The best of ‘Because You Can’t wait for the Green Bay Packers’


Raymond T. Rivard photograph

During the past month or so we were so tired of waiting around for the start of training camp that we decided to start a series here at Lombardiave, “Because You Can’t Wait for the Green Bay Packers.”

Using the topic to have a little fun as we twiddled our thumbs and dreamed of Lombardi Trophies dancing in our heads, we put together some posts that ranged in breadth and interest, depending on what we thought might be good for the day.

Well, as we head toward the start of training camp the next couple of days we’re ready to hear the questions and answers from Aaron Rodgers about his good friend, Ryan Braun, but we also anticipate the questions of the rookies on their quest to become contributing members of the Green Bay Packers.

But we’re still waiting … and will be for the next couple of days. Stay tuned.

But in the meantime, we thought we would pull together the best of “Because You Can’t Wait for the Green Bay Packers” as you continue your vigil.

Here we go … enjoy!

Because You Can’t Wait For The Green Bay Packers

Raymond T. Rivard photograph

Yes, it’s the first week of July and we’ve made it this far, especially through that dog month of the NFL offseason – June – but because you can’t wait for the Green Bay Packers to open their training camp, I went ahead and posted this video just for you.

The highlights on this video roll one after another, illustrating just why this team is our favorite … and emphasizing why we can’t wait for them.

I remember the days way back when the news about the Green Bay Packers was nonexistent from January through August. Those were the days before the Internet, before Facebook, before Twitter, before

Talk about a wasteland … oh, there were nuggets of information that may show up in the briefs on the sports pages, but it was far and few between. Most of it was news about who the Packers may have signed or cut or some other innocuous NFL news.

But it wasn’t until training camp got under way that news about the green and gold might start appearing on page 2 of the sports page. That’s because baseball had all the headlines.

But like I said, that was before the Internet, before YouTube, before instant communication.

And so because I know you just can’t wait for the Green Bay Packers, we’ll bring the highlights of the 2012 season to you via YouTube … enjoy.

Because You Can’t Wait For The Green Bay Packers: Bears Vs. Packers Rivalry

Raymond T. Rivard photograph

July 25 is the date circled on all of us Green Bay Packers fans’ calendars … that’s the day the rookies and veterans report to training camp and start preparing for the 2013 regular season – a season that will once again feature the NFL’s longest continuing rivalry: the Green Bay Packers vs. the Chicago Bears.

It’s by far the best rivalry in all of sports – one that spans nearly 100 years and features the league’s smallest city versus the Monsters of the Midway. How can we ever forget the names that have played and coached in this series: HalasLambeauButkusNitschke,MarcolSingletaryMcMahonMartinPaytonMajkowskiFavreCutlerRodgers.

These and hundreds of other players have made the rivalry what it is today, one that never disappoints the fans on both sides of the ball. Both teams have gone on winning sprees through various eras, with the Packers currently on a run that has narrowed the Bears’ overall winning record margin to just four games … 92-88-6.

Now, that’s a close series.

While many have raised the Vikings versus Packers rivalry above that of the Bears, I have to disagree. Yes, there is the former-Packers-signing-with-Minnesota phenomenon of late, but that is still not enough, in my mind, to lift it above that of the Bears and Packers.

Just think back at all of the great Packers vs. Bears games over just the past five years, which included an NFC Championship game played at Soldier Field in Chicago. Adding to the lore, that game gave the Packers not only bragging rights for years to come, but allowed the Packers to take the next step in winning their 13th overall championship and fourth Super Bowl Championship.

So, to get us ready for the 2013 season, we’ve got to spend a few minutes watching this video that highlights the series.

Enjoy …

Because You Can’t Wait For The Green Bay Packers: Aaron Rodgers

Raymond T. Rivard photograph

In our continuing series, “Because you can’t wait for the Green Bay Packers,” we begin with a look at the most popular players on the team – and who better to start with than Aaron Rodgers?

What more can be said about this guy? Super Bowl MVP, Super Bowl champion, highest paid quarterback in the National Football League, and overall good guy. Heck, he’s even gotten way beyond the Brett Favre drama and with a new long-term contract in hand, is ready to continue carrying the team’s mantle.

Statistically, he continues to be among the top three  quarterbacks in all the league. His accuracy is uncanny and though his penchant for hanging on to the football for too long has led to some sacks, his unbelievable ability to feel pressure and to use his athleticism to escape and run to open daylight is something few possess.

Since becoming a starter the past five years, Rodgers is the epitome of consistency.

Consider his passing completion percentages over the past Five years: 63.6, 64.7, 65.7, 68.3, and 67.2. Simply remarkable.

Consider that he hasn’t had a single season in the past five that he hasn’t completed more than 300 passes: 341, 350, 312, 343, and 371.

