2019 Week 01

Packer Backer Bits

Packers 101 ~ Back to the Basics

Once again this year, there are some milestone numbers floating around; the Packers celebrate their 100th birthday (they don’t look a day over 50), name their 15th head coach; it is their 101st season of Football and the NFL starts their 100th season of football. 
What better way than to kick off the season then with the two teams who have played against each other more than any other teams in football, the Packers & duh bears (once referred to as the “Chicago chipmunks”).  This will be the 199th meeting with the Packers holding a 97-95-6 edge on duh bears. This is our 13th year as a club, Spare-Time is our 7th home and this is our 12th year for this newsletter.  We ended last year with 86 members and currently start this season with 25, a number I’m know will grow.  For more on our new home see the GPB Spare-Time Report on page 2. Both Clay (Rams) & Cob (Dalass) exited early in the offseason, neither of which surprised me too much. My biggest surprise on axe Saturday (when 1280 NFL players lose their jobs) was Packers got rid of their Ficken kicker, Sam Ficken that is. How I soo wanted to be able to say that all year and I know Nick Papala would love to see anybody but Mason.  Both Jimmy & Ken mentioned to me how hard it is to write the first week’s article and even more so this year.  Air-ron has seen ZERO playing time in the pre-season and the same is true for most of our starters; the same can be said about duh bears.  Thursday will be the first time we get to see Matt LaFleur’s offense as a unit.  Ken talks about “gamespeed” and I think the team that better  adjust to it should have the early edge.   There is also the big number 60, as in minutes.  This is the first time the starters will need to play 60 minutes (actually about 30 minutes per side).  It will be interesting to see how much oxygen each team goes through.  My biggest concern however is not how winded and tired the players are going into the 4th quarter, but by playing tired, they also increase their chance of injury, something we Packer fans remember all to well from last years opener against duh bears. Packers/Bears, NFL Football and DUH BEARS STILL SUCK!  I am soooo ready to 
(Packer John)

Just Sayin’ 

Well, 2019 is here. Actually, it has been here for over a while now, but 2019 with Packers football is among us. There have been many changes at 1265 Lombardi Ave. since we last gathered. I think a large percentage of Packer fans have wanted to see Mike McCarthy gone at the same time Ted Thompson was eased out the door. We saw something early this year that had not been seen since Ron Wolf was running the show. That would be Free Agents being brought in to try to improve the roster. Which means, once again, we have had some roster movement. Gone are names we have known to be synonymous with the Green Bay Packers; Randall Cobb, Clay Matthews and Mike Daniels. As fans, sometimes it is hard to think of football as a business. If the boss man thinks that someone isn’t doing his job as well as someone else can, that someone may be fired or laid off. McCarthy was fired, but I look at those other 3 as being laid off. Life goes on, and so does football. I personally would have liked to see AR12 get at least little “real game” action in the preseason, but the only game that he might have played in would have been the Raider game. And bad field conditions prevented that. I have been reading some comments from some places that Rashan Gary is a bust. Really? After 3 preseason games? I suppose these “experts” that are deeming Gary a bust, must have thought AR12 was a bust as well. When he was Favre’s backup, it seemed like every time he came in, he got hurt. I guess these “experts” would have cut Rodgers before he ever got the starting job. Looks like my man this year is going to be Jake Kumerow, at least for now. And it appears the second guy up that would be throwing to him is Tim Boyle. Let’s hope the only time we see the #2 QB, be it Boyle, or someone signed after I write this, will be in mop up duty. Time will tell if either the offense or the defense will have improvement over last year’s versions. Writing this piece this week before the season starts is like trying to make up a batch of clear Jello without knowing the recipe. There will be a lot guesses and speculations on everything from the roster to the starting lineup to whether AR12 should keep his mustache or not. Rodgers will always have the Packers in playoff contention as long as he is playing. I am not holding out for a Super Bowl appearance, but this could be one exciting season for the 100th year for the NFL and the Green Bay Packers ! ! So, here is the piece this week. I hope you like clear Jello… Just Sayin’  
(Jimmy Smith)


A new year, a new home.  Last year we found out the hard way  Hall of Fame was not a good fit for either us or the bar.  We both came to the realization we must both move on; and so, exit HoF and enter Spare-Time.  This offers us plenty of flexibility and plenty of room to grow.  The big plus is the manager, Steve, is not only Packer friendly but a 
Wisconsin native as well (Cedarsburg).  He will be at the game on Thursday so come on in and meet him. To find us Thursday, we will be on the front patio.  You can enter either through the front doors then through the restaurant or use the patio door to the left of the main entrance. This game is a Thursday night game and I know many of you have responsibilities on Friday, but I encourage you to come for at least the first half. This is the only way you can enter the pools, Trivia contest and a chance to win a door prize.  There is also, great food, drinks and of course… Packer Fans.  I also hope to get a group photo at half time so be sure to wear something Packer. A new year, a new coach, a new home; all reasons to once again, 
(P.S. I don’t want you to worry, I didn’t fire Marge 328. She will be back next week)

