After finally escaping the size 13 boot of Aaron Rodgers, the Green Bay Packers are set to roll with 4th year quarterback Jordan Love. The Packers have found themselves to be in an awkward Love triangle for quite some time now between Rodgers and the Utah state quarterback. After a multi season long speculation around the departure of Rodgers, the Jets have finally come to sweep him off his feet. The Packers can now be with their one true Love. But how will it turn out? What should Packers fans expect from the quarterback who has only played a handful of snaps in the regular season? What is the worst case scenario for the Jordan Love experimental season?
Jordan Love enters the season finally expected to start. After three long years, the days of holding Rodgers’ clipboard (or more likely now his Microsoft Surface Tablet) are finally over. So what can we expect from Jordan Love and the Packers as a whole? Well there are a variety of factors that go into the Packers’ expectations this year. The first being the franchise’s willingness to move on from Rodgers. After a pretty tumultuous three year span since the Packers drafted Jordan Love, the Packers have put their foot down with Love as their QB1. This in many ways could be a signature of Love’s approval just as it could be the Packers finally being ready to move on from the darkness antics of Rodgers. The truth is this season will certainly tell us. Still it is worth noting, Rodgers has had plenty of drama the past three seasons, yet only this season the Packers have put their foot down. That could be an indication of the team’s confidence in Love. It could be possible that Love has progressed as a quarterback the past few seasons, finally creating an escape route for the Packers and their former quarterback situation.
From the looks of training camp reports last season, Love has taken a giant leap for Packerkind. “That might’ve been one of his best practices we’ve seen in three years,” Packers coach Matt LaFleur told reporters in training camp last year when referring to Jordan Love’s red hot practice in August. This has sparked some excitement among fans. After three years as a backup, Love’s time to shine is now. While optimism is a useful tool, so is pessimism. That is why today we’ll be going over the worst case scenario for the Packers and why this situation may be cause for concern for a team with a history of incredible quarterbacks.
Believe it or not, the worst scenario to come out of the Jordan Love experimental season is not if he completely fails. In fact, that situation might be advantageous for a number of reasons. If Love fails, this puts the Packers in prime position to acquire their next rookie quarterback with a chance to reap the benefits of a brand new five year rookie deal. The team moves on from Jordan Love, the team sees a flux of draft capital due to the Rodgers trade and the team gets a chance for a new swing at bat for quarterback.
This goes without saying but it would be fortunate for Jordan Love to hit the ground running as a quarterback. Given the training camp report mentioned paired with a stellar preseason makes Love a prime breakout candidate. Below includes the NFL.com prospect evaluation strengths.
- Tall in the pocket and smooth, natural thrower
- Keeps ball tucked and secure while scanning the field
- Tight spirals come from a variety of arm slots
- Offenses built upon intermediate and deep reads/throws
- Confident passer attacking between the hashes
- Makes athletic pocket exits when scrambling
- Good open-field vision and speed to move the sticks
- Arm strength to dime it into windows
- Drops deeps balls in with plenty of air and touch
- In 2018, trusted big receivers to make plays on 50/50s
- Arm talent and swagger to attack field side Cover 2 hole
- Has access to expedited, compact release when pressured
- This athletic profile and high ceiling upside rightfully has all of Wisconsin excited.
- Many of his strengths have been evident in his preseason tape. One of his most impressive plays shows his ability to put perfect touch on the ball with the flick of a wrist.
If Love has more highlights to come in the regular season, the Packers would happily pay the quarterback a high price tag. If Love can establish himself as an elite quarterback this season, he will likely be extended to a nine figure contract. A price the Packers would happily be willing to pay. While there is plenty of reason to be optimistic, the worst scenario awaits for the Packers if Love is just okay, meaning he is far from a train wreck, but he is just as far from that elite tier of quarterbacks.
So what will cause Jordan Love to be just okay and what does that really mean? To answer the first question, the Packers find themselves to be in a unique position. The roster includes a pretty sizable mix of both young players and veterans. While there are several strong position groups for the Packers, their wide receivers are not one of them yet. Young star Christian Watson has proven himself as an immensely talented pass catcher but beyond that, the list is pretty lackluster and full of young unproven players. Love will not have a consistently elite group to throw the ball to and being dealt that hand as a young quarterback can lead to some bad habits in the future. Additionally, Love’s “hero ball” style of play which includes a great deal of improvisation and scrambling can dull his ability as a passer. Below includes his scouting weaknesses according to NFL.com which could rear their ugly head in the 2023 season.
- Consistency and production took massive step backward in 2019
- Looping windup part of slower operation time
- Too much staring and telegraphing
- Six games with multiple interceptions, including three pick-sixes
- Below-average decision-making against zone looks
- Allowed coverage to swarm due to lack of anticipation
- Unusually spotty ball placement forced targets to work for catches
- Completed just 31.8 percent of his deep throws
- Doesn’t slide to safer launch points enough
- Will void viable pockets at times
- Needs to use eyes to hold safeties longer
- Issues bringing in off-target snaps, leading to fumbles
Where the real issue of Love being an average quarterback would come in has to do with his price tag beyond the 2023 season. Players such as Daniel Jones and Ryan Tannehil have shown how teams have made it a precedent to pay average quarterbacks above average money and for Love this would be no different. If Love ends up as an average quarterback, the Packers would be forced to pay top dollar for average production. While the team would still have the choice of letting Love walk, teams value stability. When the job of the general manager and coach are at risk nearly every year, teams have shown with both the Giants and the Titans that consistently average quarterback play is a luxury many teams are willing to pay top dollar for. In this scenario, if Love were to have a Daniel Jones like season, the Packers would be forced to either pay close to $40 million annually, or go into the 2024 year with an unknown at quarterback and a draft pick more likely than not too high to draft a Caleb Williams or Drake Maye. A recipe for unemployment especially considering the fact that this same front office traded up for Love in 2020. Essentially a nightmare scenario for the Packers would be for their quarterback to be something it has not been in decades, average. The difficult decision to extend Love could put the Packers in yet another difficult QB situation in the next few years.
Huey Lewis and the News put it best.
Do you believe in Love?
I believe in Love too
Do the Packers have reason to believe in Love? Do you think Love will progress or do you think he’ll be bound by his weaknesses and situation? Regardless of your thoughts, it is bound to be both an entertaining and important season for all things green and gold.