Green Bay Packers: Clark Hinkle was the Toughest of the Tough

Clark Hinkle

packers.com

The Green Bay Packers won six NFL titles under head coach Curly Lambeau. Those NFL championship teams have been honored by having a number of the players from those teams get inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

That would include Lambeau himself, along with Cal Hubbard, Don Hutson, Johnny “Blood” McNally, Clark Hinkle, Mike Michalske and Arnie Herber.

There should be at least three other players who also played for the Packers in that era who also deserve a bust in Canton. I’m talking about Lavvie Dilweg, Verne Lewellen and Cecil Isbell.

In fact, they all came close to getting in the Hall of Fame recently, as all three were among the 20 finalists for the centennial class in 2020.

I heard all about those players from my dad, as we would be eating dinner talking sports while I was growing up. The Lambeau Packers were the ones my dad grew up watching and by the time he was 18 and serving his country in the Pacific during World War II in the Navy, he had seen the Pack win six NFL titles, including one in person, as he and his dad saw the Packers defeat the New York Giants 27-0 at State Fair Park in West Allis (a Milwaukee suburb) in 1939.

So while I was enamored with the Vince Lombardi Packers in the 1960s and players like Bart Starr, Paul Horning, Jim Taylor, Jerry Kramer, Willie Davis, Ray Nitschke and Herb Adderley, dad made sure that I learned about the earlier version of the Packers under Lambeau.

When I watched the Packers of my childhood, I was in awe of the toughness of players like Taylor and Nitschke and would gush about them to my dad. My father agreed with my assessment, but then told me about the toughest player he ever saw play for the Packers when he was a kid. The player he was talking about was Clark Hinkle.

Hinkle played both fullback and linebacker during his playing days and he was ferocious, both as a runner and a tackler. In addition to that, Hinkle was a fine receiver when called upon, plus could also kick and punt.

But when it came to being just flat out mean and vicious in terms of tenacity, no one could top Hinkle. Not to mention, Hinkle was very talented as well.

The 5’11”, 202-pound Hinkle played much larger than his size. He joined the Packers in 1932 after playing his college football at Bucknell, which was right after the Packers had won three straight NFL titles (before the playoff era started in 1933).

In 10 years in the NFL, Hinkle gained 3,860 yards on the ground. When he retired after the 1941 season, that was the NFL record for rushing yards at the time. Hinkle also scored 35 touchdowns on the ground.

In his career, Hinkle also caught 49 passes for 537 yards and nine more scores. In terms of overall scoring, Hinkle scored 379 points in his career, as he scored 44 touchdowns, kicked 31 extra points and 28 field goals.

Plus just like Lewellen was for the Packers in the 1920s, Hinkle was considered the best punter in the NFL when he played.

Clark Hinkle punting

On defense, opponents of the Packers always kept a close eye on Hinkle, as he would bring the lumber on every play. Ken Strong, who is another Hall of Famer who mostly played with the Giants, said this about Hinkle, “When he hit you, you knew you were hit. Bells rang and you felt it all the way to your toes.”

Hinkle had a great competition with Bronco Nagurski of the Bears, who also played fullback and linebacker. In fact, both Hinkle and Nagurski were selected to the NFL All-Decade team from the 1930s at fullback. They had a number of collisions with each other when they played in the still fierce rivalry between the Packers and da Bears.

Hinkle talked about one of those impacts. “I was carrying the ball and Nagurski charged in to make the tackle. WHAM! We banged into each other. Nagurski had to be removed from the game with a broken nose and two closed eyes. Strangely enough, I suffered no ill effects and was able to continue playing.”

Nagurski certainly respected Hinkle, as he once said, “The toughest man I ever played against.”

In his ten years in the NFL, Hinkle was named first-team All-Pro four times and second-team All-Pro six times. Hinkle also was named to three Pro Bowl teams.

In 1964, which was the second year of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Hinkle joined Lambeau, Hubbard, Hutson and McNally in Canton, as they were part of the inaugural class the year before.

In 1972, Hinkle was enshrined into the Packers Hall of Fame.

There are two practice fields across the street from Lambeau Field, one on each side of the Don Hutson Center. One is Ray Nitschke Field, where the team practices in front of the fans in training camp, while the other is named Clark Hinkle Field, which is the practice field closest to Lambeau.

The names for the practice fields are very apropos. Nitschke was as tough as they came during his era in the NFL.

The same could certainly be said about Hinkle when he played in the NFL.

Only One Player from the Vince Lombardi Green Bay Packers on the NFL 100 All-Time Team? Really???

NFL 100 All-Time Team(1)

I can imagine the response from Vince Lombardi in the spiritual world when he saw the final roster for the NFL 100 All-Time Team.

“What the hell’s going on out here?”

Now I’m sure that Lombardi was pleased that he was included among the coaches who were part of this NFL 100 All-Time Team, but to have only one player from his team when he was head coach of the Green Bay Packers make this illustrious squad, had to be appalling to someone who had as much pride as Lombardi had.

I’m talking about his team in Green Bay (aka Titletown) which won five NFL championships in seven years, which included the first two Super Bowls.

Plus, his teams that won the NFL titles in 1965, 1966 and 1967, became the only franchise to ever win three championships in a row since the playoff era started in the NFL in 1933.

That feat has never been duplicated before or since.

Lombardi’s Green Bay teams were 9-1 in the postseason overall.

Forrest Gregg vs. Deacon Jones

Even with that sparkling track record, only right tackle Forrest Gregg was deemed good enough to make the NFL 100 All-Time Team from those Lombardi teams.

To me, that’s a BIG crock!

Yes, safety Emlen Tunnell was also on the NFL 100 team, but he only played three years under Lombardi in Green Bay and spent the major part (11 years) of his NFL career with the New York Giants.

Now the Packers did get some representation on the all-time team, as Curly Lambeau was also part of the group of coaches.

Plus there were players like Don Hutson, Cal Hubbard, Brett Favre and Reggie White who made the all-time NFL 100.

But you can’t tell me that Bart Starr shouldn’t have been included among the all-time team at quarterback.

Or that Jerry Kramer shouldn’t have been among the group of all-time 100 guards.

Or that Ray Nitschke shouldn’t have been in the group of linebackers who made the NFL 100 team.

Or that Herb Adderley shouldn’t been part of the group of cornerbacks on the all-time 100 team.

I could go on and on.

