Confessions of a Polluted Mindset - June 24 2020

The Weekly Packers Brain Drain from Jersey Al.

Packers Legacy:  (things I didn't know - or forgot).  In 1940, College Football was much bigger than Pro Football. During that time, there was also an annual exhibition game in August pitting a College All-Star Team against the reigning NFL Champions. The Packers played the college team at Soldier Field, where 84,000 fans watched Green Bay "upset" the All-Stars by a convincing 45-28 score. The win meant so much to Curly Lambeau that in an interview later on in his life, he called it his greatest victory and accomplishment as a head coach - bigger than any of his six NFL championships.

In November of that same year, the Packers became the first NFL team to fly to a road game. They arranged to fly to NY for a game against the Giants. They took a train to Chicago and boarded a flight for NY. The plane had to stop to refuel in Cleveland but could not complete the trip due to fog conditions in NY, So the team boarded another train for the rest of the trip. 

In 1950, the Packers were struggling to stay solvent and remain in Green Bay. Packers (worthless) stock was being sold door to door, at the paper mills and friend to friend for $25 a share. They were also desperate for fans and came up with the very first "ladies day" in the NFL, looking to cultivate new fans. Soon after the "Women's Quarterback Club" was established and over 700 women attended the first meeting. Personally, whenever I visit Green Bay I'm always stuck by the inordinate number of rabid female football fans I meet, many of them senior citizens. Now I realize where it all came from.

Tramon Williams: maybe I'm just being sentimental, but I sure wish this guy was going to be back on the field and in the Packers' locker room this season.

 

Samkon Gado: Many of us remember Gado bursting on the Packers' scene as a rookie after Ahman Green and Najeh Davenport both suffered season-ending injuries. That was his only season with the Packers (he bounced around other teams for a few more years), but for Gado, football was just a diversion from his dreams of a career in medicine. Well not only is he now a surgeon, together with his sister, they have formed an organization that aims to establish what is sorely missing in his homeland of Nigeria: a basic health-care network of local-doctor owned clinics to meet the critical needs of the Nigerian people. Samkon Gado is winning at life.

Aaron Rodgers: I've seen/heard a lot of discussion lately on whether Rodgers is still a top 10 quarterback in this league. A good number of people seem to think he's not. I think that's crazy. People are throwing around names like Carson Wentz, Dak Prescott, even Matt Stafford. These guys are better than Aaron Rodgers? Um, no.

Al Johnson's: Well it seems that to some people, providing a nice tall grass-lined roof for goats to graze on is "demeaning" to goats. The goats are free to do what they want . Have these people ever been to a petting zoo? SMH...  This story really gets my goat. (collective groan...) Oh, and goats or not, if you're ever up in Sister Bay, this is a must-go-to for breakfast. Lingonberries and Door County cherries are big items on the menu.

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"Jersey Al" Bracco is the Editor-In-Chief, part owner and wearer of many hats for CheeseheadTV.com and PackersTalk.com. He is also a recovering Mason Crosby truther.  

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Comments (48)

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RCPackerFan's picture

June 24, 2020 at 07:06 am

Packers Legacy:
I really need to watch this stuff!

Tramon Williams:
I wonder if they have him saved as one of the top contacts of guys to call right away. I would like to see Williams back. But I would also like to see them go after a DL.

Samkon Gado:
One of my favorite stories of a former Packers player. How many players come in and made the impact he made on the field and made a bigger one off the field.

Aaron Rodgers:
Rodgers has regressed in some ways the last few years. He is no longer the most talented QB in the league. That will go to Mahomes. The biggest problem is with consistency. He will make the wow throws and then just not throw it to a wide open target. That being said when I see that Brees and Brady are still considered in the top 10 by some people and Rodgers isn't? That is just wrong. Brees who can barely throw it 40 yards is considered a top 10 QB? Carson Wentz is a top 10 talent but he is not better then Rodgers at this point. Prescott is an average QB. He is ok, not great, not terrible. But ok. Makes him average. Stafford is a stats QB. He is a guy who will get the big yard #'s, usually because his team is trailing. Ask all 3 of those teams if they would start those guys over Rodgers. They all would say no. There are not many teams that would start their QB over Rodgers if they had that option.

Al Johnson's:
I have never seen anything about this.
People need to find a hobby then to worry about where a goat gets food from. Demeaning to goats? Wow, people are bored.

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dobber's picture

June 24, 2020 at 11:19 am

"Prescott is an average QB. He is ok, not great, not terrible. But ok. Makes him average. "

Depends on how you're qualifying this...he completely filled the stat page in 2019. Big yardage, good TD-INT numbers. Added yards on the ground. From an FFL perspective, he probably was a mid-late pick last summer that won some people their leagues. He's flashy, and he's going to get paid big.

