Packers add muscle in trenches, versatile back to '29 squad

"I've always been a perfectionist." - CL

[September 9, 1929]

After finished a disappointing fourth with just six wins to four losses and three ties, Green Bay Packers founder-player-coach Curley Lambeau took a bold approach to solidifying his 1929 squad. Speaking with Lambeau on the steam-train-ride home from the NFL summer meetings, he told me about his plans to clean house and sign some talented free agents, ensuring the small-town Packers remain in the hunt for their first NFL title.

"I've always been a perfectionist," said Lambeau. "We've shown other clubs, I think, that we are not a weak sister. And we need to show them that we don't talk this game here, but (have them) come out to see it."

"We will score plenty of points," continued Lambeau, grinning and watching the passing country-side. "But our defense will be the key to unlocking our true potential, and bringing a championship back to the good people of Packersland."

The grin was replaced by a more serious, contemplative face, and he nodded slowly. "Yes, yes we will."

In 1928 Green Bay barely edged the Bears in the standings, finishing fifth in team offense (averaging 9.23 points over 13 games). That won't cut it, says Lambeau, who prioritized beefing up his line during the summer.

According to Lambeau, increased season ticket sales have made these roster moves possible. "The good people of Green Bay continued supporting us, even after four losses and three ties," Lambeau told the team's executive committee in August. "And now we will give them the team they deserve. I just know the whole town is behind us in spirit."

While the Giants added plenty of new talent with the acquisition of the entire Detroit Wolverines roster, Curley plucked talented line-man Cal Hubbard from the Giants. The beastly tackle/end stands six-feet five inches and tips the scales at an unimaginable 250 pounds! Huzzah! Let us hope he does not maul an opponent to instant-death by crushing!

Curley also signed some muscle for the interior line, convincing guard Mike Michalske to leave the defunct Yankees for the small-town atmosphere of Green Bay. The shy and savage veteran will anchor the Packers line with the quiet strength of an old pine tree on both offense and defense, no doubt.

With the line-play vastly improved by these two excellent players, Curley added one more versatile weapon with powerful ability inside and dangerous speed on the perimeter. Packers fanatics will surely remember Johnny "Blood" McNally, who scored two touch-downs (one pass reception and one interception returned for a touch-down) during the embarrassing 26-0 loss against the Pottsville Maroons during the 1928 season. Blood also added an extra-point kick for 13 total points in a game played during a blinding snow-storm.

Lambeau told me he would never forget the performance, and that he was thrilled to have Blood in his huddle this season, "even if he is a notorious rascal, and a talented damned rascal at that!"

"McNally asked for $100 per game, which was a steal," said Lambeau as our train pulled into Green Bay last night. "So I offered him $110 if he would refrain from drinking after Tuesday each week." He chuckled heartily. "Blood said $100 would do just fine."

Until next time, then.