A little late, but here it is.....|
"Green Bay update, Friday 9/18"
by Jeff Ash
September 18, 1998
Greetings from Green Bay on another clear, calm, warm late-summer
day. This has been one of the most delightful summers ever,
reminiscent of the summer of '85, when it was sunny most days with
light rain only at night to keep everything green. This year is quite a
bit drier, though.
-- The Packers (2-0) play the Bengals (1-1) at Cinergy Field in
Cincinnati at noon Sunday, with the Greater Cincinnati Packer
Backers Club out in force. We were invited to join their group, but it
just didn't work out for us. Have a cold one and a warm brat for us,
-- Last week, the Packers beat the Buccaneers 23-15 at Lambeau
Field. More on that later.
-- Sunday's game is a regional Fox telecast, with Tim Ryan, Bill
Maas, and Ronnie Lott on the call. Hmmm. Might be a day to turn
off the TV sound and listen to Jim, Max and Larry as the farewell
tour for Jim and Max continues.
Here's the early forecast from Keith, our veteran Update
meteorologist in Norman, Okla.: Different city, same weather.
Mostly sunny, warm and humid. High in the mid 80s. Southwest
wind 10 mph. For an updated forecast, check Keith's web site at
And, of course, Keith's putrid poetry on the game:
Into the doghouse he's shooed,
Whenever the ball comes unglued;
His spirit is vervy,
And path of'en swervy,
He's Green Bay's surfer dude.
-- There really is only 1 story this week: RB Dorsey Levens' injury.
He broke the fibula, the small bone in the leg, just below the right
knee and badly sprained his right ankle when his leg was rolled
under him on a tackle by Bucs LB Derrick Brooks in the 4th quarter
of Sunday's game. He had surgery Wednesday to put a screw into
the ankle to hold the bones together facilitate healing of the
No one is certain how long Levens will be out. The Packers originally
said 6 weeks, but that clearly is optimistic. The Milwaukee Journal
Sentinel talked to the San Jose Sharks' team doctor, who said it
likely could be 6 weeks for the ankle ligaments alone, then at least
2 more weeks to get in shape in a best-case scenario. It could be up
to 3 months, meaning Levens wouldn't be back until mid-December.
A quote from coach Mike Holmgren: "We feel he's going to be back
and be a very vital part of our season, near the end of the season,
as it looks now, and I believe that's the way it's going to be."
-- So who will replace Levens at RB? This week, it looks like
Raymont Harris. He looked good in practice Wednesday, without the
limp he'd had in the previous 2 weeks, when he was left inactive on
game day. Travis Jervey is resting a sore hamstring, but don't rule
him out, either.
Sounds as if it'll be a game-day decision, but the coaches clearly
would be more comfortable with the veteran Harris. They wouldn't
have to change as much of the offensive scheme with him, but
Jervey is better at picking up blitzes and blocking accordingly. The
Packers expect to see lots of blitzes from the Bengals. Don't be
surprised to see both of them Sunday, with FB William Henderson
carrying the ball a little more than usual. That's the same approach
the Packers used in 1996 with Henderson, Edgar Bennett and a guy
who came on late in the season. Around December. A guy named
Levens. On the way to Super Bowl XXXI.
-- GM Ron Wolf is insisting that because the Packers have Harris,
they have no interest in any of the free-agent RBs. Among the
veterans out there are Terry Kirby, Rodney Hampton, Leeland
McElroy and Craig "Ironhead" Heyward.
-- The Packers have a roster spot open because LB Antonio London
is on injured reserve. He tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his
left knee in practice a week ago, will need surgery and will miss the
rest of the season. The Packers were bummed because London had
played well as a spot pass rusher and on special teams. His absence
means more playing time for Keith McKenzie, who had a big game
against the Bucs, and rookie Jude Waddy on special teams. The
Packers say they have no interest in adding a free-agent LB, such as
former Packers LB Ron Cox, Quentin Coryatt or Darion Conner.
Coryatt had shoulder surgery this week and likely will miss the
-- Looks as if Derrick Mayes and Bill Schroeder are about even as the
No. 3 WR. When Mayes blew an assignment against the Bucs,
Schroeder went in. Holmgren downplayed that, calling them "3A and
3B," with the edge to Mayes. Regardless, Mayes is a little touchy
about it, and doesn't want to discuss it.
