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Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by Croak, Nov 24, 2010.

  1. Croak

    Croak Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I was sitting here with the smell of Thanksgiving preparations wafting through the air and began to reminisce.

    I remember a team which overcame important injuries, had an old defensive coordinator, some big fat guys on the defensive line, a fiery young QB who had real wheels when he needed to, a break open receiver and a slightly chunky head coach....ahhh...the '96 Packers. Can anybody think of any other similarities?
     
  2. PackersRS

    PackersRS Cheesehead

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    I was re-watching the Packers Minnesota game of 96, the first one, and it reminded me so much of this team.

    That team had lots of injuries, like we do, and the D was aggressive, and predicated on creating turnovers and scoring, like we do. Actually, watching the game, that D was less aggressive than ours, they allowed more big plays than we're allowing now.

    That O started slow, but once it got in a rythm, it was extremely hard to stop. Like our O.

    Go ahead and watch that season, that team was extremely similar to this team. There were some differences, though.

    We generate MORE pressure than they did. And we have a better secondary than they did.
    However, the 96' linebacking corps was much more active than ours. They were a better team against the run altogether.

    On offense, we have better perimeter players than they did. Greg Jennings, Doland Driver, James Jones and Jordy Nelson are much better than Brooks, Freeman, Beebe, Rison and Howard.
    But the TEs (without Finley) were much better, Chmura and Jackson and so were the RBs Bennet and Levens.
    The QB play was eerily similar, Favre missed more plays, but made more plays.
    And the OL was also similar, if you look at the tape and don't go by memory. They struggled, then settled down. Even the RT changed midway.

    The biggest difference between that team and this was ST play. Howard, Heintrich and Jacke were key factors in winning that SB.
     
  3. aaronqb

    aaronqb Cheesehead

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    Go Packers
     
  4. PackersRS

    PackersRS Cheesehead

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    Guess you're right. Again, was going out of memory. The Brooks injury and the Freeman took a toll on our offense for a stretch, but yeah, it's nothing compared to what we have now...
     
  5. Croak

    Croak Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Some of the guys you listed were brought in because of injuries. The IR list doesn't tell the whole story.
     
  6. Kitten

    Kitten Feline Cheesehead Staff Member Super Moderator

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    Yes. There is not only a similarity of circumstance (injuries, QB) but I also feel a similar sort of feeling as I did then. I know it sounds odd but I can't help feeling Reggie's spirit is somehow strong within this team. It's a sense of spirit, something that's not physically tangible but exists in essence. It's just a feeling you get when you watch this team, and you just believe. You just have faith without question, it simply exists. I had that same feeling with the '96 team as I do now. This team has a spirit, they don't quit, it is what makes a champion. Perseverance. The ability to overcome all for the spirit and love of the game. That spirit transcends everything and may it lead to glory even greater than a SB title.
     
  7. Croak

    Croak Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    To expand a little more, the 96 Packers were not nearly injury free. They had an OL shuffle going on at both guard and tackle, Reuttgers was lost in that one. Starting receivers were injured on and off, bring in Rison. Starting TE was injured on and off. Sean Jones had been added to the team on D because of injuries. Reggie was battling injuries (though he said God healed him). They might not have had quite as many injuries as this year, but they still had plenty that kept us sweating bullets each week.
     
  8. Big Dan

    Big Dan Cheesehead

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    I'm not sure about that part. Jennings is the best of the bunch as a deep threat, but Freeman was no slouch by any means.

    I love Driver, but Robert Brooks was the best over-the-middle receiver I ever saw. He was absolutely monstrous in YAC, turning a lot of those quick slants into big gains. It's too bad his career was cut way too short by injury.

    If I had to pick Jones & Nelson or Rison & Bebe for my 3rd and 4th receivers, I'd take Rison and Bebe. Any one of the 4 are/were big-play capable, but I think Rison & Bebe were more reliable. Jones & Nelson just have too many drops and missed assignments. If and when they "grow out of it" that call could quite possibly go the other way.

    I kind of left Desmond Howard out on purpose. He was an okay receiver, but what he did on Special Teams was incomparable, and I agree that the '96 Special Teams were lightyears ahead of this year's. We don't have anyone on this year's team to even try and make a comparison to Howard on Special Teams.

    It's close, but if I had to pick either the '96 group as a whole or today's group as a whole, I'd take the '96 group.
     
  9. PackersRS

    PackersRS Cheesehead

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    I've been re-watching the whole season, and I still believe the 10' receivers are better. Specially Jennings. We made a lot about Robert Brooks back then, but Jennings is a much better receiver.

