2019 YEE

All eyes watched in disbelieving horror as the agonizingly slow, yet certain, clutches of death finally pulled the 2019 Season into oblivion. Widespread and varied clans clad in differing styles of green and mustard gathered around the corpse. There was no need to check for a pulse. Someone from the outer reaches offered steadily and dutifully: “The Also-Ran is dead.” In response, with eyes to the horizon, and in solemn unison, Packer Nation dutifully finished with a balanced and reserved “Long live the Also-Ran…”

It’s really been tragic how many close calls, what ifs, and WTFs have become our disappointing legacy over the last decade. So many of those greatest of all fish stories: The One that Got Away. There have been so many near-misses for this organization. This wasn’t one of them…
Completely outclassed in every phase. There was no drama, everyone saw a Dead Team Walking by halftime. Like a few years back when the Pack made Colin Kaepernick look like Crazy Legs Hirsch meets the Gallopin’ Ghost, got him big money, made him think he was a social prophet ala Che Guevara meets Mandela, and now into the current Nike-rocking punchline that he is, we have created Raheem Mostert, who put up a Tecmo Bowl-like 220 yards. The only redeeming factor about this beatdown was the absence of shock. The anger and disbelief were still there. In that sense, feelings disturbingly familiar to all of us…
Personal Highlight #1 from an otherwise dismal exercise: My wife, Julie, made a cameo appearance at Spare Time. She appeared for the first time in the illustrious history of our club (she’s not a football fan). Rumors and innuendo that she didn’t exist (ala Manti Teo’s “girlfriend”) have been quashed, as many of you met her in the flesh. Hopefully it was moving for you because you’ll probably never see her again…
Personal Highlight #2: I had a Visionquest shortly before showing up for the game. A psychotic break like I’ve described in previous entries. It was over 200 years ago, and I was sitting in an impromptu riverside camp with Clark, the lovely Sacagawea, our trusty canine, Seaman, and about 100 of our closest Native friends. We were hitting the grog and the peace pipe pretty hard when The Great Spirit let it be known to all that “Pringle and Petersen,” aka the modern incarnation of their Lewis and Clark, had a gift waiting in the year 2020. The gift was a reward for our “collective bravery, 21st Century street smarts, loyalty, and adherence to the Eternal Bro Code.” Further, it was a “gift we could truly use, a Gift that would keep on Giving (see attached photo)…”
It is no longer sacrilege to ask some legit questions about Aaron Rodgers. He had a “Pro Bowl” season, whatever that means any more. Some of the league’s best players are Packers who get snubbed by that dubious distinction, and the guy that stepped in for AR12 is the great Kirk Cousins. No question Rodgers was less accurate and made more bad decisions than ever before. Looking forward, we can only expect something more like the QB we had this season as opposed to some of his greatest hits. In fairness, that could and almost certainly would change if this organization would finally get him some top shelf receiver(s) instead of all these projects with “potential.” I understand the premium on developing players, but this is truly a window closing with greater and greater speed. I had a great HS coach (my Dad) who used to say: “’Potential’ just means you haven’t done anything yet…”
I don’t know if AR12 will get to another Super Bowl, let alone win one. We’ve had three great QBs in the modern era: Bart with two trophies in two trips (obviously), Brett with one in his two trips (robbery), and Rodgers with his single, solitary trip and trophy. Who would have guessed? Again, so many close ones, but right here and right now, his legacy is loaded with more misses than #15 or #4 combined…
I’m going off the field, and maybe out of bounds, with a theory on what’s going on with #12. These guys are people with lives away from football. Like so many elite athletes today, Rodgers has always viewed himself as considerably more than just a star NFL quarterback. He views himself as the best of the best. He is active in charity and community, which reflects well on him personally as well as the Packers.
He also views himself as a sort of Renaissance Man, somewhat sophisticated, cultured, and dare I say enlightened(?) The social media presence, the world travel, the life of a rock star, and of course, Danica. Please: Gag me with Danica Patrick. I really have nothing against her personally, but she’s the same as she was when she pretended to be a real, grown-up race car driver: An overhyped novelty and a little too into herself. Self-important. For me, their relationship, the $30M crib, and all the accompanying drama is a little too reality show over-the-top. His belief that he’s some kind of voice ala Kaepernick isn’t playing well. He has pissed off and alienated countless people for no reason with his pointless dissertation on Christianity. His talk of “spirituality” smacks of the kind of thing people say when they are a little too enamored with their own self-importance. My take, my wish, my message to AR12: Just play football. You were playing at arguably the highest level in NFL history before you “became” Mr. Renaissance…
There will be countless discussion over the coming offseason about what the Packers will do to improve for next season. Decisions on current players in free agency; who stays, who goes. Endless Mock Drafts. Speculations. Off-field troubles and drama. DUIs, drug busts, and smacked up girlfrends. Defensive Coordinator Mike Pettine will be back. Great decision. This defense will dominate the league with the simple addition of a run-stopper inside and a faster and more athletic version of Blake Martinez in the middle. There are other positions with obvious need (WR, OT, TE). We need Gutey to stay hot with his moves and keep feeding our rising star Head Coach…
Former HC Mike McCarthy has set his staff heading into his first stint as head of Mexico’s Team, aka Jerry Jones’ lackey. It’s Tundra Southwest as the following former Packers staffers check in: Joe Philbin and Jeff Blasko (OL), Rob Davis (Asst HC), Scott McCauley (LBs), the great Al Harris (DBs), and the not-so-great but loveable Scott Tolzien (Coaching Asst). Some great coaches in this group. Let’s hope they fail miserably…