-- The rebuilding of QB Rick Mirer is starting with his footwork as he
drops back to pass. In the Packers' offense, you have to do so a
certain way, given the route being run by the receivers. He spent his
1st week in the classroom, learning the offense.
-- Only 2 games into the season, the Packers are showing their
usual paranoia over injuries. When QB Brett Favre was being treated
for a shot to the ribs during the Lions game, they had guys standing
around him on the sideline, holding towels to prevent TV cameras
and anyone else from getting a peek at what was going on. Ditto for
the Bucs game and Levens' injury. Now, the players are forbidden to
talk about injuries, even their own. A quote from TE Mark Chmura,
who has a sore right Achilles tendon but will play Sunday: "I can't
say anything, I'm under strict orders not to talk about it. I'm just
-- They can, however, talk about old injuries, and DE Reggie White
confessed Wednesday that he was sicker than anyone would admit
last year. We knew he had a bad back and pneumonia. We didn't
know he had a low white blood cell count and a rare lung disease
called sarcoidosis. The latter forms lumps in the lungs and causes
breathing problems. No one knows what causes it, and there's no
cure, but it often goes away and the person returns to normal, as
did White. It usually affects people ages 20 to 50 and more so
-- White hasn't completely ruled out returning next year. A quote
from him: "My mind is made up that this is my last year. But my
mind was made up after the Super Bowl. If God leaves me alone,
yes, this will be it."
-- LB Jim Nelson is back with the Packers, joining the practice
squad. Nelson, who wears No. 50, is a 6-1, 235-pounder out of Penn
State. He was let go in the 1st round of cuts in training camp. He
replaces CB Anthony Bass, who was waived after only a week.
-- The Packers waived DT Dexter Nottage off injured reserve after
reaching an injury settlement with him. Nottage injured a knee
during training camp.
-- CB Tyrone Williams will be looking for big money when his
contract expires in February, and has his eye on the 5-year, $17.2
million deal the Bucs gave to CB Donnie Abraham. A quote from
Williams: "Ain't nobody better than me in my (draft) year. ...
Probably 4 or 5 years is what I'm looking for." Williams' agent
expects to start talks this fall, and Wolf says the Packers would like
to sign Williams to a long-term deal.
-- The Packers have contacted the agents of Chmura and DT
Santana Dotson to start talks on extending their contracts. Other
players are likely to follow, particularly Henderson, WR Antonio
Freeman, RT Earl Dotson, LB George Koonce and RG Adam
Timmerman. The Packers are $1.78 million under the salary cap, and
can re-work others' deals, so some extensions could come yet this
season. Santana Dotson has hired former Packers DE Sean Jones as
his agent, so Jones has been around town quite a bit this season.
-- The Packers' share of the new Cleveland Browns' franchise fee will
be about $17 million. The Packers have talked about expanding
Lambeau Field by about 5,000 seats to about 66,000, but team
president Bob Harlan hinted last week that isn't a done deal,
especially now that Detroit and Denver are going to have smaller
stadiums. A quote from Harlan: "Detroit is going from 80,000 to
65,000 and the Broncos are going from 80,000 to about 72,000. All
at once our stadium size doesn't look all that bad."
-- Speaking of the Browns, because former 49ers president Carmen
Policy is their new president, there is speculation that Holmgren
might go there as coach and GM. For what it's worth, Policy said last
week that the Browns prefer to keep those jobs separate. Never say
never. The new Browns might be a contender immediately, because
they'll be allowed to spend plenty in the free-agent market and will
have lots of extra draft choices.
If Holmgren leaves after this year, the Packers will get a No. 2 draft
pick as compensation, according to a "well-placed source within the
NFL" quoted by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. It won't come from
the Browns, though. Their deal with the NFL says they can't use
draft picks to compensate other teams for hiring a coach. But don't
rule out the Browns because of that. Policy is terrific at finding ways
to accomplish what he wants.
-- Favre is on a Wheaties box being sold in Wisconsin and parts of
-- If you're coming to the Monday night game against the Vikings on
Oct. 5, it's the annual Packers wives' food drive. They'll accept cash
donations and non-perishable food items in the Lambeau Field
parking lot before the game.