The team, though, was 8-8 (0-4 in 1-score games), and frequently the QB gets way too much blame and too much credit for a team's record. This was a team that didn't win a game unless it ran away and hid in 2019-- 8 wins, at least 34 points scored in each win, but averaged less than 17 points in their losses. Only beat two winning teams all year (Philly, Rams) but both finished 9-7. Top team in yardage in 2019, top 10 defense. They were 5-1 in their own division...and STILL missed the playoffs. So what's up there?

I don't think the rest of the NFCE improved dramatically, so they could run away with that division...if games are actually played.

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Guam's picture

June 24, 2020 at 07:35 am

Tramon has been a wonderful Packer, but he is also 37. I don't know of many 37 year old CBs in the history of the NFL.

The goats at Al Johnson's are well cared for. They are brought in from a farm in the morning and returned to the farm in the evening. They are mountain goats and accustomed to steep slopes and have access to water and other food on the roof. If you go to Al Johnson's, plan on waiting awhile as they don't take reservations and the wait can be lengthy. It is also worth the wait.

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dobber's picture

June 24, 2020 at 11:01 am

Anyone who has had goats knows that their ending up on the roof was only a matter of time, anyway.

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murf7777's picture

June 25, 2020 at 07:52 am

Charles Woodson left GB after his 36th birthday and played three more years. At age 39 he had 5 interceptions. I agree it’s unusual,but Williams was rated as above average last year with little noticeable decline. I’d sign him for his leadership as well.

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gkarl's picture

June 24, 2020 at 07:37 am

Packers Legacy
Let's here it for all the female GBP fans.

Tramon WIlliams
I hope its only this crazy off season that is keeping the Packers from signing him.

Samkon Gado
Living proof that there is more to life than football

AR
Only in fantasy football is he not top 10 and that's even debatable.

Al Johnson
How else is the guy suppose to mow his roof.

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PeteK's picture

June 24, 2020 at 07:42 am

Packers lost to the Allstars in 63, players paid for it in training camp. Another defunct game was the consolation bowl comprised of teams that lost the last round of the playoffs, Lombardi called it the Shit Bowl.

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Jonathan Spader's picture

June 24, 2020 at 05:19 pm

Sounds like the perfect place for the Browns

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mrtundra's picture

June 24, 2020 at 07:57 am

Al Johnson's was a favorite stop of ours when we would visit Door County. Love them lingonberries! Loved us some Samkon, too! Watching him gain big yards running really made us feel what it means to be Packers fans. Stepping up is what we do! Glad to hear he is making a difference for people in Nigeria!

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NickPerry's picture

June 24, 2020 at 08:11 am

I heard Rodgers was off some list on the podcast, 'Locked on Packers. IMO most of these lists are just time fillers before the season, but the list he talked about on Locked on Packers was stupid as hell too. Matter of fact IIRC the dude doing the pod cast who also writes for APC and SB Nation mentioned Rodgers name was in the title of the story for NOT being on the list.

YES, Rodgers has lost a little something something BUT his biggest loss has come in the WR room. Last season the Packers were doing a lot of figuring out with their wide receivers while Rodgers was playing in a new offense for the first time in his career. Adams is a stud and I like Lazard. I'm really hoping that St. Brown makes a huge jump because I'm really not that keen on Funchess being my best #3 option and that's as long as Lazard continues to grow. Never have a seen a QB who was still being debated as the GOAT in 2017 fall so quickly. His talent in the WR room fell...BIG TIME!

This has been Gutes biggest issues so far as GM. I don't want to call it a "Failure" yet because I'm still hoping guys like EQ, MVS, and even Funchess work out. But Gute hasn't done a great job of putting talent at the WR position in Rodgers last few seasons. BUT...I have a feeling this could be one of Rodgers finest years in GB. I doubt he'll throw 45 TD's this year but with all the negative press, the Jordan Love pick, and the disrespect he no doubt feels, this could really be one his finest seasons ever.

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RCPackerFan's picture

June 24, 2020 at 10:20 am

I'm with you on most of this Nick.

Rodgers has declined some. But of the decline what has declined the most. Himself or the players around him. Pretty simple it was the players around him. He has 1 Star and the rest were all 5th round - UDFA types of Receivers.

Honestly I don't want to put all the blame on Gutey for the WR issues. This has started with Thompson. From 2005-2008 he spent 4 draft picks on WR's in the 2nd or 3rd rounds. From 2009 - 2017 he spent 3 picks on WR's in the 2nd or 3rd rounds. The talent drop off started in the the mid 2010's.