As for America’s unofficial National Holiday, the upcoming Super Bowl, I really don’t care other than mild curiosity about the matchups. If the Packers aren’t in it, it rings somewhat hollow for me. If tied down and waterboarded, I would likely confess that it wouldn’t break my heart to see former Green Bay coach Andy Reid get his first ring. If shocked by electrodes to my nipples, I would further divulge that I have come to hate San Francisco much like Seattle and Dallas. Never like Minnesota
Final word for the Packers, throwing the corpse of 2019 over the side: “The Also-Ran is dead…Long live the King”… Go, Pack, GO!!!
(Kraig Pringle)
Just Sayin’
 That was awful, just awful. I could use other words, like hideous, nauseating, putrid, etc., but I think you get my point. And even though we are die-hard Packer fans, I feel sure I was not the only one feeling like that. OK, let’s get the ugly out of the way, and then look at some good. I think the bad offense starts with LeFleur and Rodgers. Sorry, but it does. LeFleur calls the plays. The QB is the leader of the offense and handles the ball on every offensive play. Early in the game, he hit Jamaal Williams for a 2-yard gain when it was 3 and 3. Jimmy Graham was wide open for a first down. Would keeping that drive going have made a difference? Who knows? Then, on a really good drive that was moving down the field, Rodgers muffs a snap that SF recovered. Rodgers gets the ball fumbled when he was looking downfield. Rodgers throws a pick that is returned to the GB 30-yard line. He did throw another pick at the end of the game, but that one really had no effect on the outcome of the game. I just didn’t see any fire in Rodgers. I mean from the start of the game.
I know he has taken a lot of heat this year because of his play. I think he gets a lot of heat just because he is Aaron Rodgers. Tom Brady has a bad game, and the press says “Well, he doesn’t have any receivers after Edleman.” AR12 has a bad game, and everyone in the media is going “What’s wrong with Aaron Rodgers?“. (Newsflash to the media, Rodgers doesn’t have any receivers after Adams.) I also read that the Packers didn’t get into SF until 4:00 Saturday afternoon. If that is true, whoever made that call needs to be flogged with a wet noodle, or made to sit in the corner, or something. That was STUPID ! ! Maybe there was jet lag playing a role in their play. Now, by no means do I put that loss totally on Aaron. That loss was a total effort by the Green Bay players and the Green Bay coaching staff. And most of the reason for that loss was the fact that SF is just a really good, balanced team. A lot better in most areas than the Packers are. They were the better team on Sunday, by far.
I think our RB situation is good. We do not need to address this position in the immediate future. As far as WRs go, we have one really good one in Davante Adams, one decent in Allen Lazard (who should develop more) and then we have several guys who might not even make a roster on many other NFL teams, certainly neither of the Super Bowl teams. As I have mentioned several times this season, Ted Thompson had built a roster of football players where many had with less than NFL talent. Many probably couldn’t play with Clemson, LSU, or Alabama. As Packers fans, we knew the lack of talent that was the Green Bay Packers roster. But we had #12 as quarterback that hid numerous flaws. He covered up so many flaws, that the talking heads could not see it. It was not until #12 went down, that the flaws were exposed. Another flaw that coexisted with the below par roster, was Mike McCarthy. IMO, this mainly started in the 2014 NFC Championship game that we lost in Seattle. MM lost that “put the last nail in the coffin” mindset in that game and went all conservative. When he lost that mindset, he started losing the team. He would not replace inept coaches. His Strength & Conditioning staff were pathetic. Year after year, the Packers have been plagued with hamstring injuries and numerous players going on IR.  His outright refusal to play guys like Aaron Jones was mind blowing. In 2017, upon seeing how inept Brett Hundley was, refused to see what Joe Callahan could do in the last game of the season. We all saw one year what Jeff Janis did against the Cardinals in the season finale. He never got another chance.
If you recall, upon the appointment of Brian Gutekunst as GM, during the ensuing season, the opening game roster was about 40% different than when Thompson left. This past offseason, he addressed the defense through free agency. While the defense got hammered in the NFC Championship game, they had some good games and many highlights throughout the year. I look for that to continue next year. A new coaching staff and a new system takes time to get fully implemented. It is still a work in progress. Personally, I think for all these new changes, the progress was exceptional. Going 13-3, winning the NFC North and advancing to the NFC Championship was much more than I expected.
I don’t know how the cap situation looks exactly, but it appears that the Packers will be somewhere in the $28 - $30M range as far as cap space goes.
Players that could/should be looked at and decisions that will need to be made, include:
(estimated cap hit / dead cap if he is released / cap savings)
Jimmy Graham
$11.6M / $3.6M / $8M
Corey Linsley
$10.5M / $2M / $8.5
Lane Taylor $6M / $2M / $4M
Bryan Bulaga
$6.7M Unrestricted Free Agent
Tramon Williams $5M UFA
Mason Crosby $4M UFA
Geronimo Allison $2.8M UFA
Marcedes Lewis $2.1M UFA
There are a couple more, under $1M Players that will be due new contract that I see coming are Kenny Clark and Blake Martinez. Blake Martinez is a puzzler. He usually leads the team in tackles and is among the NFL leaders in that category. But the complaint is that most of those tackles are like five yards beyond the line of scrimmage. But who else on the roster can fill his role? I think drafting another ILB early and keeping Martinez is likely what happens.
Of the above listed, I could see Graham & Taylor being released and Williams not being re-signed. Then maybe trying to re-sign Bulaga, Crosby and Lewis for lower money. That will be tough with Bulaga. He refused to take a pay cut last year and Tackles are at a premium right now. If they try to low ball him, he might be gone. He has some injury history, so that may play into negotiations.  Corey Linsley, a 2021 FA, could possibly get a contract extension during the off season to reduce his cap hit.