Now, finally, a little about the Bucs game, played before 60,124 on
another warm day:
Tampa Bay 0 0 0 15 -- 15
Green Bay 10 6 0 7 -- 23
Green Bay -- Ryan Longwell, FG, 38-yard field goal, 10 minutes left.
Green Bay -- Tyrone Davis, 10, pass from Favre (Longwell kick), 7:20
Green Bay -- Longwell, FG, 27, 7:51
Green Bay -- Longwell, FG, 20, 0:00
Green Bay -- Freeman, 38, pass from Favre (Longwell kick), 13:42
Tampa Bay -- Jacquez Green, 95, punt return (Patrick Hape, pass
from Trent Dilfer), 6:03
Tampa Bay -- Dave Moore, 2, pass from Dilfer (Michael Husted kick),
For more complete coverage and statistics, check the usual sites
-- The defense continues to play well, especially against the run.
White had 3 sacks, overpowering Bucs RTs Jason Odom and Jerry
Wunsch, and continues to thrive in a rotation that sees McKenzie
and Vaughn Booker fill in on the line. A quote from White: "The way
we're rotating probably is the best thing that's happened to us up
front. One thing I think (is) that I feel comfortable enough in coming
out. I can trust Vaughn to come in and play well. I don't know if I
did that last year with anybody else coming in. But I can trust
Vaughn enough to say, 'OK, Vaughn, come on in' because he'll come
in and do a good job."
NT Gilbert Brown also is healthy, and benefits from spot play by Bob
Kuberski and Booker inside. A quote from Rick Spielman, the Bears'
pro scout: "Green Bay manhandled their people up front."
-- Davis' TD came on a new play, a short route on which he crosses
in front of Chmura to confuse the coverage. Indeed, Bucs LB Derrick
Brooks went the wrong way and Davis was wide open.
-- Another not-so-hot day for special teams, except for Schroeder's
nice leaping catch and dash out of bounds on an onside kick in the
4th quarter. Roell Preston and Mike Prior both muffed punts, causing
turnovers. Someone blew an assignment, so no one helped
Roosevelt Blackmon contain the Bucs' flyers, or downfield coverage
guys, on Preston's muff.
The Packers didn't like giving up Green's TD punt return, but didn't
get too worked up about it. A quote from special teams coach
Johnny Holland: "I wouldn't say we did anything that was really too
bad. The guy got a good running start, one of our cover guys slipped
at the tackling point and a couple other guys missed him." That
aside, the punt and kick coverage was better than against the Lions.
-- Holmgren wasn't pleased to learn after the game that Jervey
wasn't on the field during Green's TD punt return because of a
pulled hamstring. A quote from Holmgren on the day after: "I didn't
know it at the time, and I should. We will clear that up today.
Typically, we have a process for letting me know when guys can no
longer be in the football game. The excuse I'm getting is that at
times I'm unapproachable during the heat of battle." I imagine
getting the matter cleared up was a fairly interesting conversation.
-- Favre took a hard shot from Bucs DE Regan Upshaw, then got up
and good-naturedly got into Upshaw's face. A quote from Favre: "I
think I told him it was a pretty good hit, which it was, and at first it
really didn't hurt. It really never hurt, it just knocked me a little
goofy." Favre also took a couple of hard shots from DT Warren Sapp,
once when Sapp came in without his helmet.
Holmgren wasn't thrilled with that, either. He wants Favre to duck or
throw away the ball rather than getting hit. A quote from Holmgren:
"I had a little moment with him. It's like he wants to win every
battle and loses sight of the war at times. He'll tell me what I want
to hear at that particular moment. We play this little game. I yell at
him a little bit an he says 'Don't worry about it.' It's OK until the
next time. ... There's a little frustration for me."
-- CB Craig Newsome had a little trouble early with the footing, but
changed cleats and was fine after that.
-- The only other injury not mentioned so far: Timmerman
overheated and cramped up in the legs, but he's fine.
-- The Packers' inactive players were Harris, Mirer, C Mike Flanagan,
G Mike Wahle, WR Corey Bradford and DEs Jonathan Brown and Billy
-- The Bucs were really down after the game, sensing that the
Packers might have wanted the game more. A quote from coach
Tony Dungy: "They just played with more determination than we did
today. We're further behind. It's a step backward."