    About YAC after slants, Favre is the best slant thrower of all time, even better than Montana. Rodgers struggles with slants. He consistantly throws them behind the receiver. While 95% of them are catchable, it makes it really hard for them to run with it after the catch.

    In contrast, Rodgers is one of the best deep ball throwers I've ever seen. When he's on a rythm, he throws it perfectly. The ball just falls onto the receiver's hands.

    In comparison, Jennings is better than Brooks in every aspect but catching in traffic. Driver is just better than Freeman, more reliable, and as good as getting yac. Jones is a better receiver than Beebe, but Beebe was much more consistant. And Nelson is different than Rison. He's more of a possession receiver, and is a much better run blocker.
     
  10. Big Dan

    Big Dan Cheesehead

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    That's where we differ. Over all I'd rank them:
    1. Jennings
    2. Brooks
    3. Driver
    4. Freeman
    5. Rison
    6. Jones
    7. Bebe
    8. Nelson
    Rison over Jones, and Bebe over Nelson are based purely on consistency. I think that's really important in the 3 & 4 spots. If Jones and Nelson can become more consistent I'd go Jones, Nelson, Rison, Bebe as 5 through 8. If Jones gets consistent, the sky's the limit.
     
  11. PackersRS

    PackersRS Cheesehead

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    I can agree with that.
    But even then, don't you think that the distance between Jennings and Brooks and Driver and Freeman is bigger than Rison to Jones and Beebe to Nelson?

    And moreso, don't you think that, when evaluating wr corps, the #1 and #2 are much more important than the #3 and #4, thus if the 10' team has a better #1 and #2, than they have a better receiving corps altogether?

    That
    Jennings > Brooks > Rison > Jones
    Driver > Freeman Beebe > Nelson
    ?
     
  12. Croak

    Croak Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    A sort of list of the '96 injuries (I say sort of because these were guys who were slated to see playing time and missed games because of injuries.)

    Chris Darkins HB - dislocated shoulder in Aug.
    Wayne Simmons LB - Knee in Aug.
    Antonio Freeman WR - Kneck in Aug.
    Bob Kuberski NT - Knee in Aug.
    Mike Flanagan C - Broken leg in Aug.
    Matt Dorsett CB - blown knee in Aug.
    Ken Reuttgers OL - knee, pup in Aug.
    Lindsay Knapp G - blown knee in Aug.
    James Bostic RB - blown ACL in Aug.
    Brian Satterfield FB - hammy possibly IR in Sept.
    Gilbert Brown DT - knee in Sept.
    Marco Rivera OL - unspecified missed games in Sept.
    Derrick Mayes WR - unspecified missed games in Sept.
    Keith McKenzie DE - ankle in Sept.
    Robert Brooks WR - Concussion in Sept.
    Doug Evans CB - leg in Sept.
    John Michels LT - MCL in Oct.
    Robert Brooks WR - sprained knee in Oct.
    Earl Dotson RT - sprained ankle in Oct.
    Edgar Bennett RB - sprained shoulder in Oct.
    Antonio Freeman WR - Broken arm in Oct. (at that point in the end of Oct. the Packers had only 3 healthy WRs)
    Eugene Robinson FS - sprained ankle in Nov.
    Mark Chmura TE - sprained arch in Nov.
    (No Brooks and no Freeman; Mickens and Morgan are the receivers at this point; remember them? Talk of signing Andre Rison begins in Mid November)
    Sean Jones DE - ankle in Nov.
    Jim McMahon backup QB - ribcage in Dec.
    Roderick Mullen DB - MCL in Dec.

    This just goes to show that everything wasn't all rosey that year. If you go back over each of the games from that year you will see some real struggling with positions and who to activate and who to leave on the bench. It was a great year, but not an easy one.
     
  13. Big Dan

    Big Dan Cheesehead

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    I can't call it. It's all very close. I tend to I think I'd still take the '96 crew though.

    Another way to look at it would be that if you took the 4 receivers from 2010 and put them with Favre in '96, I think production would have been less over all. Jennings would be an absolute monster no doubt, and Driver would catch the slants from Favre, but I still don't think he could have turned them into what Brooks did. The inconsistency of Jones and Nelson coupled with Favre's wildness, especially back then, would have been absolutely disastrous.

    Conversely, if you put the 4 guys from '96 with Aaron Rodgers today I think production would go up over all. Imagine if all the drops were catches, or even if 60% of 'em were catches. Our offensive numbers would be just stupid-crazy.

