2020 Week 01

A Season Like No Other

Since the outbreak of the Covid virus earlier this year, many things have changed.  Almost all summer events were cancelled.  Schools, Churches, restaurants, sports and “non-essential” stores were closed.  Many states closed their borders and told everyone to stay at home.  As time went on, restaurants and store have reopened with state re-strictions.  Grub Hub and Door Dash are the way to go. Schools are a blend of classroom and home school.  Some sports restarted on modified schedules, including the NFL.  Gone are Pre-season games and live fans. Players had an option to sit this one out and there are more options for teams to be able to field a healthy team each week. 

Then there are the negative aspects of all this.  Not the peaceful protesting but the destructive rioting, the social unrest and professional sports players using their team to promote their cause.  Many are offended by the past and so many of the century old memorials have been removed, renamed or replaced.  This makes me sad and I think President Trump said it best in his acceptance speech when he said “we can’t move forward by erasing the past”. 

All I want, like many Packer Fans is football, Packer football. 

And so we start what I call the “virtual football season”.  No “fans in the stands” with crowd noise broadcasted over the PA system.  You may even see me as a cardboard cutout in Lambeau Field.

And so… lets get on with football!

Many football “experts” have already declared the Superbowl winner.  I say this year (at least the first few games) is a crap shoot.  The lack of the pre-season games has removed some of the physical, game speed action and has changed the way every coaching staff is preparing for a season.  These first few weeks will determine which teams had a successful training camp and may be a big factor in the winner of the NFC North.  Our first two games are against two conference foes, the queenies on the road and the Lyins at home.  Two wins and it goes a long way to being on top.  Two losses, well, let’s just say the road to the playoffs just got harder.

The other factor is which team can stay healthy, both in injuries and health wise.  Injuries are not a new thing but health issues are. The Packers only had one player, Funchness, elect the Reserved/Opt-out option. There are also new rules allowing players from the practice squad to temporarily replace a player with the virus.  All this shuffling of players changes the dynamics of the team and your opponents as well; just one more bullet in the crap shoot.

As the season progresses, the cream should rise to the top.  Being from Wisconsin, we all know about cream and cheese and beer and brats and The Packers; we all know “Wisconsin Cream” always rises to the top.  A Packer season like no other, time to strap on the helmet, adjust your athletic supporter and put on your Packer mask and   

(Packer John)

 Just Sayin’

Well, 2020 is here. Actually, it has been here for a while now. And it has been a so full of angst, that I think we ALL will be glad when it is time to hang the 2021 calendar. This will NOT be a year to look back and use the old Bob Hope line of “Thanks for the memories”. Meanwhile, we are set to embark on a new season of Packers football. Sports of all varieties have taken a hit this year. Now, personally, I don’t mind as much as many do. I am watching the Tour de France as I type this. But as far as American sports go, football is all I have left as far as a spectator. 

There were no big free agent moves like the offseason of 2019. The salary cap seems to do that, huh? But there have been some roster moves since the Packers last played. Gone are fan favorites Tramon Williams, Blake Martinez, Bryan Bulaga and even Jake Kumerow. The biggest roster addition is someone we hope to not see play very much, that being Jordan Love. 

I feel sure that most fans, including me, were expecting a WR to be taken in the first round during the draft in the Spring. And I feel sure that most fans, including me, were surprised that the draft played out like it did, with NO receivers taken at all. But the more I thought about it, the better I felt about the draft. We all know who leads the Packers. We all also know that AR12 needs to have a good feel and certain level of comfort with his receivers. The WRs absolutely have to be precise route runners, or Rodgers is not going to throw to them on a consistent basis. How often do rookie WRs make an impact in their first season? It does happen, but not often. So, I feel that the receiver us fans longed for to be added to the roster, is actually already on the roster. I feel that Allen Lazard or MVS will make some big strides this season. EQ may be there as well. Our RB situation should be about as good as it has been in a long time. The OL is looking pretty good as well, with the exception of RT. I feel like that is a position that could be in flux till the offense comes out on the field for the first time. 

On the defensive side of the ball, the biggest question is going to be the position of ILB. Of course, this outlook is based on relatively good health for the entire team, for most of the season. 

As far as the Practice Squad goes, we do have some players on there that were on the active squad last year. So, if they are needed, they will know the system. 

