader of the PACKERS college scouting efforts over the past decade. Consensus around the League is that DORSEY is overdue in getting a GM position. The move made great sense for DORSE to leave Green Bay now that his two oldest boys are out of school. And it’s not too shabby since his current wife, Patricia, still works for a law firm there and has family ties as well.

I grabbed TED for a quick moment in the hotel lobby in Mobile and spoke with him about DORSEY’s loss. He expressed his happiness for John’s situation, and when I said it looked like extra grinding for him and his remaining staff, he said “We’re prepared. It’s what we do.”

And it is indeed what they do. I saw THOMPSON from the first day I set foot on a practice field back at the SHRINE Week, on Monday, January 14th, and he was still stalking the fields on Friday, January 25th in Mobile. I did not see him during the Senior Bowl game, but I would not assume he wasn’t still there somewhere. I also got confirmation from sources in Allen, TX that he was front and center at the TEXAS V. NATION weigh-in on Monday, January 28th. He doesn’t just send his staff out to scout, folks, he’s there himself with a hawk’s eye view of the proceedings.

The apple truly does not fall far from the tree. While in Mobile the only game execs I saw still scouting on the practice field that Thursday, other than LIONS and RAIDERS, were TED THOMPSON and JOHN DORSEY. They stood at opposite ends of the field still taking mental and written notes on what they saw.


So what do we think WHITEY is looking for in this Draft Class? He’ll recite to you his standard mantra of Best Available Player, at a position of need, all other things being equal. But as I have written about for over two months now do not be surprised if WR is a high priority for the team in April. Anyone doubt me any more on my  prediction that both DRIVER & JENNINGS will not be on the Green Bay roster in 2013? I got some strange looks from some of my Draftnik colleagues in both St. Pete and Mobile when uttering those assertions last month. Their standard response to me was that they still had COBB, NELSON & JONES at WR, as well as FINLEY at TE. I agreed but pointed out that 4 receivers is not enough for a MIKE McCARTHY Offense, and that at any given time during the past season 1 or 2 of those players were injured and inactive for games.  I am not predicting a reach on THOMPSON’s part come Draft week, but if a highly ranked WR is still on their Draft Board at Pick 26 I don’t think they would hesitate one second to pull the trigger.

At the top of my wish list for them is DeANDRE HOPKINS/WR/CLEMSON/Jr. He’s a big play receiver with great hand/eye coordination, and would fit a lot of what the PACKERS Offense likes to do. We’ll check his numbers in Indy later this month, but the back-up Point Guard on the Clemson basketball team is the kind of combination athlete/player that WHITEY usually covets.


On another note, I hear an awful lot of folks clamoring for OL help in this next Draft to better protect the Franchise: AARON RODGERS. He does need better protection, but consider this scenario if you will. If the football injury gods choose to smile on the PACKERS in 2103 they could be stacked at OT, where most people think they are hurting. BRYAN BULAGA, DEREK SHERROD, ANDREW DATKO are all hoping to be back 100% for next season. That could allow for NEWHOUSE and BARCLAY to compete at both OG &  OT. The only weak spot could be at OC, where I think the jury is still out on EVAN DIETRICH-SMITH as a starter. This could allow the team to select an OC in the middle rounds come April.

By the way, as of right now, the PACKERS have 7 Picks for the next DRAFT, their original Picks in all seven rounds.


I think most PACKER-backers would agree that 2012 was a very frustrating and disappointing season for the teams Defense again. DC DOM CAPERS seemed unable to dial up much magic to get his troops off the field on 3rd Down most of the time. Check the film if you are a details nut, and you will find the team spent an awful lot of time in 2-4-5 defensive alignments. After 1st down, the Defense is not a 3-4 scheme at all any more.

In a most interesting interview after the Play-Off loss to the Niners, DL Coach MIKE TRGOVAC spoke to J.S. beat writer TOM SILVERSTEIN about his charges and admitted that he feels the PACKERS down-lineman have a serious lack of  “length” to work with in blocking passing and sight lanes of opposing QBs. To be honest I hadn’t given that a whole lot of thought until he brought it up, but sure enough a look at their current roster reveals a serious lack of height along the DL.Green Bay’s tallest two defensive linemen, C.J. WILSON & MIKE NEAL, stand 6’3” tall. Everyone else is either 6’0, 6’1 or 6’2. None of these guys is going to tower over the people blocking them. It’s not just height, since arm length can be a major factor in the equation, but the two often do go together in a person.