There is halfback Paul Horning.

There is fullback Jim Taylor.

There is center Jim Ringo.

There is defensive end Willie Davis.

There is defensive tackle Henry Jordan.

There is linebacker Dave Robinson.

There is safety Willie Wood.

There is safety Bobby Dillon.

All of those players are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame for a reason, although it took far too long for some of them to get inducted.

Plus, there are others who played under Lombardi in Green Bay who also most certainly deserve consideration for getting a bust in Canton. I’m talking about wide receiver Boyd Dowler, tight end Ron Kramer and guard Gale Gillingham.

Guard Fuzzy Thurston and kicker/punter Don Chandler also deserve an opportunity to be talked about in the seniors committee room regarding their accomplishments in the NFL.

But for this exercise, I’m just going to focus on why at least Starr, Kramer, Nitschke and Adderley all definitely deserved to be part of the NFL 100 All-Time Team.

Bart's QB sneak behind Jerry

Photo by John Biever

So why does Starr deserve to be on the all-time team? Well, he did lead the Packers to five NFL titles in seven years. No NFL quarterback ever accomplished that type of achievement in a shorter period of time.

No. 15 was also the MVP of both Super Bowl I and Super Bowl II, plus was MVP of the NFL in 1966.

In addition to that, Starr led the NFL passing three times, and is the highest-rated passer of all time (with at least 200 passing attempts) when it counts the most…the NFL postseason. Bart had a 104.6 passer rating, as he threw 15 touchdown passes to just three interceptions in leading the Packers to a 9-1 record in the postseason.

So, how in the hell could Starr be left out of a group of the 10 best quarterbacks of all time? I have no idea, but the fact that he was left out does not bode well for the NFL history education of some of the voters.

The same goes for Kramer. No. 64 was named first-team All-Pro five times and went to three Pro Bowls. Kramer would have won more awards if not for injuries and illness.

Jerry also performed in the big games, much like Starr did. Kramer’s performance in the NFL title games in 1962, 1965 and 1967 put an exclamation point on that criteria.

Jerry was also named to the NFL All-Decade Team in the 1960s, plus was the only guard named to the first team on the NFL 50th Anniversary Team.

But Jerry was left off the NFL 100 All-Time Team. What made that even more outrageous is that two guards who were behind Kramer on the 50th Anniversary Team, Dan Fortmann (second team) and Jim Parker (third team), made the NFL 100 team.

That is a slap in the face to the voters of the NFL 50th Anniversary Team. Voters who actually witnessed the exploits of the players who they voted for. Unlike the voters of today, who seem to think the NFL started in 1980.

Nitschke was also on the first team of the 50th Anniversary Team. No. 66 was also named All-Pro five times, but for some unbelievable reason, was named to just one Pro Bowl squad.

Ray was the face of those great defenses that the Packers had under Phil Bengtson in Green Bay. The Packers were always a Top 10 defense when Bengtson was the defensive coordinator under Lombardi and were Top 5 seven times and were ranked No. 1 twice.

And Nitschke was the leader of that defense, which is why he was named to the NFL All-Decade Team of the 1960s. No. 66 was also named MVP of the 1962 NFL title game.

Ray bloody

But like Starr and Kramer, Nitschke did not make the NFL 100 squad. On the 50th Anniversary Team, Nitschke was first team, while Joe Schmidt was second team, but it was Schmidt who made the 100 team, not Nitschke.

Adderley was also on the 50th Anniversary Team (third team). Dick “Night Train” Lane was first team on that 50 team and was considered the best cornerback of his generation, due to his ball-hawking ability and his tenacious and vicious tackling.

Adderley played a similar style of football and he and Lane were considered high above any cornerbacks in the era in which they played in. Why? They played the pass and run equally well.

Compare that to someone like Deion Sanders, who is on the NFL 100 squad. There is no question that Sanders was the best shut-down cornerback in his day versus the pass, but against the run, Deion often looked like he was looking for a fox hole to dive into, as offensive linemen and running backs were heading his way.

Teams never passed on the side of the field that Sanders occupied, but they almost always ran in his direction.

Anyway, back to Adderley. No. 26 had 48 picks for 1,046 yards and seven touchdowns in his NFL career. 39 of those interceptions came when he was a member of the Packers. All of his touchdowns also came while he played in Green Bay.

Adderley also played on six teams which won NFL titles.

Herb vs. the Colts

Like Starr, Kramer and Nitschke, Adderley was also on the NFL All-Decade Team of the 1960s. No. 26 was named All-Pro four times and went to five Pro Bowls.

No. 26 also came up big in the postseason, as he had five picks, which included a 60-yard interception return for a touchdown versus the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl II.

Bottom line, it’s unfathomable that only one member of those fabulous Vince Lombardi teams put together in Green Bay in the 1960s made the NFL 100 All-Time Team.

It’s actually embarrassing. For some of the voters, that is.

Green Bay Packers: Why Cecil Isbell Deserves Consideration for the Pro Football Hall of Fame

Cecil Isbell Football Card

When I was growing up in the 1960s in Milwaukee, the discussion at the dinner table at our home would almost always be about sports. My dad would give me history lessons on the teams in the state, the Milwaukee Braves, the Wisconsin Badgers and the Green Bay Packers.

Now we also talked about the current teams, as I was a big fan of players like Hank Aaron, Eddie Mathews and Warren Spahn of the Braves, Pat Richter and Ron Vander Kelen of the Badgers, plus Bart Starr, Jim Taylor, Paul Hornung, Boyd Dowler, Willie Davis, Herb Adderley, Jerry Kramer and many others on the Packers.

The Packers received most of the attention at the kitchen table, as there were in the midst of dominating the 1960s like no other team in NFL history had ever done before.

Dad loved telling me about the Packers he grew up watching. He told me stories about Curly Lambeau and all the players who played under him like Lavvie Dilweg, Clark Hinkle, Johnny “Blood” McNally, Cal Hubbard, Verne Lewellen, Arnie Herber, Don Hutson and Cecil Isbell.

Just like I was spoiled watching the Packers win five NFL titles in seven years in the 1960s, which included the first two Super Bowls under head coach Vince Lombardi, my dad saw the Packers win six NFL championships under Lambeau by the time he was 18 years-old, while he was serving his country in the Pacific with the Navy in World War II.