One big topic of conversion during the off season has been the lack of respect the media has given our Packers. But then, aren’t we used to that? As long as Aaron Rodgers is taking the snaps at QB, the Packers will most likely be in contention for wins and titles. Being a Packers fan for as long as I have, I always try to be the optimist. This season, I am trying to be optimistic for the 5th Super Bowl and the 14th  NFL Championship ! ! 

Writing this piece before the first game is played is like trying to make up a batch of clear Jello without knowing the recipe. 

So, here we go. I hope you like clear Jello... 
Just Sayin’
(Jimmy Smith)


Hello!  It is FINALLY the start of a new season for the Packers and the Greenville Packer Backers!  I am so excited to get together with all my Packer buddies.  I have missed you since our last time together, and I’m looking forward to great times together and a successful season for the green and gold. 

Our first game is Sunday, September 13, at 1 o’clock.  Spare Time is still home for our gatherings.  Because of COVID and the rules imposed on Spare Time, they are limited to 60 guests on the patio and 60 more guests in the restaurant.  Because of the seating limitations, RSVPs will be required each week until we get a handle on numbers and know seating won’t be a problem.  You can reply using the email Packer John sent last week (if you didn’t get it, check your spam folder), or send a response to greenvillepackerbackers@gmail.com. Just an FYI--- Per Steve at Spare-Time, unless actively eating or drinking, masks are requested, but not required.  Either way, you are respon-sible to do what you feel is right and safe for yourself and others.

And now on to the fun stuff.  We will be awarding door prizes, so remember to put your member number in the bucket when you arrive.  We will still have the trivia contest, as well as the ever popular football pools.  So many ways we can get lucky and celebrate the return of Packer football!

My mantra has always been to keep on plugging “through thick and thin”.  I know these past several months have been really “thin”, but now I am looking forward to getting on the “thick” side be it beating this virus or beating our opponents.  And it’s always good doing it with friends wearing green and gold!

Remember, the game will not be on local TV, so meet me at Spare Time before 1 on Sunday!

Through thick and thin…

Marge 328

Packer’s        vs.      Viqueens

They say “time is a thief,” so we must’ve all got ripped off because it’s time to kick off the 2020 Packers’ season. “2020” sounds so futuristic. It’s getting to the point where too many sci-fi movies set “in the future” would’ve already happened. Examples that come to mind are
2001: A Space Odyssey, its lesser sequel 2010, Blade Runner, Escape From New York, its even worse sequel Escape From LA

The Future is Now. I’ve come to learn the future includes QR Codes, which if you are stuck in the 20th Century like me, and maybe even actually write in that archaic code known among the ancients as “cursive,” it’s a much improved and sophis-ticated type of bar code that many phones can read if you can figure it all out…

Everything is different now with the pink elephant in the room, the Coronavirus. I use that language because I want to act like it’s gone and I really don’t like talking about it. The point of all of this, the Packers, the game, the club, Spare Time, even the Vikings, is to entertain us, to distract us. This column. Get away from the divided country, the economy, and certainly the virus…

Which, unfortunately, brings me to an indelicate subject, a recent internal conflict which assumed a life and magnitude I never expected. It came to my attention that the “Powers that Be,” a shadow conspiracy, tried to use the virus and twist the spirit of “safety first” to limit the readers of this column, my column, my voice, to 30% of actual capacity! Deprive 70% of our readers in all corners of not just the nation, but the World?! Thankfully, you all rallied in the streets with the rest of The People, and the corporate muzzle was lifted from my voice. I had enormous pride in seeing signs like “Free #123” and “Pringle Words Matter.” The repeated chants of “No Publish, No Peace!” will resonate with me for the rest of my days. It was true “Peaceful Protest,” not the TV version that now includes burning down police stations, ripping down monuments, destroying neighbors’ homes and businesses, and extorting locals who want to use the sidewalk…

Things could always be worse. If we were still at Hall of Fame, with capacity and distancing we would only be able to have like 13-14 people at the game. And the Packers could’ve lost a bunch of guys already to the virus. (Knock on wood). As it tentatively stands, only Devin Funchess has opted out. If he’s still getting paid, that’s basic robbery but great work if you can get it…

Longtime readers know much of the history and foundation for my “intense dislike” for the Vikings, and so I’ll spare you the recap. I’ve called them vile names and used horribly offensive language about them. And I don’t care. I meant every word. Their very existence, their very breathing is offensive to me. The readers and those who know me understand that at one time or another, I’ve said or done anything and everything you can to get hashtagged or cancelled by today’s thought and morality police. So on to the game…