Will the team try to address this “need” as opined by TRGOVAC? Would CAPERS find a way to utilize taller/longer players? I’m not sure how much help it might really amount to if 2-an lines continue to be the soup of the day on Sundays in the Fall. Will TRGOVAC be coaching elsewhere for offering up the observation? Can’t say I have the answer here, but I for one will be watching to see how this plays out… if it does at all.


Now for my last current player observation point at this time… look for the team to get younger again this off-season. DRIVER (38) and JENNINGS (30 to be), won’t be the only 30 and over players to walk the PACKERS plank, so to speak. I would suspect that the Salary Cap and some disappointing on-the-field results will lead to the purging of some other current roster residents by Draft time. Here is my short list of vets who may not wear the Green & Gold much longer:




Not a very long list is it? But there may be a few surprise names unless some contract concessions can be worked out. This group will also depend greatly on how certain players are progressing back from surgery/injury issues.

A.J. HAWK, could be in trouble if the team thinks both BISHOP & SMITH will be back 100% healthy at ILB for next season. He’s already working on a reduce dollar contract. Would he accept another pay cut?

JOHN KUHN/FB, got a big contract just a couple of years ago, and though he’s a fan & team favorite he makes way too much $ for his role on the team.

JARRETT BUSH/DB/ST   The PACKERS seemed to acknowledge that he can’t actually play in the secondary and cover anyone & phased out his playing time as the season wore on. So he became purely a Special Teamer by season’s end. The problem is that he’s a 7-year vet and guys like that make minimum of almost $1million. That can buy you  2 /12 Rookies.

That’s it for now PACKERS fans. Time to get on track with TED THOMPSON and start the impossible task of trying to figure out how MR. COVERT is developing his 2013 DRAFT strategy.


Pigskin Paul covers many other aspects of the NFL, and you can read more on his blog at



Packers vs. 49ers Pre-Playoff Game Thoughts

by Brad Manock


This Saturday night the Green Bay Packers travel to San Francisco for a week one rematch against the 49ers to determine who gets to advance to the NFC championship game. Both teams are quite a bit different since their first meeting of the season. Green Bay seems to have gotten back to their 2010 mindset as an underdog after many thought they would end up being a dynasty. The 49ers on the other hand could be a contender for years to come if their new quarterback plays consistently at the high level that he has. Most Packers fans are rooting for a Seattle @ Green Bay NFC championship game to be set up when the weekend is over but this week’s game won’t be easy.



Packers Offense Vs. 49ers Defense

This phase should be quite a clash. This is the same 49ers defense that defeated New England on the road not too long ago. The 49ers seem to do well against offenses that pass a lot rather then run the ball. The Packers on the other hand have all of their big play makers back on offense, though still not much of a running game. Despite all of the big stars and play makers, this phase of the game will be decided on the line. If the 49ers can pressure Aaron Rodgers, the Packers will be quite helpless; if the Packers offensive line can allow time to deliver accurate passes then the defense will be in serious trouble. The amount of strategy that will go into this phase is mind-blowing. The 49ers have been preparing for their game against Green Bay since the start of their bye week since they correctly guessed their opponent. The 49ers bet paid off and they were already presumably quite prepared before this matchup was even set. The Packers should do alright strategically since the 49ers are a very similar built team to the Vikings. Overall, this phase goes to the 49ers. The Packers offense is very good but I do not think they will light up the 3rd ranked defense on the road.


49ers Offense Vs. Packers Defense

This phase will be interesting; someone will have to step up in this phase. The 49ers have a young quarterback that has had two weeks to prepare for this Green Bay defense, rather that time was spent becoming nervous or confidant will be a huge factor in this phase. The Packers defense has become respectable in the course of the season. Last week they shut down a team with a great running back and a scrambling quarterback, this week should not be too much different in terms of strategy. If this Packer defense can shut down the option plays they will be just fine. Overall, this phase goes to the Packers; the defense is now a real threat to opponents. The Packers defense should get at least three take-aways in this game.


Special Teams

There could be a big return on special teams this week. The 49ers are next to last in terms of kickoff coverage and the Packers are a modest 10th in kickoff return yardage. Their could be some trouble in the field goal department for both teams since the Packers are in last place and the 49ers are 2nd to last place for field goal percentage. Green bay has made just 63.6% of field goals while San Francisco has made 69.0% of total field goal attempts in 2012. The advantage in this phase goes to the 49ers just because of the kicking power of David Akers, the same guy who made that 63 yarder in the first game against the Packers.