When dad talked about the Lambeau Packers, he almost always told me some Don Hutson stories and the men who threw to No. 14, Herber and Isbell.

Hutson and Herber are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, while Isbell is not. In fact, Isbell is the only NFL All-Decade quarterback (1930s) not in Canton.

To me, the only reason is because his career was so short. Still, the NFL recognized how prolific Isbell was in throwing the football with him just playing two years in the 1930s, that he was named on that All-Decade team at quarterback along with Herber and Earl “Dutch” Clark of the Portsmouth Spartans/Detroit Lions.

The reason why Herber and Isbell got so much attention at quarterback was because of the record-breaking productivity of Hutson at wide receiver. To illustrate that, Hutson led the league in receiving eight times.

Some of that production came when Herber was the quarterback, but a lot of it came from when Isbell played QB.

In fact, for five years, between 1938 and 1942, Isbell would throw half the passes, for half the yardage and half the touchdowns Hutson would have during his 11-year career.

And to put a spotlight on it, Hutson’s two highest reception totals, two of his three highest yardage totals and three of his four highest touchdown totals all came when No. 17 was throwing him the football.

One of my dad’s biggest thrills was being at the 1939 NFL title game at State Fair Park in West Allis (suburb of Milwaukee) with his own dad, when the Packers hosted the New York Giants.

Both Herber and Isbell played quarterback for the Packers in that game and each threw a touchdown pass. Isbell had a perfect 158.3 passer rating in the game. Isbell also rushed for 27 yards.

Cecil Isbell in the 1939 NFL title game at State Fair Park

Cecil Isbell carries the ball for the Packers in the 1939 NFL title game.

My dad and grandpa, along with 32,277 other fans, saw the Packers defeat the G-Men 27-0.

Remember that Isbell made the NFL All-Decade team of the 1930s, even though he was a rookie in 1938 and only played two years in that decade. Why was that? For one thing, he helped lead the Packers into two straight NFL title games at the beginning of his career. Also, it was his record-breaking production at quarterback, as he was throwing the ball more effectively than anyone who had ever played the position.

Plus he seemed to get better each year he played. Over the five years he played in the NFL, Isbell threw 61 touchdown passes versus 52 interceptions for 5,945 yards. That added up to a passer rating of 72.6.

By today’s standards, that doesn’t look like much, but in the 1930s and ’40s in the NFL, that was outstanding.

As an example, let’s compare the numbers of Isbell to those of Hall of Famer Sammy Baugh of the Washington Redskins in his first five years in the NFL. Baugh’s rookie year was in 1937, so this lines up very well in comparison to Isbell.

Baugh threw 41 touchdown passes in his first five years in the NFL (compared to Isbell’s 61), while he also threw 63 picks (compared to Isbell’s 52). That put Slingin’ Sammy’s passer rating at 57.7 his first five years in the league.

In Isbell’s last two years with the Packers, he threw 39 of his career 61 touchdown passes. 27 of those touchdown tosses went to Hutson.

The 24 touchdown passes that Isbell threw in 1942 was a Green Bay record that stood for 41 years with the Packers until Lynn Dickey threw 32 TD passes in 1983.

As Ron Borges noted in his piece on Isbell in the Talk of Fame Network, Isbell played out of this world the last two years of his NFL career.

In 1941, the average NFL quarterback accounted for 6.122 points per game. Isbell accounted for 12 (121 points in 10 games), which put his production 98.99 percent above the norm.

The following season, his last, was even more remarkable. That’s the year he threw a then-record 24 touchdown passes. That season he was 117 percent above the league norm in points accounted for by a quarterback and 62 percent better than the great Sammy Baugh, who passed for 497 fewer yards and eight fewer touchdowns than Isbell that season.

Don Hutson and Cecil Isbell

Don Hutson and Cecil Isbell

After the 1942 season, Isbell retired at the age of 27 to become an assistant coach at his alma mater, Purdue. Isbell made more money at Purdue as a coach than he did in Green Bay as a player with the Packers.

Why was that? Isbell explained it best.

“I hadn’t been up in Green Bay long when I saw Lambeau go around the locker room and tell players like Herber and (Milt) Ganterbein and (Hank) Bruder that they were all done with the Packers,” Isbell said. “I sat there and watched, and then I vowed it never would happen to me. I’d quit before they came around to tell me.’’

Bottom line, Isbell was as good or better than any quarterback who played in his era. As good or better than Herber, Baugh or Sid Luckman of the Chicago Bears.

The Packers certainly recognized that when Isbell was inducted into their Hall of Fame in 1972.

When Ken Stabler was finally and rightfully inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2016, that meant that Isbell is the only NFL All-Decade quarterback not in Canton.

That needs to change at some point.

Green Bay Packers: Why Lavvie Dilweg Deserves to be Considered for the Pro Football Hall of Fame

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Anyone who knows the history of the NFL has heard the names of people like George Halas, Curly Lambeau, Harold “Red” Grange, Jim Thorpe and Ernie Nevers. All of them were part of the NFL All-Decade team of the 1920s.

Yes, Halas and Lambeau were very good football players besides being icons as a head coaches.

That group of players who were inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame were joined by Guy Chamberlin, Ed Healey, Wilbur “Pete” Henry, Cal Hubbard, Steve Owen, Walt Kiesling, Mike Michalske, George Trafton, Jimmy Conzelman, John “Paddy” Driscoll and Joe Guyon.

They were also named to the NFL All-Decade team of the 1920s.

Almost that entire team has a bust of themselves in Canton. All except for two players. One is LaVern “Lavvie” Dilweg (first-team selection) of the Green Bay Packers, and the other is Hunk Anderson (second-team selection) of the Chicago Bears (who played only four years in the NFL).

Dilweg was considered the best two-way end of his day. Yes, many players played both offense and defense back in the day in the NFL. That continued into the 1950s.

When Dilweg played, the ground game was basically the way the game was played in the NFL. Yes, there were many, many instances of “three yards and a cloud of dust” back in the early days of the NFL.

But that style of play served Dilweg well, as he was considered a ferocious blocker, as well as the best receiving end of his day.

His stats aren’t overwhelming by today’s standards, but they were considered the best in the years he played. Dilweg had 123 receptions for 2,069 yards (16.3 yards-per-catch average) and 12 touchdown receptions.

In fact, even though the ball wasn’t thrown often in the NFL back then in what they call the pre-modern era, Dilweg had better numbers than Halas, Chamberlin, Bill Hewitt, Red Badgro, Ray Flaherty and Wayne Millner.