Initially, I hear Minneapolis is great this time of year. Especially this year. If it gets too cold, there are plenty of warm and cozy buildings on fire. If it gets too hot, there are an estimated 337 busted water mains in the streets! Just don’t try and use a counterfeit $20 at a convenience store…

There has been the typical hype and “analysis” from countless pundits this offseason like all NFL offseasons. There has been much hype about roster changes, upgrades, down-grades, and “power ratings.” There are projected “strengths of schedule.” The perennial hopeful excitement in Lavenderland about how “improved” the Vikings are, how this time it will be different. And like every single other offseason, none of it means anything. Especially this season, with the Twilight Zone circumstances. Just Noise.

The empty stadium might help a little on the road, I wish all our road games were frontloaded on the schedule so we could play them without 70-80,000 of their best friends.

With no preseason schedule, this game and all the others will have an element of who is least rusty, who is closer to true “football shape.” Who can be more focused. The players have lobbied for years to cut or eliminate the preseason. Now, they get their wish, albeit not the way they necessarily wanted. They say Aaron is looking sharp, and he’s evidently channeled his inner-2011 through watching old films. They say he’s picked up the offensive scheme big-time. I hope that’s all true, but nothing is like an actual full-speed game. As for the scheme, a $10-dollar play with 5-cent execution is only worth a nickel…

A final word on Rodgers. Thank God he broke up with Danica. Gag. She is way too self-absorbed and self-important for him, as he is plenty of each already and the combination was nauseating. He fancies himself a “Renaissance Man,” and that’s cool until it’s an obvious detriment and dis-traction to his play. Energy-sapping, mentally and phy-sically. Block out the Noise and stick to being the Quarterback of the Green Bay Packers. Make that the Focus

Focus. A common theme. What will be required for this team to go farther. Not the twisted focus of a 12-year old future serial killer on an anthill with a magnifying glass on a sunny day. A different Focus, one born from a world full of Noise: Good, bad, ugly, loud, even quiet, as Buddha says there is no true silence. I was sitting Indian-style on a mat in a hut in a forgotten dreamy mountain location, sun filtering through Asian blinds. Meditating. Soon, a fly began to buzz about me. I gathered the chopsticks in my left hand. My “off” hand. Eyes closed. Controlled breathing. Listening. Feeling the natural rhythm, the pattern, of the insect’s flight. Achieve symbiosis with the fly. Anticipate. React. Strike…

Feel the soft crunch through the chopsticks as the insect expires. The imagined lilt of a woodwind flute from some place unknown…

The Packers need to channel their inner David Carradine, not to walk the Earth and get into adventures, but for the Focus. If they do, it will be all about the Packers, because it is always about the Packers

OVERTIME: David LaFleur (aka “The Flower”) is (6-0) against the NFC North. Minnesota is in the NFC North. Further, Purple is the “color of sexual frus-tration.” Google it. Zippy update: By popular demand. I haven’t spoken with him and I don’t know where he is, other than it’s a flophouse, a ditch, or a correctional facility…no doubt wearing his Tommy Kramer jersey…

LOCKER ROOM: A loving and respectful shout out to my Dad, “Smilin’ Al Pringle,” The Old Watash. He has scored his last proverbial touchdown, hanging up the cleats for the last time. Recently retired from a Hall of Fame career spanning from law enforcement through a true Elkhart, Indiana trifecta of selling RVs, conversions, and cargo trailers, he takes his final walk down the tunnel and into the next chapter. Congrat-ulations and Happy Trails, Dad! 

Go, Pack, GO!!!
(Kraig Pringle)

Draft, What Draft?

 Hello my fellow Packer Backers!  Jake has tested negative, Drew is still a question mark, so no Wolf Pack with me on Sunday.  I haven’t seen them since the 9th of August, so I know I’m good.  That’s the Covid news from my end. 