Now, for some good. Before the season, the “experts, pundits and talking heads” pretty much all had Green Bay finishing 3rd in the division. The Packers were not really given a chance to make the due to the lack of talent. Most all of those “experts” had predictions and theories about how LeFleur and Rodgers would not get along. They would be fighting with each other for control of the offense. Well, we saw how ALL of them completely missed on that prediction. While Rodgers did not have a great year and seemed to be “off” much of the time, we have to remember that he was running a complete new offense since he became the starter. And we saw him wearing the arm wrap with plays on it. I have no doubt that he bought into the new system LeFleur installed. And while Aaron had to learn a new system, so did everyone else on the offense. I feel pretty sure that had a lot to do with his inaccuracy and lack of rhythm throughout the season. We could see in games at different times during the season, that sometimes he was wearing the arm band and sometimes he wasn’t. Also, during the season, we saw a coach who said before the season that he wanted a balanced attack. And he pretty much stuck to it every game. A lot of fans on the net are clamoring for OL. I personally think a top WR would help tremendously, someone that can get some separation and allow AR12 to get rid of the ball a little quicker. Add a better WR, develop Sternberger & Tonyan and I think the offense will be better.
As far as the defense goes, I was on the fence about Pettine. If Mark Murphy & Brian Gutekunst had decided to call ONE shareholder and ask their opinion on retaining or releasing Mike Pettine, I would have hoped it would not have been me. My knee jerk reaction would have been “FIRE HIM”. On the other hand, what do I know about being a Defensive Coordinator in the NFL? Nothing, absolutely nothing. Now that they have decided to retain him, he needs to go through some “How To Make Defensive Adjustments” classes during the offseason. I was not aware during the game just how little Jimmy Garoppolo passed the football. They just ran and ran. Then they ran some more. When the starting guy got tired, they put the other guy in, and he ran. There were no adjustments by the defense that I saw.
All in all, I think the season went better than any of us honestly hoped for back last August. Was there disappointment? Yes, there surely was. Is there hope for next season? Yes, there surely is ! ! We are only about 6 months from training Camp. Showing my Packer pride everywhere I drive 
Just Sayin’   
(Jimmy Smith)