Everyone of those players are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but Dilweg for some reason is not.

The only pre-modern player who Dilweg didn’t outperform at offensive end was a fellow who came to Green Bay the year after Dilweg retired. That would be Don Hutson, who joined the Packers in 1935. Hutson obliterated receiving records once he came into the NFL.

Dilweg started his NFL career with the Milwaukee Badgers in 1926 after graduating from Marquette University with a law degree, and then finished his career with the Packers from 1927 through 1934.

During that time, Dilweg played on three consecutive NFL title teams (1929, 1930 & 1931), plus was named All-Pro six times. There was no Pro Bowl back then.

Of all the players who played offensive end in the NFL, the six times that Dilweg was named All-Pro was the second-best mark in the NFL from 1920 through 1960. Only Hutson topped him with 10 All-Pro honors.

Lavvie Dilweg

Besides being a stud on offense, Dilweg was just as good on defense. No. 22 had 27 career interceptions, two of which were returned for touchdowns. Besides making big plays via the pick, Dilweg was also a fierce tackler.

Grange, who was also known as “The Galloping Ghost” said of Dilweg, “I have always said Dilweg is the greatest end who ever brought me down.’’

After his career with the Packers and the NFL was over, Dilweg became a very successful attorney, as well as becoming a Congressman in the U.S House of Representatives for Wisconsin’s 8th district for two years.

Dilweg’s grandson Anthony played quarterback for the Packers for two seasons in 1989 and 1990.

Dilweg died in St. Petersburg, Florida in 1968 at the age of 64.

Dilweg became a member of the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame in 1970 and now needs to join another prestigious Hall of Fame.

It would be fitting that Dilweg is named to 2020 Pro Football Hall of Fame class, as it is expected that several seniors will be inducted that year, as the NFL celebrates it’s centennial season.

Dilweg was one of the big stars in the NFL almost 100 years ago and he deserves a bust among the best of the best in Canton along with the great players of his day.

I know you wouldn’t get an argument from Red Grange.

Green Bay Packers: Don Hutson was the Babe Ruth of the NFL in his Era

Don Hutson

reddit.com

On February 19, 1935, one year before the NFL draft was established, the Green Bay Packers signed Don Hutson out of the University of Alabama.

The signing did not come without controversy according to a story which has been told for generations. Hutson signed with both the Packers and the Brooklyn Dodgers (then a team in the NFL). League president Joe Carr had to settle the matter and he awarded Hutson to the Packers based on an earlier postmark mailed to his office, which contained Hutson’s contract.

No matter, Hutson was a perfect fit for the Packers. Head coach Curly Lambeau had established the forward pass as a big weapon that the Packers would utilize in a league that relied almost entirely on the running game.

Hutson truly changed the position of wide receiver in the NFL during his era and set records like Babe Ruth did when he was playing major league baseball.

Hutson held 18 NFL records at the time of his retirement, which tells you how dominant he was at his position. Hutson led the league in receiving eight times. In fact, the former Crimson Tide star held the all-time record for TD receptions with 99, before it was finally broken by Steve Largent in 1989. Hutson had 105 TDs overall in his career.

Hutson is third in career team scoring with 823 points.

Hutson was also a two-way player during his time in Green Bay, which was common in the NFL back then. Hutson was also a defensive back and had 30 career interceptions, including one for a touchdown.

Hutson was also a kicker with seven career field goals and 172 extra points made. No. 14 was also exceptional on other units on special teams, as he returned two blocked punts for touchdowns.

Like Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers, Hutson was a multiple award-winner of the NFL’s MVP award, as he won it twice in 1941 and 1942.

I learned about Hutson from my dad at the kitchen table growing up in the 1960s, as he wanted me to learn about the team he grew up watching. While I was enamored with players like Bart Starr, Jim Taylor, Jerry Kramer and Ray Nitschke, my dad grew up loving the play of Hutson, Johnny “Blood” McNally, Cecil Isbell and Clarke Hinkle.

As dominating as the Vince Lombardi Packers were in the 1960s, winning five NFL titles in seven years (including the first two Super Bowls), the Lambeau Packers also won six NFL titles.

The Packers won three of those NFL titles during Hutson’s tenure, winning in 1936, 1939 and 1944.

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Hutson is in the Packers Hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Hutson was All-Pro 11 times and was named to the Pro Bowl four times. The Packers also honored Hutson by retiring his uniform number (No. 14) and by dedicating their state-of-the-art practice facility across from Lambeau Field in 1994 to Hutson’s name.

Green Bay Packers: Why Sterling Sharpe Deserves to be Considered for the Pro Football Hall of Fame

Green Bay Packers vs Pittsburgh Steelers

Donald Driver is the all-time leading receptions leader in Green Bay Packers history. Driver accumulated 743 receptions in 14 seasons. That averages out to about 53 catches per season.

Can you guess who is No. 2 all time in receptions for the Packers?

Don Hutson? No. James Lofton? No. Jordy Nelson? No. Boyd Dowler? No.

The answer is Sterling Sharpe, who had 595 catches in just seven seasons in Green Bay. That averages out to a whopping 85 catches per season.

Driver is also first in pass receiving yardage, as he had 10,137 career yards. That averages out to be about 724 yards per season.

Lofton, who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2003, is next with 9,656 career yards in nine seasons. That averages out to be about 1,073 yards per season.

Sharpe is next with 8,134 career yards. That averages out to be about 1,162 yards per season.

There is no doubt that Sharpe was heading for a place among the best of the best in the Pro Football Hall of Fame before he suffered a career-ending neck injury in 1994, which cut short his career in the NFL.

Early in Sharpe’s career, he and quarterback Don Majkowski were a great tandem, especially in the 1989 season, when Sharpe caught 90 passes for 1,423 yards and 12 touchdowns.

But that was just a precursor until the arrival of quarterback Brett Favre. Once Favre became the starter early in the 1992 season, No. 4 and No. 84 became the dynamic duo.

From 1992 through 1994, Sharpe caught 314 passes (an average of 105 receptions per season) for 3,854 yards (an average of 1,295 yards per season) and 42 touchdowns (an average of 14 TDs per season).