I also have a feeling this could be one of Rodgers best! It will be his 2nd year with the new system. It takes time to learn it. It will be LaFleurs 2nd year as the HC and he will have more understanding of how to work with Rodgers. The talent at WR is pretty decent and I do believe LaFleur will have figured out how to use them to their strengths more. And while they didn't add a WR in the last 2 drafts, they have added 2 high round TE's and a RB. Also having a full offseason to implement Ervin into the offense could become huge for the offense.
The style of offense that LaFleur wants to run is more based on the RB's and TE's. I would say that those positions have really improved since last year. I also do believe the WR's will be better. Allison was terrible. If EQ or Funchess is better then him, its already an upgrade. Also, Lazard, MVS will have another year under their belts to learn from. I think Lazard and MVS could take major steps this year. EQ could have a big role as well.

The talent around Rodgers has improved as well has the scheme. And like you said about the negative press and drafting Love he will be ready to set the world on fire.

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dobber's picture

June 24, 2020 at 11:24 am

"This has been Gutes biggest issues so far as GM. I don't want to call it a "Failure" yet because I'm still hoping guys like EQ, MVS, and even Funchess work out."

If BG is going to end up failing, it will be because early draft guys like Oren Burks, Josh Jackson, Rashan Gary, Jordan Love, etc., don't help to support the big-contract guys on the roster. I would argue against labeling a GM a failure because some late-round picks don't develop. But I agree in that the braintrust seems to be willing to take their chances by bringing knives to gunfights, and hoping they can turn the gunfights into swordfights.

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Since'61's picture

June 24, 2020 at 09:17 am

AL - I agree, there was something new to learn throughout the legacy series. I’ve watched it twice now, trying to fill in for the fact that I don’t have my Yankees to watch this season. Also rewatching my collection of Lombardi era CDs.

As for Rodgers he may no longer be the best QB in the league physically but he is still the smartest and on his good days still plays as well as any QB in the league. Mahomes May currently be the best but Rodgers is only slightly behind and makes up for it with his experience.
Everyone be well. Thanks, Since ‘61

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Leatherhead's picture

June 24, 2020 at 12:20 pm

61.......I think people are missing the point on Rodgers

I didn’t think it was going to work with Rodgers and LaFleur. Old, set-in-his-ways QB legend meets young, rookie coach.....it hasn’t been a very successful formula. One of the exceptions is when McCarthy/Favre went to the championship game in their second year. It was their final game together.

I thought the team would struggle. It didn’t. It won week after week by protecting the ball, getting takeaways, and executing in the red zone. Our punter and kicker rarely hurt us.

As long as we can keep Rodgers protected, and if he doesn’t have to carry the whole load, we’re in business. That’s going to mean more rushing and less passing. It’s going to mean throwing it away instead of taking sacks so his completion % is down a few points. It’s going to mean fewer completions, for fewer yards and fewer TDs.

It also means our QB stays healthy, and our winning percentage with a healthy Aaron Rodgers is a helluva lot better than without, so ultimately we win more.

I also think The Plan at 1265 involves putting an offense on the field that can win without an HOFer at QB or the highest offensive payroll in the league. I think we’re seeing some different economic thinking in Green Bay .

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dobber's picture

June 24, 2020 at 03:37 pm

" It’s going to mean throwing it away instead of taking sacks so his completion % is down a few points. It’s going to mean fewer completions, for fewer yards and fewer TDs."

We disagree here in that if Rodgers does what he's supposed to do in this offense his completion pct should improve to beyond his career 64.6% (the last two seasons he's been below 63%). Frankly, in this offense he should be moving the chains, turning some of his throwaways (where the narrative is that he makes too many) into dumpoffs, and completing 2/3 of his passes. If that's the case, he'll be completing 2-4 more passes per game and likely not falling off on completions compared to the last couple years even if they do run the ball 2-4 more times per game to get closer to 45%.

"It won week after week by protecting the ball, getting takeaways, and executing in the red zone. "

It won by the skin of its teeth too many times to count on in 2020. I'm not going to point to injury luck (e.g. Mahomes) simply because you play the team on your schedule when they're scheduled. Still, this team had great outcomes in one-score games that you just can't count on. I think they made key changes in coaching staff and in locker room leaders that makes this team much more resilient than their 2017 and 2018 predecessors. I think this was a team that took the field believing it's going to win. That goes a long way, but it could be more efficient on offense and play similar defense and still see a regression in record that leads them to come up shy on the playoffs this season.

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Leatherhead's picture

June 24, 2020 at 04:44 pm

Dobber....Lombardi won some skin of the teeth games too. Winning close games isn’t luck.