Consider that he’s only gone below 4,000 yards passing since 2008 once, and that’s because he sat out 1.5 games due to a concussion: 4,038, 4,434, 3,922, 4,643, and 4,295.

Consider that in 2,665 attempts in his career that he’s only thrown 46 interceptions, a 1.7 percent interception rate.

And consider that he’s thrown for 21,661 yards, with the bulk of those yards coming in his eight-year career since he’s been a starter these past five years.

As he enters the prime of his playing career, there’s plenty of mileage left in the tank for Aaron Rodgers … and plenty more to add to these statistics.

But in the meantime, here are Rodgers’ overall statistics:

So, as we await the start of Packers football and training camp, we provide some highlight videos you may enjoy.

Because You Can’t Wait For The Green Bay Packers: Jordy Nelson

Raymond T. Rivard photograph

In our continuing series, “Because you can’t wait for the Green Bay Packers,” we take a look at one of the more popular Packers wide receivers – Jordy Nelson.

Though he was hampered by injuries in 2012, Nelson has become one of the more recognizable and exciting players on the field. Nelson, not a big name coming out of college at Kansas State, was coveted by Ted Thompson, who took him in the 2nd round (36th overall) of the 2008 NFL Draft.

A steady player his first three years, with total receptions of 33, 22, and 45, Nelson leaped into the national spotlight in Super Bowl XLV by catching nine passes for 140 yards (15.6-yard average) and one touchdown. Had it not been for a couple of drops in that game, he may have seriously challenged for the Super Bowl MVP title earned by Aaron Rodgers.

But it was the next season in 2011 when Nelson really emerged. He caught 68 passes for 1,263 yards (18.6-yard per catch average), and 15 touchdowns.

Injuries last season significantly slowed Nelson, but he still caught 49 balls for 745 yards.

Everyone expects Nelson to rebound in 2013 and with both Donald Driver and Greg Jennings gone, to become one of the top two receivers on the team.

We all look forward to that and because we can’t wait for the Green Bay Packers, here are his career stats and a nice video you may enjoy:

Because You Can’t Wait For The Green Bay Packers: Clay Matthews

Raymond T. Rivard photograph

Our continuing series, “Because you can’t wait for the Green Bay Packers,” continues today with our focus on the one and only Clay Matthews.

What can be said that hasn’t already been said about the California boy whose golden hair drives the women crazy and whose speed and power drive offensive linemen to the unemployment line.

Matthews, who missed four games last season because of his ongoing issues with his hamstring, still had 13 sacks. With a new contract in hand, the Packers are hoping they can get a full season out of their best defensive player in 2013. When you throw in the fact that Nick Perry is expected back opposite Matthews, one has to believe that he could have another great year.

What makes Matthews so special? Number one, he thrives in Dom Capers’ 3-4 system and has grown each season under the tutelage of linebackers coach Kevin Greene. We expect that he will only continue to get better … if he can stay healthy. The ongoing hamstring issue is a concern among many, but if he does stay on the field for an entire season we should only expect big things.

So, because you can’t wait for the Green Bay Packers, including Clay Matthews, we will give you a look at Matthews career statistics and video of his actions on the field.

Def InterceptionsFumblesTackles

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Because You Can’t Wait For The Green Bay Packers: Casey Hayward

In our continuing series, “Because you can’t wait for the Green Bay Packers,” we take a look in on one of the most intriguing and exciting players who hit the field for the franchise in 2012: Casey Hayward.

As one of those draft picks (second round) with which Ted Thompson surprises everyone, reporters and fans of the Packers were sent scrambling for information when his name was announced during the 2012 draft.

But his name quickly turned into the household variety not long after the start of the regular season. Injuries raised his placement on the depth chart and it wasn’t long before he was finding a lot of time on the field – and for good reason.Hayward ended up playing in every game last season and started seven of them. By season’s end his nose for the football had resulted in six interceptions, 21 passes defensed, and one forced fumble. In addition, he wasn’t afraid to make the hit – he had 35 tackles and 13 assists.

He played well enough to be considered for the Rookie Defensive Player of the Year, but lost out to Luke Kuechly.

It seems like whenever he was on the field, he made things happen. Not only was he continuously around the ball, but his instincts were evident. You never saw the guy get burned and when his coverage did allow for a reception, the receiver was either forced out of bounds or down on the ground in a blink of an eye.

With teammates like Tramon Williams, Sam Shields, Jarrett Bush, Micah Hyde, and Davon House, the Packers enter the 2013 season with a deep cornerback position. The competition is going to be intense, but if there’s one player who could come out looking like one of the top two, it’s Hayward.

Don’t expect a sophomore slump from this guy. Barring injury, expect him to take a huge step forward.

I don’t know about you, but I’m really excited about the possibilities for Casey Hayward in 2013.