Many first year starting Quarterbacks have an easier time adjusting when they have that go-to target. A reliable receiver that’s always open for that easy pitch and catch when nothing else seems to be going right. For the Green Bay Packers and Jordan Love entering 2023, there are plenty of “Security Blanket” options.
When you think security blanket, Linus van Pelt of Peanuts fame might come to mind. Linus was always tormented by thoughts of insecurity. So, his blanket always helped calm him down and bring him back down to earth. But of all the Peanuts characters, Linus might have been the brightest and most hopeful. Having that security blanket to calm you down, perhaps frees your mind to tackle bigger issues.
So, a security blanket for Jordan Love could mean a pass catcher that’s always open for that 5-yard strike. Therefore, helping him better cycle through progressions for the bigger play, knowing that blanket will be there at the end if nothing else. But who could fill this role?
There may be no greater asset to Jordan Love in 2023 than Aaron Jones. Jones’ 5.1 career average yardage per carry will surely help shorten that line to gain each drive. Imagine the confidence boost giving a young Quarterback a Running Back that can gain 4-5 yards or more. The QB only has to hand the ball off, and boom, 5 yards closer to moving the chains. It opens their eyes that it’s not all on them. Relaxation sets in, it’s like hugging a warm blanket.
But that’s not all Aaron Jones can do. Jones also averages 7 yards per catch. He had five total receiving touchdowns last season. Sure, Aaron Jones could just take the ball right out of Jordan Love’s hands. But Love can also throw it to him too.
Wheel routes, screen passes, and even the occasional deep ball, Jones can catch it all. Don’t be surprised to see Aaron Jones hanging out close to Jordan Love early in the season so he can bail him out if all else fails.
This might come as a surprise to some. But I think Josiah Deguara is primed for a breakout season in 2023. Deguara is a versatile tight end that can line up anywhere on the field. Honestly, I think he was under-utilized by Aaron Rodgers just because he didn’t really fit Rodgers’s style.
Aaron Rodgers admitted as much that he didn’t like how much motion Matt LaFleur put in his offense. Aaron Rodgers likes to have as much time as possible to force a defense to tip their hand. If there’s a last second’s pre-snap motion that’s supposed to cause surprise, chances are Rodgers wasn’t interested. He could see how the defense would adjust, so he didn’t want it in there.
Josiah Deguara could start a play in the backfield and easily move out to slot receiver or tight end. This quick movement could leave Deguara wide open to start a play. Or even lurking in the area when Love needs him.
I reluctantly put the team’s likely number one receiver on this list. But then I look at Aaron Rodgers’ favoritism towards Davante Adams and realize, it’s not so far-fetched.
Christian Watson can do it all. Screen pass, jet sweep, quick pass, deep ball, he’s a threat with each of them. So, it’s a no-brainer that Jordan Love will be looking his way. Watson’s speed could help him create separation from defenders at will.
Especially if Love is in a jam. If Love needs to start creating plays with his legs buying time, Christian Watson could shine. His speed and ability to change direction could get him open and into the eyes of Jordan Love for a first down or more.
Rodgers trusted Adams. Rodgers trusted Nelson. So, it’s not far fetched that Love and Watson could develop that trust and Watson could be the security blanket.
If I had to choose, I’d pick Aaron Jones. I think Jones will be the easier dump-off if something doesn’t go right.
If Jordan Love can get his security blanket to take some of the pressure off him, look out NFL. Go Pack Go.
Greg Meinholz is a lifelong devoted Packer fan. A contributor to PackersTalk as well as CheeseheadTV. Follow him on Twitter at @gmeinholz. for Packers commentary, random humor, beer endorsements, and occasional Star Wars and Marvel ramblings.