It’s Time to Start Jordan Love

I’m sure this isn’t the first time you’ve read about Jordan Love this week. By my count, it’s the third article on this website alone. But overreaction is exciting for fans. When teams play well, fans think they’re gonna win the Super Bowl. When they put up 9 points against the worst defense in history, it’s time to start thinking about the future. So, let’s dig into why Jordan love should get his chance over the rest of the season.

Rodgers

It’s no secret that Rodgers isn’t playing well. His advanced stats are even worse than late-era McCarthy (which forced the team to draft Love in the first place) and it’s no surprise why. Rodgers is playing the same way he was then. Off-schedule, holding the ball, missing open targets because he’s focused on his favorites. But now, he’s doing it as a 38-year-old who has a thumb injury and not as the most talented passer in the league.

Rodgers’ game is built on reading the opposing defense and using his chemistry with receivers to exploit that defense’s weakness. That works out pretty well when defenses are running static schemes and Davante Adams lives in the central time zone.

Now, disguising the defense is in vogue and there are no superstar receivers to exploit the defense based on a wink from Rodgers.

The obvious solution is to run the damn offense. Good offenses use misdirection, planning, and play sequencing to scheme players open. The 49ers do it, the Rams did it, even the Falcons (possibly the only team with worse players at every position level than the Packers) do it. Rodgers won’t.

Love

Love may never have the supernatural ability to read the defense and make changes at the line that Rodgers had. Not many do. But he’s a young QB who can make plays with his legs, make any throw you want, and, most importantly, can play on schedule.

Allow LaFleur the week to gameplan for each opposing defense, using different personnel sets, the run game, and misdirection to get receivers open and they’ll be open. Hell, they’re open now. Rodgers just isn’t hitting them.

With Love, we may also get different types of RPOs. Right now, the RPO game is “run solutions”. This basically means when Rodgers hasn’t thrown the ball in a while, he’ll pull it and rip it out to a receiver while AJ Dillon walks into the end zone without the ball.

With Love, you can get a form of the modern triple option. Read the end man of the line of scrimmage to decide whether Love should keep it or hand it to the running back, and then read the conflict defender in the hook zone to decide whether to throw to a receiver or run.

The Packers have done a little of this already, you may remember Rodgers giving on a keep read against the Vikings when Za’Darius Smith stopped a goal line run, Rodgers just doesn’t or can’t keep it, so defenses just made that the read every time. Do that to Jordan Love and he may get a quick first down.

The Future

It’s possible, though admittedly unlikely, that Jordan Love is a better QB option for the team right now, and we’ve made that case, but it might not even matter. At this point, it would take a run-the-table-like end to the season to get the Packers into the playoffs (just so that they can get murdered on national television), so why bother trying to win, let’s get some young players on tape.

If Love starts and the team ends the season with a top 5 pick because he sucks, that’s great they’ll need one for a new QB.

If Love starts, and plays fine, and Rodgers doesn’t want to retire, then the team may have more leverage trading him to build assets for some actual weapons on offense.

If the football gods decide that 30 straight years of hall of fame QB play isn’t enough and Love actually plays really well, then that’s the most fun possible way the rest of the season can go.

Mike Price is a lifelong Packers fan currently living in Utah. You can follow him on twitter at @themikeprice.

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