Chicago has junked its complicated system that required the quarterback to read innumerable keys and direct the line-blocking assignments. Bobby Douglass now lets the linemen figure out their blocking angles for themselves. And under the new system he has shown improvement. Still, the Bears essentially will be a running team with the strong Douglass doing much of the legwork or handing off to Jim Harrison, Cyril Pinder or rookie Roger Lawson. The offensive line is a jumble of player switches. It is counting, perhaps prematurely, on Chicago's No. 1 draft pick, Lionel Antoine from Southern Illinois.
At Green Bay Coach Dan Devine has a master plan—don't all coaches?—which is to turn the Packers into a juggernaut. They traded Donny Anderson to St. Louis for 220-pound Halfback MacArthur Lane who runs hard, blocks well and holds on to the ball, a knack Anderson never acquired. Matching Lane with John Brockington, the NFC's top rusher, Devine expects to recapture the wonderful days of Jim Taylor and Paul Hornung. The line is solid, particularly in the middle where recently acquired Guard Malcolm Snider eases the burden on Gale Gillingham. But what then? "Since Bart Starr retired to coach Scott Hunter, the improvement has been amazing," says Brockington. " Starr's a wizard. Even Jerry Tagge [the rookie from Nebraska] looks as if he'll help us this year. That's the wizard again." There is the question of whom Hunter and Tagge will throw to. Only that worthy ancient, Carroll Dale, has the proven ability to shake loose. Provisionally, the Packers will rely on the running of Lane and Brockington.
The team cannot depend upon the punishing hitting of the defense, however, mostly because it is not punishing. The secondary, easily whipsawed, is inexperienced, and the front line seldom gets to the passer. To put it in a kit bag, all the Packers can do this year is smile, smile, smile.