-- Finally, we have the strange story of Dr. Raoul. He was arrested
Sunday in the Bucs' locker room about 2 hours before kickoff. The
FBI is helping local police figure out why Raoul Farhat, 36, of
Clearwater, Fla., was in the locker room, claiming to be a Bucs team
doctor. He's not with us, the Bucs say. Farhat was carrying a
medical bag full of marijuana. Lambeau Field workers later found a
duffel bag with Farhat's passport, credit cards, $3,700 in travelers
checks, a $52,000 cashier's check made out to him, and, oh, yeah,
$112,000 in cash. When Farhat was booked into the Brown County
Jail, they found a disposable camera stuffed down the front of his
pants. The developed film showed an empty stadium. Needless to
say, Farhat is not telling the cops what he is up to. He is being held
on felony burglary charges for stealing a Bucs cap and NFL Game
Day shirt from the locker room, and is due back in court today.
And now, the viewer mail:
-- Mike at RAF Croughton, England, passes word that next week's
Packers-Panthers game is scheduled to be shown live on the Sky
Sports pay satellite network in England and parts of Europe. It
starts at 9 p.m. England time, 10 p.m. continental Europe time.
-- Mark in Lansing, Mich., passes along the latest Packers emoticon:
gg:-) That, of course, is a geeshead.
-- Dylan asks whether Packers games are being aired live on Real
Audio. Not that I am aware of. If you know more, drop me a line.
Others will want to know, too.
-- Barb and Eric are new to Philadelphia and are seeking fellow
Packers fans. They're at firstname.lastname@example.org
-- Dave is new to Atlanta's eastern suburbs and is seeking a place
to watch the games. He's at HILGE001@mail.genmills.com
As always, your questions and comments are welcome at
This week's sources: Green Bay Press-Gazette
Journal Sentinel (http://www.jsonline.com/packer/news/) and
Packers (http://www.packers.com) web pages.
-- This week's adventures with Evan: Our little guy is into big, wet
kisses these days. I can't leave for work without going through a
specific routine: "Dad, I want to give you a big hug, an Eskimo nose
and a big kiss." Then we have to do it once more just to make sure
we have done it right. ... His front teeth appear to be fine after his
wipeout at the playground a couple of weeks ago. Still not perfectly
lined up anymore, but no apparent damage. ... Evan also is getting
much more verbal. Today, he told me: "Dad, the next time we go to
Toys R Us, would you like to look at the Power Wheels with me?" He
then proceeded to tell me that he found a police truck, but that the
lights didn't work because it didn't have a battery, and it didn't have
pedals, either. ... We visited Duluth, Minn., last weekend, and Evan
found lots of stuff he loves. Our hotel was right on Lake Superior
and there are lake freighters to see and a bridge that goes up to let
the boats pass under. He heard boat whistles and train whistles and
even got a short train ride, on which he got to walk all over, even
getting to open the door between cars to see the engine. In the
depot, they had a much-loved Thomas the Tank Engine play set. As
we left our hotel, Evan said to Janet: "Mom, I love the Hampton
We were in Duluth for the North Shore Inline Marathon, a 26.2-mile
race along the Lake Superior shore from Two Harbors southwest to
Duluth. If you are a runner, you may recognize this as the
Grandma's Marathon course. When I left the hotel at 5:15 a.m. to
catch the shuttle bus, I was delighted to find a strong wind off the
lake. Tailwind. The race, my first, was great fun. The last couple of
miles are on the closed I-35 in downtown Duluth, going through 3
tunnels. I finished in 1:46.22, averaging slightly less than 15 mph,
just out of the top third among the 2,540 entrants. Must have been
my bright gold Packers workout shorts. If you are curious, you can
check it out on the Web. They had a live race cam, and you can see
part of me as I approach the finish line. Go to
northshoreinline.com and click on the link to the 1998
race pictures area. Then select the 9:00 batch, then the picture at
09:36:10. That's me in the bright gold shorts at left, just exiting the
picture. Thanks to Mark, who brought the Sunday paper from Duluth
home to Green Bay for me so I could check out the coverage.
As usual, if you wish to show your appreciation for these Packers
updates, volunteer or make a donation to the charity of your choice.
Look for the updates on Fridays at