Part of fandom is overreacting to everything that happens. After the first two games in this Packers season, Jordan Love was a future Hall of Famer and after the last two games Twitter is full of people doing mock drafts and trying to figure out how to replace him. That means that right now Packers fans are sure that the team will not win another game, every coach needs to be replaced and half the players are busts. Let’s look at several reasons to still have optimism about the 2023 Packers.
- It’s definitely not unusual for quarterbacks to have up and down, and mostly down, first seasons. Aaron Rodgers and Brett Favre both had slow starts and Rodgers even threw three interceptions in his fifth start just like Love did. And that was with way better supporting casts: Favre had Serling Sharpe and Aaron Rodgers had Donald Driver, Greg Jennings and Ryan Grant. Obviously, this doesn’t mean Jordan Love will be anywhere close to as good as those two quarterbacks but it certainly means that we need to be patient right now and wait and see what Love can do with more experience starting, a better offensive line and wide receivers who get separation.
- Speaking of receivers and separation, these same Twitter fans were ready to ship Watson out of the town after his slow start to the season and injury. Maybe it’s too cliche to use the same type of example that I used with Rodgers, but how many of Jordy Nelson, Davante Adams, Donald Driver, James Jones or even Randall Cobb were actually good in their second season? You could argue that Watson is playing better than any of those receivers, he is getting open downfield, he’s just been hurt, and he needs to do better at fighting for 5050 balls.
- The defense hasn’t been as bad as you think. They’ve held opponents to 20 points or fewer three times, they’re trying new things, getting a ton of pressure on the QB all while they’re also dealing with a ton of injuries. I don’t know if it means that Barry will be the defensive coordinator next year and I would probably still say that I hope not but I will definitely admit that the defense is playing better than I thought it would at this point. That said they need to shore up the damn run defense.
- The offensive coaching staff is objectively good and has been at the forefront of NFL offense for the past four plus years. They’ve shown their ability to innovate with the players they have, to make something out of nothing on the offensive line and to keep the ball moving even when there are injuries. There have been hiccups this season but I have no doubt they’re working to add new things to the offense while also making it more simplistic. I would be shocked if the team’s offense wasn’t completely different 10 weeks from now.
- There are upsides to the team staying bad the draft pick would obviously be higher but also the Packers might end up on Hard Knocks next offseason sure you wouldn’t trade a Super Bowl to be on Hard Knocks but in a season where you either lose by 20 in the first round of the playoffs or narrowly missed the playoffs I’ll take narrowly miss.
Mike Price is a lifelong Packers fan currently living in Utah. You can follow him on twitter at @themikeprice.