    Ideally, I'd take Jennings, Brooks, Driver, and Freeman with Jones as the greatest number 5 that ever lived. But taking the groups as a whole, I'd still have to go with the '96 guys. But like I said earlier, if Jones & Nelson get their consistency up it would most likely go the other way. 1 & 2 are definitely the most important, but we run so many 3 wide, 4 wide, and even 5 wide sets that 3 & 4 aren't too far behind 1 & 2 as far as importance goes.
     
  14. aaronqb

    aaronqb Cheesehead

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    retire
     
  15. aaronqb

    aaronqb Cheesehead

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    retire
     
  16. Croak

    Croak Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I understand you think IR missed games played is a good indication, but if you will notice the list I posted above, a number of guys on the '96 team missed multiple games and were never placed on IR.

    We didn't have the same league restrictions there are today with some of these things. So Wolf was not obligated to use IR as much as they do today. McCarthy has had to use IR to keep players on the roster and still fill spots. Some players in '96 were ditched because of injuries. But if you will again notice the list I posted, those were all starters who missed playing time. I didn't list all of the back up guys except for the one backup of significance, McMahon.

    I think playing several weeks with only three healthy receivers (until they got Rison on the field) was a significant accomplishment as well.

    In short, that team in '96 had a lot of injuries who missed a lot of games, just not a lot of guys on IR.
     
  17. Murgen

    Murgen MechaPackzilla

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    You have to take the 96 crew cause they proved they could win a SB and get to another one the next year. This crew is good, maybe great (time will tell) but until they win a SB, it's impossible to say they are better than 96.

    Another question is coaching, Holmgren vs McCarthy.

    The fact that we can compare the 96 team and the 2010 team is a good sign imo.
     
  18. aaronqb

    aaronqb Cheesehead

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    yup 1996 was great
     
  19. Croak

    Croak Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I didn't list guys who were "nicked". Reggie was "nicked" and I didn't list him. Favre was "nicked" and I didn't list him. I listed guys who missed games due to injuries according to post game reports. And I didn't say they were as dinged up as this years team. I said they were also facing a lot of injuries.

    The line above says there were virtually no injuries on defense in '96 but the game reports themselves prove this to be inaccurate.
    Simmons, Brown, Evans, Robinson, and Jones were all reported not to have played in multiple games due to injury. In some cases they might have suited up but still did not play according to reports.

    Kuberski and Dorsett were lost for the season at the beginning of the season. Roderick Mullen was done for the year in December. Add those to the guys who missed other games and that seems like a lot of defensive injuries to me.

    Do you remember the '96 season? I kept telling my son, if guys keep going down, the team was done for the season and he kept telling me; "Ya gotta have faith Pops."

    It's too easy to look at the success of the '96 team through rose colored glasses. That was one tough year. I remember my co-workers getting on me every time something went wrong that year and there were a lot of times. When we had a big Super Bowl bash, most of them were rooting against the Packers, thinking the Packers couldn't win. I got the last laugh.
     
  20. aaronqb

    aaronqb Cheesehead

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    good work
     
  21. Croak

    Croak Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Reuttgers was a tough decision for Wolf. There was great debate on whether to let him go or give him his shot. He did indeed get well enough to play, then re-aggravated his injury and they decided to unload him. He was a starter.

    And I would include Bigby and Harris for this year. (Harris because he practiced some and was a starter) I'm not sure about Jolly. It would depend on if he missed any games this year or just partial games?

    In any event, my point is not that this year's team hasn't faced injuries. We all know it has. My point is that the '96 team also faced a lot of troubling injuries in which a lot of players had to step up and some had to be shuffled around. For a while in '96 we had a rotating offensive line and defensive line because of injuries. Then the receiver fiasco hit and really threw a monkey wrench into things. Ron Wolf and Mike Holmgren did a masterful job of keeping the team in it.

    I remember a lot because I still have old "Sporting News" and the old paper "Packer Report" magazines from that year (so it's not all memory, some of it is cheating) and a SI or two from that year. Nowadays the Packer Report is all glossy and only comes out once a month.

    Of course I still have an old Babe Parilli football card from the Packers too (along with Hornung and an early Starr card). I'm a pack rat of sorts.
     
  22. aaronqb

    aaronqb Cheesehead

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    retire
     
  23. Croak

    Croak Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Reuttgers played against the Buccaneers and the Lions. This is from the Lions game;

    "Packers left tackle Ken Ruettgers came out of the game favoring his left knee after a Packers extra-point attempt in the third period. He was replaced by John Michels, who had opened at left tackle before giving way to Ruettgers on the Packers' first series in the second quarter.
    "He seemed to be OK in the locker room," Packers coach Mike Holmgren said of Ruettgers. "He got it tweaked a little bit."


    He came in and played against the Chiefs the following week. He played against the Cowboys after that, then retired due to a "degenerative knee".
     

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