Just imagine the numbers Sharpe would have put up in his career had he not been injured. Plus, also think about the effect he would have had being on the great teams the Packers had from 1995 through 1997, when the Packers won three straight NFC Central titles, went to three straight NFC titles games (winning two) and two straight Super Bowls (winning one).

Sharpe only had one opportunity to play in the postseason, which was in 1993. No. 84 was truly exceptional. In two games, Sharpe had 11 receptions for 229 yards (20.8 average) and four touchdowns.

Football: NFC playoffs. Green Bay Packer

The most memorable reception by Sharpe in that postseason, was when Favre in the last minute of the game vs. the Detroit Lions at the Pontiac Silverdome, threw a bomb across the field to No. 84 for a 40-yard touchdown pass to win the game 28-24.

It’s difficult to fathom just how dangerous the Packers would have been in the passing game from 1995 through 1997 if Sharpe was on the team. Favre won three straight MVPs in those three seasons, but his numbers would have been off the charts with Sharpe as his No. 1 receiver.

As it is, in his short seven-year career from 1988 through 1994, Sharpe was second only to Jerry Rice in receptions and touchdowns. Rice had 620 catches, compared to 595 by Sharpe. Rice also had 91 touchdowns versus the 65 caught by Sharpe.

But it’s also important to note that Sharpe was escalating upward in TD receptions once Favre arrived in 1992. And even with Rice dominating the NFL, Sharpe led the NFL in receptions three times, plus led in touchdown receptions twice.

Sharpe also won the “Triple Crown” in receiving in 1992, by leading the NFL in receptions (108), receiving yards (1,461) and touchdowns (13).

That has only been accomplished by six other players in NFL history. They are Rice, Hutson, Elroy Hirsch, Pete Pihos, Raymond Berry and Steve Smith. All except Smith have a bust in Canton and he just recently retired.

Sharpe was also named to five Pro Bowls, plus was first-team All-Pro three times by the Associated Press.

Had he not been injured, Sharpe would definitely been on the NFL’s All-Decade team in the 1990s. In my opinion, he would have joined Rice on the first team. But because of his injury, Cris Carter joined Rice on the first team, while Michael Irvin and Tim Brown were on the second team.

Rice, Carter, Irvin and Brown are all in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Let’s imagine that Sharpe played only three more years in the NFL had he not been injured in 1994. Based on what he had done in the regular season from 1992-1994 and what he had done in the postseason in 1993, one can certainly envision that the Packers may have been even more successful than winning just one Super Bowl in those three years.

If we take the production of Sharpe while Favre was his QB and add that to his career numbers for three more years, Sharpe would have had 910 career receptions, 12,019 career receiving yards and 107 career TDs.

Plus, just imagine the damage Sharpe would have done in the postseason. The Packers played in nine postseason games from 1995 through 1997. In the 1993 postseason alone, Sharpe averaged 5.5 catches for 115 yards and two touchdowns per game.

Sharpe was one of 102 names on this year’s Pro Football Hall of Fame nominee’s list which was released a couple weeks back. Sharpe deserves to make the first cut to 25 players and then the final cut to 15 players when the the 48-person Hall of Fame selection committee names the Class of 2019 the day before Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta.

Sharpe should definitely be one of the members of the Class of 2019.

The great Gale Sayers is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, even with just a seven-year career in the NFL, which was cut short by a knee injury. The voters knew that Sayers was a special player who was a dominant force on the field when healthy.

2011 Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony

The same holds true with Sharpe, who also just played seven years in the NFL. No. 84 was truly a dominant player in the NFL, plus his career was cut short due to injury while he was in his prime.

I believe it’s time for Sharpe to be on the enshrinement stage in Canton receiving a bust like his brother Shannon did in 2011.

It was Sterling who presented Shannon that day.

In 2019, Shannon can return the favor.

Sharpe will then become the 26th player from the Packers in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, joining the group that recently added Jerry Kramer.

Sharpe will also be joining a couple of players who were on those great Green Bay teams in the 1990s. I’m talking about Favre and Reggie White. Safety LeRoy Butler is also deserving of consideration in Canton and I will write about that at a later time.

The bottom line is that Sharpe was second only to Jerry Rice in terms of production at wide receiver while both were in the NFL together. That has to tell you something, as Rice is considered the greatest wide receiver in modern-day NFL history.

Pre-1950, the greatest receiver ever in the NFL was certainly Hutson.

Like Kramer recently had happen, Hutson has his name on the Lambeau Field facade, which represents all the players from the Packers who are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Sharpe deserves his name up there too.

Green Bay Packers: Getting Into the Pro Football Hall of Fame Has Not Been an Easy Process for Some

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With the induction of Brett Favre to the Class of 2016 for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the Green Bay Packers now have 24 individuals who have busts in Canton.

Those individuals are Curly Lambeau (Class of 1963), Robert “Cal” Hubbard (Class of 1963), Don Hutson (Class of 1963), Johnny “Blood” McNally (Class of 1963), Clarke Hinkle (Class of 1964), Mike Michalske (Class of 1964), Arnie Herber (Class of 1966), Vince Lombardi (Class of 1971), Tony Canadeo (Class of 1974), Jim Taylor (Class of 1976), Forrest Gregg (Class of 1977), Bart Starr (Class of 1977), Ray Nitschke (Class of 1978), Herb Adderley (Classof 1980), Willie Davis (Class of 1981), Jim Ringo (Class of 1981), Paul Hornung (Class of 1986), Willie Wood (Class of 1989), Henry Jordan (Class of 1995), James Lofton (Class of 2003), Reggie White (Class of 2006), Dave Robinson (Class of 2013), Ron Wolf (Class of 2015) and Favre.

In addition, there are five other players who ended up in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and who briefly played for the Packers for a period of time. Those players are Walt Kiesling (Class of 1966), Emlen Tunnell (Class of 1967), Len Ford (Class of 1976), Ted Hendricks (Class of 1990) and Jan Stenerud (Class of 1991).

Only the Chicago Bears have more individuals in Canton now, as da Bears have 27 enshrinees. Following the Bears and the Packers are the Pittsburgh Steelers (21), New York Giants (20), Washington Redskins (19) and Los Angeles Rams (18).

Prior to 1970, there was not a “Finalist” designation like there is now when they vote on a particular class.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame became an entity in 1963. Lambeau, Hubbard, Hutson and McNally were all part of that inaugural class.

Hinkle and Michalske followed in 1964, while Herber joined them in 1966.