It's always a tough loss when you lose the NFC championship game, but we made it further than 28 other teams, and I have to give my Packer Backer family props!  You guys make the end of any season joyous! Founding this club 13 years ago was one of the best things I have ever done!  I think that as long as Steve is the head of Spare Time that we may have finally found our forever home!
Thank you to all of you the stepped up this year to help with set up or tear down and it was really cool to hear new commentators on the mic! Until next year, Always Bleed Green!.. GO PACK GO! 
Jamie Ware #101 &
Charlie #101½

328 in our SPARE TIME 

Well, the season is over…I’m sure we all hoped that it would have lasted longer, but we have lots of good things to celebrate.  In addition to our great team, I want to celebrate our great club.

First, I’d like to celebrate Lewis and Clark (aka Neil and Kraig), not only for amusing us throughout the season, but for finding Spare Time for our headquarters and home for the Greenville Packer Backers.  That brings me to our honorary member Steve and his staff at Spare Time who made game day so enjoyable for all of us.  Thank you for your welcoming ways.  Having been at other venues, I can’t tell you how much that is appreciated.
And that brings me to the greatest celebration of all—you, the members of the greatest Packer fan club in the entire world!  I would just sit at the office table and grin as we added new members every week, it has been such a pleasure to meet you and get to know you a little.  I hope that trend continues.  I also want to celebrate the members of the club who have been through the “leaner” times.  You keep on keeping on every single week.  I have to admit that I love my “job” in the office because it gives me the opportunity to speak to everyone each week, and in my eyes, that is one of the best parts of my day.  I hope I never get fired…
As I read this, I realize it’s pretty syrupy but you all know that’s just me.  I always end my articles by saying we love our Pack through thick and thin.  I love my club through thick and thin, too.  This has been a season of “thick” for both our team and our club.  That is so much more fun!
See you in July! 
(Marge 328)