Packer’s       vs.      Duh bears 

“Game-speed.”  That’s a term I heard used again this past Saturday.  The ESPN analyst was using it to describe the first week of College Football and it’s apropo to use it for this Thursday’s opening game of the 100th NFL season when describing the performance of one Aaron Charles Rodgers.  Now Aaron was supposed to play against the Ravens, he had tightness in his back.  He was thought to maybe see some action against the Raiders, but the condition of the field nixed that.  The final game was used for final evaluations, so he didn’t get any reps obviously.  Even preseason doesn’t give you “game -speed”.  
Pre-season games are like a “friendly” in Soccer when the US Team plays Panama because they both have the weekend off and are tuning up for the World Cup.  The first teamers know they’ve made the team, you don’t really want to knock somebody out on the opposing team and cost them their season, so it’s not full go. Practice doesn’t give you “game-speed.”  The quarterback is wearing a red jersey, so you know not to hit him.  You sack a QB in practice, you will get yelled at, not the OL who was supposed to block you, not the RB who was supposed to pick you up; you get yelled at.  Obviously Aaron didn’t get sacked.  Aaron will not be wearing a red jersey Thursday, but duh Bears are color blind and they’ll see red, just not in the good way.  Number 12 will have to be on his toes.  He’ll be facing Khalil Mack and his friends.  
I expect some rust, hopefully not a lot and hopefully not anything that will cost us the game.   The Packers have a new head coach, just in case you’ve been living under a rock for the past 8 months.  Matt LaFleur.  As near as I can figure, the main reason he got the job is he used to work for Ram’s HC Sean McVay.  He then went to be OC under Mike Vrabel and play caller for the Tennessee Titans, the 25th ranked offense in the league.  He also said he’s not letting the GOAT (the aforementioned Aaron Rodgers) call audibles.  We’ll see.   A lot of film study will be used this weekend I’m sure.  Has Mitchell Trubisky improved or is he still a one-read Quarterback?  Can Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams make some hay as the one-two punch for the Packers running game?   Can our blend of FA’s and Draft Picks on the defensive side of the ball make the Packers defense worthy to be in the Black and Blue Division?  I hope so. I didn’t see anything in the 53 man roster that stunned me.  I saw enough of the preseason highlights to know DeShone Kizer wasn’t keeping his job.  Hopefully Tim Boyle will see a lot of garbage time this season, meaning Aaron and the boys are cruising.  Remember 2011?  No defense, but the offense was a juggernaut!   Lastly, Duh Bears.  Unlike most of you, I cannot and do not hate the Bears.  I’m from Illinois, and though I come from the “cornfield part” of the state.  The Bears remain the team from Illinois.  I do hate the Vikings, of course, I mean, that’s a given.  I do not hate the Bears mostly because I have friends from the Chicago area, not because of any affection I hold for the Bears even though I have a soft spot for Bob Schwerski and the Superfans who gather at Ditka’s Sausage and Meat Emporium in Cicero, IL.   I semi-rooted for the Bears during their win in the Superbowl, but there was money involved. I have never openly rooted for the Bears.  Because as all of you (and I) know:  UPON FURTHER REVIEW… 
GO PACK!! GO!!! 
(Ken Hill)

All’s Fair (State Fair) 

My husband and I make our annual summer trip to Milwaukee during State Fair week. It’s also the week of our anniversary, so we usually spend the day at the Fair.  I love the Fair – it’s changed over the years of course: no more Tunnel of Love or the most ginormous boar in the
state. But some things don’t change – cows, horses, vendors selling things no one needs AND Cream Puffs!!  I only eat a cream puff at the fair. Something my husband (a Greenville native) learned when he almost bought me one at the Sentry food store one autumn when we lived in Milwaukee. The past two years Associated Bank has had a Packer themed area where you can do a Lambeau Leap on to a cushioned wall; throw a pass, or have your picture taken with your choice of Packers.  As you can see, last year’s picture was taken with my all-time favorite Packer Jerry Kramer and this year I chose David Bakhtiari.  It was great “meeting” them – although sadly they didn’t have a lot to say. Although they did sign my pictures!  And yes, I’m wearing the same t-shirt – it’s my official going to the Fair shirt!

Barb Gambrell #221

Want Ads 

Here is a list of ways you can help gameday at Spare-Time:  MC, set-up, teardown or office help.  A schedule will be up front for you to review.  This is our club; it only works if we all are willing to make it happen. I would like to start a new article called “Tales from the Motherland” for us to share our journey’s back to Wisconsin or Packer encounters.  We’ve all been there, we all have a story, so tell it!
Packer John