There hasn’t been this much anticipation for the Green Bay Packers slate of preseason games since Aaron Rodgers took his first snaps in August of 2005. This preseason will be anything but meaningless as Packers coaches and fans alike get their first real glimpse of Jordan Love. If anything, the fever pitch is greater than Rodgers experienced in his first preseason as Love was shorted his first opportunity in the pandemic amended 2020 season. With Rodgers likely sitting out the entirety of the preseason, Love is in the air…
Each year you could make an All-Preseason squad comprised of players that filled up the statsheet when the games didn’t count. Review that same group at the end of the season and you’ll be hard pressed to find one of those same players that made an impact in the regular NFL season.
The Packers have had several noteworthy QBs show out during exhibition time in recent history; Tim Boyle, Brett Hundley & Scott Tolzien all come to mind. For how good they looked then, not one has (yet) proved to be an NFL caliber starter.
The lesson here is to view this preseason as the next step in Jordan Love’s development, and not a gauge of boom or bust.
If Love lights it up over the next month it will be easy to anoint him as a future starter, future pro bowler, future all-everything.
If Love fails to immediately impress, armchair GMs will be working the phones eager to move on from “the draft pick that launched a thousand ships”, as Peter Bukowski quipped.
Jordan Love will most certainly flash the pure arm talent that Packers GM Brian Gutekunst coveted coming out of Utah State. It’s also likely that Love will showcase some of the questionable decision making and issues processing defensive schemes that plagued him in college.
What to watch for
It’s well known that Love has an incredibly strong arm and likes to push the ball downfield, both necessary (or preferred) traits of today’s NFL quarterback. The expectation is that Love will air it out, and with protection (at least partially) from the 1st team offensive line it will be fascinating to see if he can indeed take the cover off an NFL defense.
From Brett Favre to Aaron Rodgers, the ability to create positive plays from suboptimal circumstances has proven to be critical and often game-changing. The ability to go off-platform is more art than science, but Love is afforded the opportunity to learn from the best to ever do it in Rodgers. When hit with pass protection breakdowns or other adversity can Love play magician and create for his team?
Although Love is a mobile quarterback, he’s not a running quarterback. He’s actually quite similar to Aaron Rodgers in his ability to extend plays with his legs, beat defenders to the corner and if all else fails pull the ball down and pick up chunk yardage. Make no mistake, Love is a gunslinger whose eyes are usually fixed downfield but his raw athleticism will lead to plenty of first downs as a rusher. It will be intriguing to see if we are treated to a preview of an underrated area of Love’s game.
It’s almost like we’re looking for traits similar to another quarterback on the roster. Unsurprisingly, Rodgers is also one of the most adept at running the two minute drill and creating on “have to have it” downs. Charting Love’s progress when his back is against the wall will not only speak to his physical tools but also his ability to command the mental aspect of the game and rally his troops around him.
Inevitably Love will have a miscue…or a number of miscues. Lose a fumble, throw a pick, miss an open receiver. Will Love stay on the offensive after having a “welcome to the NFL”-moment, or will the tenuousness of a redshirt rookie take hold?
Love & Trust
A successful preseason for Jordan Love will not likely be judged by touchdowns and interceptions, but by building rapport with his teammates and building confidence in himself. It’s possible (if not likely) that Jordan Love will be the starting quarterback for the 2022 season. Each rep that he has in a game-like setting is critical for gaining the trust of his peers and converting his own raw talent into that of a refined NFL quarterback. Here’s hoping the needle trends upwards.
You can follow Adam on twitter at @adamjcarlson28.