I have been down on the Packers since the draft.  Not because of the team but because of the leadership of the teams.  The only free agent we signed was Devin Funchess, who I took to calling RONNNN FUNCHES!  Yeah, the fat guy from the Whitney Cummings show.  Both are slow, and kind of head-scratchers for what they are going to be used for.  Devin of course, has opted-out of this season, no word on what Ron is doing.  So there goes a WR.  Equanimious St. Brown (forever referred to from now until HOF induction as ESB) and Marquez Valdes-Scantling (also referred to as MVS) join Davante, Allen Lazard, and Malik Taylor, who played last year on the practice squad and made his way onto the 53-man roster.  Jake Kumerow who showed flashes of brilliance last season, was released and signed with Buffalo’s practice squad.  Yes, unfortunately, Football Jesus has left the Packers.

Now, as to why I am down on our leadership, other than Ron Funches.  Imagine you have a scouting report, a QB is in the draft, but he’s seen as a “project,” he may be good, he may not be, he needs coaching and a LOT of it.  You have a crap draft spot, do you trade your first and 2nd round draft pick and pick C.D. Lamb (OK), or Henry Ruggs or Jerry Jeudy (Roll Tide!), no.  You trade up 2 spots and get the project, when you’ve got a HOF QB who threw a “perfect” game in October and guided the team to the NFC Championship game, that we would have won if Mike Pettine could coach the Defense to STOP THE RUN!!  You get the project, when you haven’t drafted a skilled Offensive player in the first round since you drafted Aaron Charles Rodgers.  That was back in 2005.  So we’ve been making due with baling wire and spit.  THAT’S why I have a problem with our leadership.  Remember back in 2010, when Troy Aikman used to say, “How about that Aaron Rodgers and those weapons he’s got?”  We don’t hear that anymore.  Now it’s more like, “How’s Aaron Rodgers going to pull a rabbit and a win out this week?”

I went out into the interwebs to find an honest assessment of Jordan Love, other than what I heard in the draft and the “happy talk” that the Packers have around them.  Other than silly stories about how Aaron started drinking tequila when they drafted Love, for the most part it’s been, “meh.”  Love hasn’t progressed very quickly as a backup QB.  He’s still 3rd on the depth chart behind Tim Boyle.  Colin Cowherd, who I personally can’t stand, made a salient point, “When’s the last time you saw a QB who a team had such high hopes for, do so poorly in training camp?”  No one comes to mind.  I’ve seen QBs languish as backups before moving on…Ty Detmer and Mark Brunell were backups to Brett Favre, they did well, but the Gunslinger prevailed.   We’ve seen teams have the heir apparent hold the clipboard for a year getting a feel for the offense, but the team has been mum, saying they’re “enthused” about his progress.  Not exactly a glowing review. 

Now as far as that gloom and doom forecast goes, I don’t see it affecting the team this year.  We won the NFC North last season, sweeping all of our division foes.  I see that as a likely outcome this year.  The Lions, and Vikings and Bears (Oh My!) have all added pieces, but I don’t see anything the Packers can’t overcome.  We will be playing the Minor 49ers in SF again, the Iggles, all of the AFC and NFC South (Hi Tom!), tall orders, but we could make a run for the Lombardi Trophy and bring it back home.  A matching set of 5 at Lambeau would be a great view in 2021! 

Now remember folks, wash your hands, wear your mask, keep your distance.  We’re all in this together and 

Go Pack Go!
(Ken Hill)

Want Ads

 As I age, I find it harder to keep up with my club activities.  Case in point: I didn’t get started on this year until last Saturday.  So as of the end of this season, I along with Linda would like to pass along most of the duties to other dedicated members of THE GPB’ers.  We did receive help last year for many of the gameday duties like MC, Set-up & Pack-up and Linda & Marge did get some office help as well but many holes still exist for this year.

What I need to pass along are the mid-week duties I do.  There is balancing the books, buying prizes and supplies and other miscellaneous stuff like updating the database, printing roosters, pools and name tags.  This on top of being editor of the newsletter, the one position I would like to keep) can make for a part-time job.

None of the above, by itself, is hard to do or time consuming; what it takes is dedication.  In addition, we are always looking for new writers on the newsletter, even if you start on a one game basis.  In fact, that’s how Jimmy started many years ago.  You don’t need to know a lot about stats or game strategy (you can get them anywhere), we need you to write with a Packer passion, something we all have.

I am willing to work with someone(s) this year to make the transition seamless.  I love this club and hope it can continue far into the future. In my humble opinion, WE are THE BEST Packer Fan Club outside of Lambeau, hands down and with your help, I know it will always be!

Thanks. Linda & Packer John