OVER-ALL.-This is a Detroit team on the way back but it still has a far way to go. The rookie crop is a good one; from it must come help for the offensive line, and from it, or outside, must come another adequate quarterback. Earl Morrall, in his fifth season as a pro quarterback, could take the small step forward which separates the journeyman from the master. So could Ninowski, who spent two quiet pro years as understudy to Milt Plum of the Browns. But all in all there are many, too many ifs with this hard-hitting team.
GREEN BAY PACKERS
COACH: VINCE LOMBARDI
1959 RECORD: W 7, L 5, TIED FOR 3RD
1960 EXHIBITIONS: W 5, L 0
Bart Starr guided the Packers to four straight wins at the end of last season and appears finally to have come of age. If he falters, Lamar McHan, who did well last season until injured, could have another hot streak. Either way the Packers have a mature passing game. Center Jim Ringo makes the passers secure. Receivers ( Boyd Dowler, Max McGee and Lew Carpenter) are rangy and adept at getting open.
The versatile Paul Hornung is nearly a carbon copy of the Giants' Frank Gifford. Jim Taylor, in addition, is a hard-running, fast-improving fullback. Rookie Tom Moore will add depth to the backfield, but the Packers need a good breakaway back if they are to field a sound, steady running offense.
Ancient Emlen Tunnell, a veteran of 12 years in pro football, is the stabilizer and the on-field brain of the Packer pass defense. Under his guiding hand, the young Packer secondary developed well last year, should be even better this year with Willie Wood taking firm hold of the right safety position. Lombardi has a very quick trio of linebackers to defend against the short pass.
A patchwork line assembled from trades, rookies and castoffs worked very well for Lombardi in 1959. With a year's experience behind them and with more good rookies on hand, the front line of the Packer defense should be improved. The linebackers need no improvement.
OVER-ALL: Lombardi was the best coach in the NFL last season. Under his driving leadership, the confused, dispirited Packers were welded into a cohesive whole. Because he did not have enough good runners, he lacked a strong ground attack. Even so, the Packers ended 1959 on a winning note. With two good passers who have gained greater confidence during the last two years, and with measurably greater backfield depth, Lombardi's team should be able to stand the erosion of a full season and even improve on its standing.
LOS ANGELES RAMS
COACH: BOB WATERFIELD
1959 RECORD: W 2, L 10, FINISHED 6TH
1960 EXHIBITIONS: W 4, L 1