All Up HILL from Here

I went on the Internet and saw a headline Monday.  "What the Packers need to do about Aaron Rodgers", obviously written by someone with QB envy and hoping against hope that someone reads this article and thinks, "Yeah, we need to get rid of our HOF Quarterback who almost singlehandedly brought us back into the NFC Championship game and let Tim Boyle have the 'keys to the car'!  Yeah, we should do that!"  Not so fast!
Matt LeFluer is a first year coach.  Mike Pettine is a second year DC.  We went to the NFC Championship game.  Wonder what they'll do for an encore!  The blame for losing this game falls firmly on the defense.  We couldn't stop the run.  Jimmy Garoppolo threw the ball 6 times in the first half!  We haven't been able to stop the run all year!  We don't use good gap control and our linebackers are used to rush the passer rather than tackle running backs.  They may get a shot but a lot of times they whiffed because they were lunging and missing and tripping rather than running at the guy wrapping him up and taking him to the turf!  Like I said in the preview for this game; tackling drills for all linebackers!  Also, Hakiem Hicks of our erstwhile rivals duh Bears.  Mentioned that Robbie Gould and Raheem Mostert were former Bears.  So it was like the Bears beat the Packers for the NFC Championship.  No, that didn't happen.  You lost twice to the Packers this year.  All of the NFC North teams lost to the Packers this year.  That's why we're the KINGS OF THE NORTH!  At halftime, we were behind 27-0.  What adjustments did we make at halftime?  Matt basically turned to Aaron and said, "Take us home A-rod.  It's on you."  Now I'm sure Matt's not going to say that, but that's what happened.  Aaron threw for 326 yards and went 31 for 39.  He got picked twice, and lost a fumble.  He was harrassed and hurried all day long and he still got us almost to the brink of bringing this game back.  So where do we go from here?  We go to the draft board and we go into the HC's office.  We sit down with Mike Pettine and we ask him, "Can you stop the run? What do you need to do it?"  We draft to get those pieces.  What else?  We need another threat than DaVante.  We need a stud WR.  Jordy had Cobb, Jordy had Jennings, Jordy had Jones.  DaVante needs someone.  Obviously, Aaron doesn't think it's any of the current guys, or he thinks it's not any of the current guys yet.  We also may need a new Right Tackle.  I don't know if Bryan Bulaga has played his last game in the Green and Gold.  Time will tell. Someone tell Steven A. Smith to shut his piehole!  He knows not of what he speaks.  He's supposed to report on ALL sports.  That means that when watching Green Bay play, he may only watch the high-lights.  He may feel that Aaron Rodgers has lost something. I don't watch ALL sports.  I don't even follow professional football.  I follow PACKER FOOTBALL!  I don't care about the NBA.  I haven't watched a complete game since Mike wore red and played at the United Center.  I don't watch college sports, I may watch them play football, but I don't care, if I need to do something, I'll do it.  Baseball is still a bunch of overpaid crybabies as far as I'm concerned.  "They stole signals!"  Who cares?!?!  They managed to Jimmy-Proof NASCAR, so I don't watch that anymore.  I watch the Packers.  Aaron hasn't lost a thing.  He was feeling his way through a rookie coach's system.

I think if we make these changes, we can win the NFC.  This isn't a Ted Thompson team, where we have to hope the stars align and we might make it.  This is a team that is designed and built.  We managed to go from a team with a losing record last year to the NFC Championship game.  Give Matt another year and we'll be saying "Go Pack!! GO!! in February 2021!!  See ya next season!! (Ken Hill)

 From Our Sponsor

 Fellow Packer Backers:  I wanted to take a moment and on behalf of the Spare Time Team and myself to thank you for your support over the last season. This season started fresh with a new head coach and a new venue for you as a fan club. It started positive with wins from our Green and Gold and large club member turn outs. As our team settled in down the stretch so did, we as a staff. We found the right combination to provide you with a memorable experience. Our team each week kept us cheering as we made a playoff run and the Spare Time teammates began to join in your passion. While we didn’t cap it off with a super bowl appear-ance there is a lot of be proud of this season from the Packers. I think our Spare Time team also has a lot to be proud of also. 
I think we have a very special relationship. A relationship that Spare Time and I will continue to be dedicated to into the future. Thank you again for your support this last season! We will be hosting an NFL draft event, so we encourage you to come out and support the Packers during the first round of the NFL draft on Thursday April 23rd.  Detail of this event will be released via our Facebook, Instagram page and by club e-mail!  Until then, enjoy the off season and Go Pack Go in 2021! ~ Steve Klotz #1


We got a late start this year on our Shout Outs section.  Next year we would like to do more.  Along with keeping our Packer Family up to date on your important celebrations like birthdays, weddings or graduations.  Perhaps you own a business and would like to give a special offer to club members.  We would like to possibly expand this to give something special away. 