Starting in 1970, the Hall started naming “Finalists” to determine the class for that given year.

Some individuals on the Packers made it into Canton on their first try. This would include Lombardi, Gregg, Starr, Nitschke, White, Robinson (senior), Wolf (contributor) and Favre.

For others, it was a little more difficult. Adderley and Lofton were both inducted on their third try. It took four times for Canadeo, Taylor and Jordan (senior) to get enshrined. It took six times for Davis to get a bust, while Ringo had to wait until his seventh attempt to get into the Hall.

Then there are the two double-digit guys. Wood didn’t get into Canton until his 10th try, while Hornung had to wait until his 12th attempt.

Which takes us to Jerry Kramer. No. 64 has been a 10-time finalist, but has never been given his rightful place among the best of the best in pro football for some unfathomable reason. Kramer was a finalist in 1974, 1975, 1976, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1984, 1987 and 1997 (senior).

Maybe the 11th time will be the charm for Kramer, when the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s 48-person Selection Committee votes on the Class of 2018 the day before Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis. But before that can happen, Kramer must first be nominated by the Seniors Selection Committee around the third week in August as one of the two senior nominees.

In an upcoming story, I will put out my presentation for Kramer to that committee, just like I was there in front of them.

Kramer deserves a bust in Canton, just like the 24 other individuals who were associated with the Packers. No. 64 deserves to be No. 25.

I don’t want to give away my entire presentation, but here are just a few reasons why Kramer should be a slam-dunk for enshrinement in Canton.

In 1969, the Pro Football Hall of Fame named their NFL 50th anniversary team. The first team consisted of Jim Thorpe, Johnny Unitas, Jim Brown, Gale Sayers, Elroy “Crazy Legs” Hirsch, Cal Hubbard, Don Hutson, John Mackey, Jerry Kramer, Chuck Bednarik, Gino Marchetti, Leo Nomellini, Ray Nitschke, Dick “Night Train” Lane, Emlen Tunnell and Lou Groza.

Every one of the members on that legendary team are enshrined as players in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. All except one. That would be Jerry Kramer.

Kramer was also named to the NFL All-Decade team for the 1960s.

Looking back on the players who were named All-Decade through the year 2000, there were 145 players who were given that designation.

And up until now, 134 of those players have been inducted into the hallowed halls in Canton.

Kramer is one of those 11 All-Decade players who have not yet received their deserved honor as being a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

In addition to that, dozens and dozens of peers of Kramer, who all have busts in Canton, have endorsed Kramer for enshrinement.

No endorsement was bigger than that of Merlin Olsen, who many consider the best defensive tackle in NFL history, as he was named to 14 Pro Bowl teams and was also named All-Pro nine times.

This is what Olsen said about why Kramer deserves his place among the greats in Canton:

“There is no question in my mind that Jerry Kramer has Hall of Fame credentials. Respect is given grudgingly in the trenches of the NFL and Jerry has earned my respect as we battled eye to eye in the pits on so many long afternoons.

Jerry Kramer belongs in the Hall of Fame and I hope you will put this process in motion by including his name on the ballot for this coming year.”

Vince and Jerry after Super Bowl II

Kramer also shined big in championship games. The Packers won five NFL championships in seven years under Vince Lombardi in the 1960s, but without Kramer’s big contributions in the 1962, 1965 and 1967 NFL title games, that legacy of greatness may not have occurred.

Speaking of Lombardi, he once said this about Kramer in a 1969 article in the Chicago Tribune:

“Jerry Kramer is the best guard in the league,” Lombardi said. “Some say the best in the history of the game.”

Finally, looking back on the Lombardi’s tenure in Green Bay, there are two points which certainly have to be made.

The legendary power sweep was obviously the signature play for the Packers under Lombardi.

Plus, Starr’s quarterback sneak with just seconds remaining in the “Ice Bowl”, had to be the signature moment of the Lombardi legacy.

Kramer played a prominent role in both of those instances.

Bottom line, it’s quite simple. Kramer most definitely deserves to be among the best of the best in Canton, Ohio at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Donald Driver Personified Hard Work as a Member of the Green Bay Packers

Donald Driver 2007 NFC title game

Donald Driver had a 14-year career with the Green Bay Packers and is currently the all-time leader for the team in terms of receptions (743) and receiving yardage (10,137).  Driver was also named to four Pro Bowl teams.

Driver had 61 TD receptions, which is the fourth-best mark in Green Bay history, only behind Don Hutson (99), Sterling Sharpe (65) and Jordy Nelson (63).

The 14 seasons that Driver spent with the Packers only puts him behind notable legends such as Bart Starr (16 seasons), Brett Favre (16 seasons) and Ray Nitschke (15 seasons). Forrest Gregg also spent 14 seasons with the Packers in his career.

That all led to Driver being inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame on Saturday.

But nothing came easy for Driver when he joined the Packers in 1999 as a seventh-round draft pick for the Pack out of Alcorn State when general manager Ron Wolf selected him.

As a rookie, Driver was way down on the pecking order at wide receiver, as Antonio Freeman (74 receptions for 1,054 yards and six TDs), Bill Schroeder (74 receptions for 1,051 yards and five TDs) and Corey Bradford (37 receptions for 637 yards and five TDs) were all above him on the depth chart catches passes from Favre, a three-time NFL MVP.

Driver only had three catches for 31 yards and one touchdown as a rookie.

But Driver kept working hard and he got more opportunities in 2000, as he had 21 receptions for 322 yards and one TD.

But in 2001, Driver took a step back and only had 13 catches for 167 and one TD.

The first three years of Driver’s career in Green Bay weren’t exactly eye-opening.

But that all changed in 2002, when No. 80 worked his way up the depth chart. Driver had 70 receptions for 1,064 yards and nine TDs that season.  Driver also was named to the Pro Bowl squad for the first time.

But then Driver took another step backwards in 2003, as he had only had 52 receptions for 621 yards and two touchdowns. In addition to that, Driver suffered a scary injury against the Minnesota Vikings. But no matter, Driver was both resilient and persistent in becoming a better player.

“I think everything in my career has been truly a blessing,” Driver said Saturday. “I made a way out of no way. I remember 2003, when I fell on my neck against Minnesota, I remember being on a stretcher going through that tunnel, my wife told me that my career was over. She wanted me to retire and put the cleats up. I told her, ‘I don’t think God’s done with us yet. If I can recover from this, let’s just see where God takes us.’ Eleven years later, he took us to places where we never thought we would go. It’s been truly amazing. I can look back and appreciate every opportunity that I’ve had.”

