Analyzing Jordan Love’s First Half Against the San Francisco 49ers

Preseason week one is in the books for the Green Bay Packers following a 28-21 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Since both teams rested their starters for the most part this game was an opportunity to see the potential in a lot of new and young players in a live game situation. For the Packers, one player we want to see play in this preseason in particular is Jordan Love.

The 2020 first round draft pick has sat behind Aaron Rodgers for going on three seasons now and has seen limited playing time in the regular season, though the situations where he did play left a lot to be desired. With the looming threat of Rodgers retiring in the near future, the time is coming to decide if Jordan Love is the future of the franchise or not, so this preseason could make or break the Packers confidence in Jordan Love. With that said, let’s take a deep dive into Love’s up-and-down performance last week.

Love’s statline for the game was throwing a 54.2% completion rate (13/24) for 176 yards, tossing two touchdowns, three interceptions and carrying the ball four times for 24 yards for a grand total of 200 total scrimmage yards. At a glance, Love’s statline doesn’t look that good, but by looking at the film we can more accurately assess Love’s performance this week and break everything down into the good, the bad, and the ugly.

The Good
Let’s start with the good. Love showed flashes of his potential as a starting quarterback in the league. Love made many impressive throws, most notably a deep strike to Romeo Doubs to put the Packers on the board. Doubs had a step or two on the defender and Love laid it up perfectly for him to catch it in stride and take it to the house. Love also exhibited his fast release on short dropbacks, hitting Juwann Winfree a number of times on quick, short yardage plays.

Love also displayed his mobility, especially on option plays, the first instance of this coming during the Packers second drive where he took an option play 12 yards before stepping out of bounds for a new set of downs. Even during scramble situations, Love was spectacular, sensing pressure, escaping the pocket and finding the open receiver.

The Bad
Right off the bat one particular stat jumps out at you when looking at Love’s stats on paper: the three interceptions. Yes, throwing three interceptions is bad; however once you look at the film, we can see that two of those interceptions were not his fault. Let’s start with the first interception. On a first and goal deep in 49ers territory, Love threw the ball to an open Tyler Davis, who was unable to secure the catch as the ball hit his chest and flew into the waiting arms of a 49ers defender.

The second interception was on a third and five pass into coverage that should’ve been a Romeo Doubs catch; however the ball slipped through his grasp and fell into the lap of the 49ers defender covering him. An argument can be made that Love should’ve looked for a more open receiver to avoid the need for a more difficult catch for Doubs, but the fact of the matter is that Doubs was capable of making the catch, he just unfortunately dropped it as he was hitting the ground and coughed the ball up. While obviously any interception is bad for the quarterback, these interceptions were nothing more than bad luck that should’ve resulted in completions, but instead killed two promising drives.

That being said, Love definitely made some questionable decisions and some poor throws to guys who weren’t the best option to throw to. During the first drive Love threw up a deep pass to a double covered Josiah Deguara and ended up overthrowing him by a considerable amount.

There were also plenty of times where Love had a man open and simply made a bad throw. During the second drive Love missed an open Tyler Goodson on a routine check down. The offense was playing from behind for the majority of Love’s drives in the first half, so an argument can be made that Love was doing too much to try and keep the Packers in the game and make up for the turnovers early in the game.

The Ugly
Earlier we talked about the interceptions that aren’t the fault of Love, now we will look at the interception that really hurts Love. The third and final of his three interceptions was on a third and nine attempt late into the second quarter where Love tried to hit Amari Rodgers in tight coverage and the defensive back turned his head around for the easy interception. As far as the ugly goes that interception.

Final Thoughts
Jordan Love didn’t have an outstanding game by any means but he definitely didn’t have a terrible one either. Love made some mistakes and poor throws like any young, inexperienced quarterback will do. Even with those mistakes Love still showed that he is talented enough to make big plays whether it be with his arm or his legs. A lot of the mistakes will be fixed with more reps, and Jordan Love will get plenty of those this preseason, and hopefully Matt LaFleur will decide to let Love play more than just one half a week to allow Love to develop into the first round quarterback they want him to be.
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