We are not sure how all of this will work yet but what we do know is we need a data base to work with. Please send any of your special dates/events or special services you’d like to share? Send them to me (Heather) at: 

heatherbailey80@gmail.com or John at:
GreenvillePackerBackers@gmail.com Until we meet again, 
(Heather Bailey) 

Parting Shots

 Sorry it took so long to get this final edition out; partly due to computer issues (Changing from Windows 7 to 10)  partly to needing to cut and split wood and partly, like most of you, the steam ran out of me with the Packers performance at Santa Clara.  Don’t blame my staff.  In fact, I owe them a big apology.  They had their articles in (as usual) in a timely fashion but with my delays, if their stories do not read as fresh they should be; blame it all on me (mea culpa, mea culpa).
There was also the fleeting hope that I would get some stories from you but except for two, it never happened.  In the past I have gotten great stories from you about games attended, including the Ice Bowl; memories of the first time you listened or watched the Packers play and your Monday Morning thoughts about our beloved team.  It makes me sad that with over 400 members and fans, there are not more people willing to share, but life moves on.
This year for the club was phenomenal; we saw more growth in the club than ever before and attendance was almost double of any previous year.  As we have stated many times this year, a lot of the credit has to go to Kraig & Neil, our Lewis & Clark, for hunting down our new home, Spare Time.  Steve and his staff have gone out of their way time and time again to make sure we had a great time, even offing some free half-time treats; all this to help us feel at home. Was it prefect, no.  Can it get better, I know it will.
Linda & I attended the Seahags game at the Central Florida Packer Backers in Orlando, Sidelines.  Their club is bigger (members numbers now in the 3000’s) and older (close to 20 years) and different.  They have a schedule of events for every game laid out at the start of the year.  Including things like a tailgate party to start out the season and Jagermeister and Cap’n Morgan nights.  As I said, their club is different.  Downtown Orlando is Bus-iness in the daytime and Bars at night.  More for a hard drinking crowd, not the Family crowd we have.  However, there is nothing to say we can’t come up with our own schedule of events.  I like the Tail-gate night (I will try to talk Steve into it) and can other games days like Packer Bago; so put on your thinking caps and lets see what we can do for next season.   
Beyond Steve and his staff, there are more people to thank.  To those of you who picked up the Mic, Kraig, Neil, Ken and Jimmy C, you made my year more enjoyable.  To the ever faithful Marge 328, Linda and Jamie who ran the office like a tight ship, you are the backbone of the club.  To my staff at Packer Backer Bits, Kraig, Ken, Biker Jimmy, Marge 328, Barbara and now Heather, you have helped move our newsletter to one about facts and stats to one of compassion for or club and Packers.  A special thanks goes to everyone who came early or stayed late to attend to the prizes.  I’d like to mention you all by name but there were so many and I don’t want to run the risk of leaving someone off the list, but know your efforts did not go unnoticed.
I loved the level of participation we had this year and hope to see even more next year as I give way to making this a club about all of us.  The opportunities are there, including being MC, helping with prizes and office or a part or full timer on the newsletter.  The next man up is critical for a good team and the same is true for our club.
As far as our Packers go, it was a surprising year but one of final disappointment.  A new coach and a dip into free agency turned out to be the highlight of the season.  Rodgers, as great as he is, fell short of his lofty perch.  Be it the new coach/system, talent level/bond in his receivers, or his new mansion, only Danica knows for sure.  Let’s hope Aaron the G.O.A.T. returns to Green Bay next season.
Overall the defense was why we made it as far as we did.  It also was the reason we failed in Santa Clara.  We need more help on either side of Kenny Clark.  Montravious Adam, KeKe Kingsley, Tyler Lancaster and Dean Lowry need to either step up or be replaced.  There also needs to be more help at linebacker beside Blake Martinez, and the Smith Brothers, Za’Darius & Preston.  Beyond the names Kyler Frackrel & Rashan Gary, neither having a great year, the other 5 line-backers are almost nameless.
The Pro-Bowl was played several weeks ago and although in the big scheme of things it doesn’t mean much, the performances of Davante with 6 catches, 2 TD’s and a completed pass for 34 yds, along with Za’Darius Smith’s forced fumble, an interception, a pass defended, 2 sacks and a tackle for loss is a small taste of what level of talent we have to build on for the years to come.
In this years draft and free agency, I would like to see an upgrade on our defensive ends and linebackers plus an infusion of receivers, including a beast of a tight end like Kittle.
One last thanks to everyone involved in the making of the team photo presented to me at the last game.  I love it and it will always be a reminder to me and Linda of my Packer family who will always 
Bleed Green My friends. 
Packer John

“Whaddya you mean the Packers aren’t in the Superbowl!”  The response from Levi, 127 Kent Sargent’s grandson