But all his continued hard work paid off, because from 2004 through 2009, Driver averaged 82 catches for 1,141 yards and six touchdowns per season. Driver was also named to two more Pro Bowls during that period.

The 2010 season would be a special one for Driver. Not so much for his production, as he had just 51 receptions for 565 yards and four touchdowns (and another Pro Bowl selection). No, it was because his team was able to win the Super Bowl.

In Super Bowl XLV, Driver was injured early in the game and only had two catches for 28 yards. But even with the disappointment of being injured, Driver cheered on his fellow receivers, as Nelson (nine catches for 140 yards and one TD), Greg Jennings (four catches for 64 yards and two TDs) and James Jones (five catches for 50 yards) put up some big numbers.

Donald Driver Super Bowl XLV

The Packers ended up beating the Pittsburgh Steelers in that game of all games 31-25, behind the MVP performance of quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who threw for 304 yards and three TDs without a pick.

Speaking of the postseason, in his career, Driver had 49 catches for 675 yards and three TDs. One of those touchdowns was when he caught a 90-yard pass from Favre in the 2007 NFC title game against the New York Giants at frigid Lambeau Field.

In his last two seasons with the Packers in 2011 and 2012, Driver had just a combined 45 catches for 522 yards, but did have eight touchdowns.

But all in all, Driver had a tremendous career in Green Bay which eventually put him among the best of the best in Green Bay lore. But when did Driver ever imagine being enshrined in the Packers Hall of Fame?

“I don’t think it ever crossed my mind until the day that I was up for breaking Sterling’s record,” Driver said. “I think that’s when I said, ‘OK, maybe there’s an opportunity for me to be in the Packers Hall of Fame. I remember getting that phone call from Sterling. He said, ‘Listen, if you break my record, you better score a touchdown, because just a catch is not going to do it.’ I remember catching the ball against Detroit and made one move and I thought, ‘Oh, I scored. It’s easy.’ Seven guys hit me and I didn’t score on that play. At that point, I think that’s when I started to think about it. Then I knew I was only 3,000 yards away from breaking James Lofton’s record. At that point, that’s when I started thinking, ‘This could be possible.’

“To be the all-time Packers leading receiver in franchise history, that tells you that you’re among some of the greatest icons and legends that ever played in the Green and Gold. To surpass those individuals is something I’m going to cherish for a long time. The day will come when somebody will break mine. I hope they cherish it as much as I cherished it when I broke theirs.”

When Driver retired from the NFL, I happened to chat with Jerry Kramer, another member of the Packers Hall of Fame and someone who definitely should be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, soon after that occasion. Kramer obviously was impressed with Driver as a person, both on and off the field.

“Donald is an exceptional human being, and obviously a sensational ball player, but he’s also just an awfully nice man,” Kramer said. “He’s well-grounded and he has some character about him, and also some class. Plus I think of grace. Grace off the field, and obviously grace on the field, with the beautiful moves, and the tippy-toes, the great hands and the intelligence to run the route, but there’s a grace, which is the only word I can use to describe his attitude off the field. That’s with the fans and with everyone. He treats everyone with dignity and class.”

Honoring a Green Bay Packers Fan: My Father and My Mentor, Norm Fox

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Norm and Sis Fox on their wedding day on July 8, 1950

***Note: This story was originally published two years ago.

I was born in 1957. That year is special in the hearts of sports fans in Wisconsin. In 1957, Lambeau Field (then City Stadium) was built to become the new home of the Green Bay Packers, while the Milwaukee Braves also won the World Series that special year.

I grew up in a great sports era, as the Packers won five NFL titles in seven years (including the first two Super Bowls) under Vince Lombardi from 1961 to 1967. I saw the Packers in person on a number of occasions.

Plus I was able to see great baseball players like Henry Aaron, Eddie Mathews and Warren Spahn of the Braves play many times while they were still in Milwaukee.

My dad, Norman Fox, was always there with me.

My passion for sports came from his talks with me. Dad gave me history lessons about the various sports teams, whether it was about the Packers, the Braves or the Wisconsin Badgers. I was also educated about a number of professional sports teams that no longer existed or had moved from Wisconsin.

Dad loved to tell me stories about the Packers back in the Curly Lambeau days when he was growing up.

Dad would quiz me about my knowledge at the dinner table just about every night at our home in Milwaukee. I’m happy to say that I passed with flying colors. Why? I had a great instructor.

My father and mentor passed away on Monday at age 88. I now have a big void in my life. But the lessons he taught me will always remain with me.

Because of dad, I loved all sports, but especially football.

We were both spoiled by the Packers at an early age. Dad was born in 1926, and the Packers won six NFL titles under Lambeau by his 18th birthday, with the last one coming in 1944. Dad was serving his country in the Pacific then with the Navy in World War II.

While I was enamored with players like Bart Starr, Paul Hornung, Jimmy Taylor, Jerry Kramer, Max McGee, Boyd Dowler, Ray Nitschke, Willie Davis, Herb Adderley and so many others in the 1960s, dad made sure I also learned about the Packers of his era.

I was told stories about the great Don Hutson, as well as learning about players like Clarke Hinkle, Cecil Isbell, Johnny (Blood) McNally, Cal Hubbard, Arnie Herber, Mike Michalske and Tony Canadeo.

Dad went to a number of games to see the Packers, both in Milwaukee and Green Bay in those days. In Milwaukee, he would see the Packers play at State Fair Park many times, including the 1939 NFL Championship Game that was played there, as the Packers beat the New York Giants 27-0.

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Cecil Isbell runs with the ball in the 1939 NFL title game at State Fair Park

Dad also parked cars at old Marquette Stadium in Milwaukee when the Packers played there for one season in 1952. After that, he saw the Packers play many times at old County Stadium, where I was often with him.

Dad also traveled to Green Bay to see the Packers play at both old City Stadium and also the new City Stadium, which later was named Lambeau Field in 1965 in honor of the first head coach and one of the founders of the franchise.

Going to training camp is something I really enjoy. I learned that from my dad, although I never came away with a football like he did, nor did I ever see the Chicago Bears train.

