This is not in bad faith. This is not a vain attempt at schadenfreude.
I dove into Jordan Love’s film over the last few months and came to a resounding conclusion: Jordan Love is better than some Bears fans want to believe, and he exhibits a lot of the hallmark traits of a good West Coast quarterback.
He’s got a great sense of timing as a dropback passer, hitting the back of his drop and delivering the ball well with a big arm that lets him attack deep out routes as well as the quick release needed to stay efficient on timing routes over the middle. His years on the bench shine through via quick decision-making, and he clearly trusts his offensive system enough to attack throwing windows that other young QBs simply won’t attack.
In effect, Jordan Love has the tools to be a solid NFL Quarterback, but he’s got a problem — the offensive pass-catchers Green Bay has put around him are so young that I struggle to imagine the Packers, a team that may have two first round picks in the QB-heavy 2024 draft, sticking with Love past the 2024 bridge extension he just signed.
Green Bay’s biggest issue is that they purged all of their offensive ‘glue guys’ at once this offseason:
- Allen Lazard was a key run-blocker and the primary X-receiver within the Packers’ system
- Robert Tonyan was a reliable weapon in late-down situations and one of the twin engines of the Packers 12-personnel looks
- Marcedes Lewis was far and away the best run and pass blocking TE on the roster (and the other twin engine of 12-personnel)
- And Randall Cobb, though only a role player, knew the Packers’ system well and connected with Rodgers constantly on key downs
These 4 veterans accounted for:
- 44% of the Packers’ 2022 receiving yardage
- 41.5% of their 2022 targets
- 198 total games of Packers experience
And in their departure Matt LaFleur said goodbye to the final 4 skill players he had built the Packers’ offense with when he joined the team in 2019.
Replacing that production & experience wouldn’t be an easy feat for any organization, but the Packers chose to fill the vets’ shoes in as extreme a way as you could’ve imagined — they replaced all 4 players with rookies, and there’s no set of players more inconsistent in the NFL than 1st year starters.
I like a lot of the players Green Bay selected in their 2023 draft class, namely Michigan State WR Jayden Reed and South Dakota State University TE Tucker Kraft, but every young player is going to go through rookie growing pains within next year’s Packers offense and when the pass-catchers make mistakes I think Jordan Love will (unfairly) get handed the blame.
Did Reed run the wrong route? No, Jordan Love just didn’t throw an accurate ball.
Should that route have been run at 7 yards rather than the 5.5 yards Musgrave cut at? No, Jordan Love just missed him.
Every offensive failure will somehow bubble back to the 1st year starter replacing a first-ballot Hall of Famer, and at the end of the year Green Bay fans will ‘suddenly’ realize that packaging their 2024 first round picks together for a new rookie Quarterback makes more financial sense than waiting until the end of the 2024 season to either draft a new rookie QB or extend extending Love again.
I walk through all of this and more in the video below, complete with some of the best film-work I’ve ever done at this point in my career — if you’ve got a few minutes on this fine Friday, I highly recommend it! But if not, I’d love to hear your take all the same.
Love has some things working in his favor — the Packers have a strong offensive line and running game that they’ll surely use to buoy a play-action attack that keeps pressure off of Love as a passer, but every rushing attack runs into a Holding call eventually and there’s no way out of 1st & 20 but to take to the air.
The Packers will have a few tricks up their sleeve to get out of 3rd downs early, but how deep does their passing rabbit hole go? Once teams double-cover Christian Watson and force Love to throw to other weapons, I’m dubious. But we’ll get our answer in just a few weeks.
Your turn: How do you think Jordan Love will ultimately play in 2023?