If Rodgers throws away one pass each game instead of taking the sack, it lowers his completion % by 3 points and keeps sixteen hard shots off his body. It also saves about 100 yards. I think its a good trade off , but people point to the lower completion percentage as a sign of decline. It isn’t.

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dobber's picture

June 24, 2020 at 05:42 pm

Over the last two seasons, nobody has thrown away more passes than Aaron Rodgers. At 79, nobody is even close.
https://www.pro-football-reference.com/years/2018/passing_advanced.htm

I don't think throwing the ball away has been a problem for him.

"Lombardi won some skin of the teeth games too. Winning close games isn’t luck."

My statement is similar (note comment about resilience and 'tude), but making hay through winning tight games is something that isn't predictable or sustainable. There is always an element of luck in every game...and I would argue moreso in close games.

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Coldworld's picture

June 24, 2020 at 06:27 pm

Everybody wins games by the skin of their teeth at times. If it’s just a matter of scores, closeness can be deceiving, but if its a game that comes down to a lucky bounce or a last minute play then there was considerable luck involved. Any team coming off the field with a win in those circumstances knows it didn’t have control. If you don’t have control it could easily have gone the other way on another day and luck can be capricious.

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Leatherhead's picture

June 24, 2020 at 09:49 am

Al Johnson’s is one of the coolest places I’ve ever eaten.

Tramon Williams is old. He was never a particularly aggressive run defender and teams are targeting him in the passing game. Must move on.

Aaron Rodgers is plenty good enough to win with. He executes the offense and protects the ball. What else do you need?

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Oppy's picture

June 24, 2020 at 06:33 pm

I need Aaron Rodgers to execute the offense, that's what else I need.

While of course, there is some amount of shine wearing off of a QB's arm as he reaches his mid 30's, that's not the issue with Rodgers at all. It is his over protective nature and his resistance to execute the offense as designed that has dropped his status among the top tier QBs in the league.

Rodgers is still a top 3 arm talent in the NFL. Where he's slipping is found entirely between his ears -- it's all attitude and decision making. He'd be easily the most prolific QB in the league if he started running the offense as its drawn up and got the ball out on time in progression.

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PhantomII's picture

June 24, 2020 at 09:01 pm

Yep, Move the chains....and good things will happen.

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Stroh's picture

June 24, 2020 at 09:11 pm

Totally agree about executing the offense. Last year had far too much of Rodgers going back to the McCarthy playbook and making up plays on the fly. No more of that! He's got to execute Lafleur's offense as its designed to be successful this year, not defaulting back to the McCarthy plays. If he does, the ball comes out on time, more short/intermediate completions and a strong running game will keep him healthy and more productive.

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GLM's picture

June 28, 2020 at 08:08 pm

You're right. Love me some Aaron, but he needs to remember that sometimes, you have to take what the defense gives you... you never know... that dump-off pass you put in one of your playmakers' hands could turn into something big...

I might add that offensive plays need to take that into account and put those playmakers in the right position to make something out of nothing.

.. and... I don't think the goats are offended... at... all.

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Tingham's picture

June 24, 2020 at 10:31 am

Al,
ISWYDT
First a few words on the GOAT.
Then a few words on the goats.

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13TimeChamps's picture

June 24, 2020 at 10:40 am

Samkon Gado and Olympian Eric Heiden. Two athletes with Wisconsin ties (Heiden was actually from WI of course), who went on to even more rewarding careers in the medical field post football and speed skating.

"Heiden was offered many sponsorship opportunities after his record-setting performance in the 1980 Winter Olympics, but turned down most of them, saying he had enough money, and preferred the anonymity." Can you imagine a professional athlete with that attitude today?

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Ferrari-Driver's picture

June 27, 2020 at 01:42 pm

Can't quite fathom anyone giving that post a thumbs down.

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Point-Packer's picture

June 24, 2020 at 10:41 am

Frankly, hanging out on a roof full of green lush grass all day seems pretty darn nice during these times.

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PeteK's picture

June 24, 2020 at 12:33 pm

Goat cheese is damn good.

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marpag1's picture

June 25, 2020 at 02:27 am

So are goats if you cook them right.

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packerbackerjim's picture

June 25, 2020 at 06:17 pm

Goats Head Soup. So say the Stones.

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splitpea1's picture

June 24, 2020 at 11:38 am

Glad to hear about Gado--I have a couple of relatives who attended Liberty at the same time as he did. They don't know anything about football, but they sure knew who he was (he made first team on the all-conference team in 2004) and that he played for the Packers.