The Bears trained at St. John’s Military Academy in Delafield, Wisconsin in 1935. Dad and some buddies watched them practice one day. During practice, an errant punt went over the fence and dad scampered to get it.

Dad retrieved the ball and then never stopped running. He was sprinting away from the Bears just like he was a running back for the Packers like Johnny (Blood).

He told me he never ran so fast, as players and coaches for the Bears were yelling at him to come back with the football. But he never did, and he came home with the football that day.

Dad was an amazing athlete. One time, a few years after his football caper with the Bears, he and a couple of friends rode their bikes around Lake Michigan. It took them several days to accomplish this feat, but they did it.

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Norm Fox with his prized football

Throughout the years, dad and I stayed true to the Packers, even in the lean years. Dad and my mom moved to the Tampa, Florida area in 1983 when they retired, but his loyalty to the Packers continued.

I ended up moving to the Sunshine State myself a while after my parents did. I soon met my future wife, Pam. We ended up living in proximity of my parent’s house. Dad and I ended up going to a number of games between the Packers and the Buccaneers at old Tampa Stadium during that time.

We always had a great time. Before, during and after the game. One time we went to a tailgate party which had Ray Nitschke in attendance. Dad really enjoyed seeing No. 66. After a while, it was time to get to the stadium for the game, and I was looking for dad.

I found him near the brat table. He had a brat in each hand, as they had run out of hot dog buns. No matter, those brats were going down!

The Packers became a force again in the NFL starting in 1992, and that continues to this day. Dad really enjoyed the resurgence of the team, as the Packers won Super Bowl XXXI in that era.

He enjoyed watching the Packers when they were quarterbacked by Brett Favre, but he really liked the way the Packers played behind quarterback Aaron Rodgers. It didn’t hurt that he sort of looked like No. 12 when he was a young man.

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Norm Fox during World War II

Dad was a happy camper when the Packers won Super Bowl XLV behind the play of Rodgers.

After my mom passed away in 2007, I became the primary caregiver for my dad, as he had been dealing with a number of medical issues for many years, including beating colon cancer twice.

I have taken my dad to our summer home on Lake Michigan for the past seven years for three months or so each summer. The place is just an hour or so south of Green Bay, so I was able to get to check out training camp on many occasions.

Over the last seven summers, my bond with my dad became even stronger. I always made sure that he would tell the stories he had told me about the early Packers to my friends when they would come out and visit.

The stories never got old as I would grill some brats and then play some sheepshead with dad and some buddies.

Those memories will always stay with me, as will the reminiscing of spending quality time with my dad as a youngster.

 You see, Norm Fox was not only my father and mentor, but also my friend.

A Scout’s Take on Jordy Nelson and the State of the Green Bay Packers

at Nissan Stadium on November 13, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee.

The Green Bay Packers have lost three games in a row and now sit with a 4-5 record. The play of the Packers in the last two games has been especially disturbing, because the team played with very little energy to begin each one of those games.

In both instances, versus the Indianapolis Colts at Lambeau Field and Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium, the Packers fell behind by double-digit margins before starting to awake from their slumber.

But it was a case of too little, too late in both games. While the offense seemed to get their act together somewhat, the defense couldn’t seem to stop anyone from scoring, as they gave up 78 points in the two games. And if you add in the previous game against the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome, the defense has given up 111 points in three games.

That’s 37 points a game in case you were wondering.

Yes, I know injuries at key positions on both sides of the ball has played a big role in what has been occurring recently with the Packers, but there just aren’t many positives to talk about regarding the team over the past three games.

But one positive has to be the play of wide receiver Jordy Nelson. Nelson is starting to resemble the player he was before he tore his ACL in the 2015 preseason.

In the last three games, Nelson has been targeted 40 times and he has hauled in 23 catches for 314 yards and three touchdowns.

Through nine games this season, Nelson has 50 receptions for 635 yards and eight touchdowns.

Those totals have seen Nelson climb at the ladder in terms of the team record book of the Packers, as Nelson is now fifth in team history with 450 receptions.  Nelson has moved past Greg Jennings (428), Antonio Freeman (431) and Boyd Dowler (448) so far in 2016.

With 39 more catches this season, Nelson will move ahead of the legendary Don Hutson (488).

No. 87 is also now in sixth place in the yards-receiving category with 6,744 yards, having passed Max McGee (6,346), Greg Jennings (6,537) and Antonio Freeman (6,651) this season.

With 175 more yards receiving, Nelson will move past Boyd Dowler (6,918) into fifth place in team annals.

In the past three games, Nelson seems to have regained the swagger in his game like he did in previous years. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers has obviously noticed that as well, based on the 40 targets over the past three games.

I wanted to see if my opinion about the the play of Nelson was similar to the views of NFL scout Chris Landry.

I had an opportunity to talk with Landry on 620 WDAE’s Steve Duemig Show this past Wednesday.

Landry agreed with me that he has seen steady improvement in Nelson’s game, especially in separating himself from his defenders.

“I think he is getting better,” Landry said speaking of Nelson. “He had trouble separating particularly in the earlier part of the year, but he’s getting better at that. They really need more guys who can get open and the protection has to hold up a little better that can make it all come together.

“I didn’t expect him [Nelson] with his work ethic and his toughness to be anything but gradually getting better. Yes, it’s been a bright spot.”

at Georgia Dome on October 30, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Landry then went on to talk about the state of the NFC North and the Packers.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen in the NFC North,” Landry said. “I’m not going to stand on the table for any of those teams. I still would look at the Packers and say you’ve got Aaron Rodgers and got to be able to fix part of this running game and I know it’s tough.

“That’s still to me the team to look out for, although every week I’m looking more and more like an idiot. I can’t trust Minnesota with their offensive line issues. I just can’t imagine…if Detroit wins this division, it may cause a lot of hand-wringing and hair-pulling. God bless them.

“We’ll see how this plays out. But this has been a mess. That division has just been a mess.”

There is no doubt about that. Even with the Packers losing three straight games, the team is just one game out of first place in the NFC North, as the once 5-0 Vikings, have now lost four games in a row.

The Lions are tied with the Vikings with a 5-4 mark.

The Packers have seven more games remaining on their schedule this season, including three straight versus NFC North opponents to close out the season.

But for those divisional games to become important, the Packers have to right their ship immediately.

Hopefully for the Packers, that course correction starts this Sunday night versus the 5-3-1 Washington Redskins at FedEx Field.