Predicted Outcome:       GB: 21                  SF: 14

The 49ers offense will get a couple of big plays to go for touchdowns; however I can see them having a few turnovers which would give a short field to the Packers offense. The 49ers will be very tough but when they do make mistakes the Packers will jump on it and make the most of it. Points off of turnovers will win the game for the Packers this week.

Every Possible NFC Playoff Game for the Green Bay Packers

by Brad Manock

With one week left to go in the regular season NFL fans are looking at who is going to be in the playoffs and the seeding that each playoff team will receive. I thought I would write up an article that would simplify the playoff picture for those Packer fans that might be a bit confused by the whole thing. This article shows every possible post-season matchup excluding possible Super Bowls, which the Packers might play. The playoffs will feature six NFC teams ranked from one to six. The top two teams do not have to play a “wild card” game, the top two teams will be two wins away from the Super Bowl while the three-six place teams must win three games to go to the Super Bowl. The Green Bay Packers will either be the two or three seed in the playoffs this year depending on the outcome of the last week of the regular season.







Possible Game:            Vikings @ Packers

Possible Rounds:         Wild Card

This scenario is fairly simple. The Packers travel to Minnesota during the last week of the regular season. If the Vikings can win that game it will guarantee a rematch the following week in Green Bay for the wild card playoffs.


Possible Game:            Giants @ Packers

Possible Rounds:         NFC Championship

Luckily this is by far the most unlikely matchup in this article since the Giants need a ton of help just to get the No. 6 seed. Lately the Giants have been the kryptonite for the Packers so hopefully this matchup will not occur. Even if everything falls into place for the Giants it will not be mathematically possible for the Giants and Packers to meet before the NFC Championship game due to the fact that the Packers must win this week for the Giants to remain alive in the playoff race.


Possible Matchup:       49ers @ Packers          or         Packers @ 49ers

Possible Rounds:         Divisional or NFC Championship

This matchup could happen in several different ways. In the likely event that these teams have the two and three seeds in the playoffs they would meet in the divisional round assuming that the three seed wins their wildcard game. The NFC Championship scenario is a little screwier then that. If the 49ers lose to the Cardinals this week and the Seahawks beat the Rams the 49ers will drop all the way down to the five seed. If the Packers lose this week and stay as a three seed, these teams will each need to win two games to meet in the NFC Championship.


Possible Matchup:       Redskins @ Packers

Possible Rounds:         Divisional or NFC Championship

If the Redskins lose during the last week of the regular season then the Packers must win their game for the Redskins to remain alive in the playoffs therefore it is not possible for these teams to meet in the wildcard round.


Possible Matchup:       Cowboys @ Packers

Possible Rounds:         Divisional or NFC Championship

This scenario would be very similar to the scenario involving the Redskins except for the fact that the Cowboys cannot be in the playoffs if they lose this week. For the Cowboys it will either be the four seed or nothing at all.


Possible Matchup:       Bears @ Packers

Possible Rounds:         Wild Card or NFC Championship

The Bears do not have much of a shot at the playoffs this year. They must win their game plus they need the Packers to beat the Vikings to make it to the playoffs, or at least for the Packers to not lose. It is theoretically possible for this matchup to happen in the Wild Card round but that scenario would require a tie game to occur during the Packers @ Vikings game this week along with a 49ers win.


Possible Matchup:       Seahawks @ Packers              or         Packers @ Seahawks

Possible Rounds:         Divisional or NFC Championship

This matchup has several interesting possibilities. At this time the Seahawks are still mathematically alive to get the two seed and a first round bye in the playoffs. If the Seahawks win, the 49ers lose, and the Packers lose the Seahawks will be the two seed. This would be a very interesting game since the previous matchup was so controversial. If everything falls into place for the Seahawks and the Packers win their wild card game, then the Packers would go to Seattle for a “fail mary game” rematch.


Possible Matchup: Packers @ Falcons

Possible Rounds: NFC Championship

This scenario is pretty straight forward, if the Packers win either one or two playoff games and the Falcons can win their divisional playoff game they will clash in the NFC Championship.


This year’s playoffs will be exciting. There is no real favorite to win the NFC this year since the Falcons tend to choke in the playoffs and the 49ers have been an inconsistent team with a QB controversy. The Packers were looking like a huge disappointment earlier in the year at (2-3) but now they have a ton of momentum going their way and they are very real contenders.