Currently Mr. Gado specializes in otolaryngology (treatment of ears, nose, and throat).

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ricky's picture

June 24, 2020 at 11:47 am

Thanks on the head's up on not demeaning goats. That means the next time my wife tells me I smell like a goat, I can tell her she's being insensitive, and goat-phobic.

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stockholder's picture

June 24, 2020 at 12:00 pm

The packers had to move on from Williams. 1. They need the money. 2. It's also the best way to judge Guteys drafts. Either you trust Gutey or you hang him. Jackson needs to feel wanted. And the secondary is no longer about rookies. Rodgers still has that great field intelligence. Talk isn't anything to worry about. INTs are!

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Coldworld's picture

June 24, 2020 at 02:31 pm

One could argue that the reason that they moved on is the emergence of Sullivan. If a player is good you play him. Sullivan earned the move up.

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Stroh's picture

June 24, 2020 at 09:21 pm

Sullivan earned a chance, but going from playing about 20% of downs to 80% or so, gives the offenses alot more chances to find his weeknesses and start taking advantage of him. I think Tramon will be a phone call away if that happens. I wouldn't count Tramon out just yet. Sullivan has to prove he's capable to keep it, but he's at least earned the chance.

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greengold's picture

June 24, 2020 at 12:39 pm

Call me sentimental too, Al. I would love to see Tramon back with the Packers this season, but I'm resigned to the fact this is one of those incredibly "tough" decisions for Gutekunst. I trust his judgement, and I'm sure he's weighing age/speed/cap factors like everyone else. His production was stellar last season. Being so tight on the cap, I'm guessing his age and vet min salary are the two greatest roadblocks to bringing him back for another year.

As for Rodgers, I firmly believe he'll put each and every doubter to shame this season. Every one of them. This will be his 2nd year in a system he more firmly understands, with an expanded playbook and better skill players around him at nearly every position. Aaron Rodgers is going to LIGHT IT UP, all the way to another Super Bowl victory, if they allow this season to be played. I firmly believe that. Cheers!

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

June 24, 2020 at 01:41 pm

Pankukas (Latvian crepes or thin pancakes) with lingonberries are wonderful. Any jam works as to other things. Lingonberries grow wild in the Scandinavian countries and the Baltic area, but they cannot be commercially produced in most of those places. In many of those countries, people have the right to pick the wild berries even if they have to go onto someone else's private property. I have pankukas with various jams and many other fillings at least every month. Thank God my wife taught my children how to make authentic pankukas.

AR is top 7 at any rate. He needs to learn to see the horizontal parts of the field and not just the vertical routes. And to release it on crossers and the like early enough to give the receiver a two way go.

Gado is a wonderful story. Would that I had done as much in life as he is apparently accomplishing.

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JerseyAl's picture

June 24, 2020 at 02:02 pm

I am also a big fan of those crepes. My Italian/Croatian mother would make them. They were called palachinke and always rolled up with jam/jelly inside.

https://www.thespruceeats.com/croatian-pancakes-crepes-palacinke-recipe-...

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

June 25, 2020 at 03:28 am

Club soda, huh? Maybe I can get my sons to try adding club soda, but tradition might dictate otherwise.

I would not have had the temerity to enter my bride's kitchen and alter her recipe, but I suppose I can cook them myself and thus override mere sons, even if they are adults now.

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croatpackfan's picture

June 25, 2020 at 07:42 am

Soda makes pancakes crispy!

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croatpackfan's picture

June 25, 2020 at 07:43 am

double post

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croatpackfan's picture

June 25, 2020 at 07:24 am

Hello 1/4 of Croat there... ;-)

I did not know that fact. Do you know from which region of Croatia was your grandparents?

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dobber's picture

June 24, 2020 at 03:20 pm

Jelly -- good
crepes -- good
jelly + crepes -- GOOD!

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

June 25, 2020 at 03:18 am

A pankuke for you, Dobber!

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dobber's picture

June 25, 2020 at 01:11 pm

Make mine a double, TGR!

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marpag1's picture

June 25, 2020 at 02:24 am

Where I live we eat the goats. They're OK. Not great. Kind of like subpar beef. But cook them up in some hot Indian spices and it will be delicious. Anyhoo.....

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croatpackfan's picture

June 25, 2020 at 07:26 am

Regarding Tramon Williams - I'm for sure offer him to try as assistant coach for DB, of course, if he is interested in. His experience is priceless...

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MarkinMadison's picture

June 25, 2020 at 07:47 am

I'm throwing down the gauntlet: Short of an illegal act, convince me that ANYTHING of your choice would be demeaning to goats. My position is that if you think something IS demeaning to goats, you have not met many goats.

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