May 20, 2024

The Green Bay Packers are exceeding expectations in the 2023 season, with quarterback Jordan Love proving he can be a franchise quarterback.
Sitting and learning has been beneficial for Love, as it has been for successful quarterbacks in the past like Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes.
Coach LaFleur’s adjustments, such as utilizing play action and allowing Love to throw downfield more often, have led to improved performance.
This was supposed to be a transition year for the Green Bay Packers. The team traded away legendary quarterback Aaron Rodgers and would be breaking in Jordan Love. The team also plays in a tough division. Little was expected of the Chicago Bears, but the Minnesota Vikings finished 13-4 last season with a healthy Kirk Cousins and Justin Jefferson, and the Detroit Lions were ascending.

Things were bleak when the team started 2-5, and it looked like this would be an audition year for Love. But the team has roared back to win four of its last five games while beating a few top teams like the Lions and Kansas City Chiefs. Even better, Love looks a lot like a franchise quarterback, and coach Matt LaFleur has helped him get there.

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The Packers drafted Jordan Love in the 1st Round
Green Bay selected Jordan Love despite employing Aaron Rodgers
Jordan Love, Green Bay
The smartest teams in the league always want to be developing a quarterback. Whether this QB is the team’s backup or a practice squad player, they can act either as a hedge against injury or a future trading chip. Just because a team has a franchise quarterback doesn’t mean something catastrophic can’t happen.

In 2020, the Green Bay Packers heavily scouted Jordan Love, a quarterback from Utah State. While they were intrigued by many aspects of Love’s game, he was a prospect who needed some seasoning. The team traded up to select him 26th overall, the plan being to have him back up Aaron Rodgers.

Jordan Love had the opportunity to sit and learn the system
Love is benefiting from the same early career arc as Rodgers
Jordan Love handing off the ball Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
For many years, NFL teams preferred to break in their young quarterbacks slowly, ideally giving them a year to get used to the film study the NFL requires and the speed of the league’s defensive players. Today, it is quite uncommon for first-round picks to sit for a full year before getting a chance to start.

Here’s #Packers QBs Aaron Rodgers (2007) and Jordan Love (2022) playing in the preseason of their third year in the NFL. Just randomly came across this Rodgers clip and paired it up with Love’s touchdown last week to Doubs. Enjoy. pic.twitter.com/JTuxmLZs4Y — Kyle Malzhan (@KyleMalzhan) August 25, 2022
There are some strong examples of quarterbacks who had to sit for a year before becoming successful. Aaron Rodgers, the quarterback Love replaced, is one of the most obvious cases. Patrick Mahomes is another. The best quarterback in the league right now spent his first season with the Kansas City Chiefs backing up Alex Smith.

Love was also fortunate to end up with a coach who ran a Mike Shanahan-style offense. The offensive system is run by many of the most successful teams in the NFL. It is also known to be especially quarterback-friendly, using a strong zone-running scheme that sets up chunk plays in the passing game.

During Love’s time as a Packer, he has had two offensive coordinators, Nathaniel Hackett and Adam Stenavich. However, he has run the same system under Matt LaFleur the entire time. Considering that some young quarterbacks are on their second or third offensive system by this point in their careers, that continuity is valuable. Baker Mayfield, for example, has had eight different head coaches in his first six years in the league, and he has suffered for it.

Jordan Love

 

Love also had the opportunity to play in four games last season. He acquitted himself well against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 12 of 2022, replacing an injured Rodgers. Love completed 6 of 9 passes for 113 yards and a touchdown. This performance against a Super Bowl-bound team helped the Packers decide to go with him for 2023.

Packers got off to a rough start in 2023
Prospects looked bleak for Love and company after a 2-5 start
Matt LaFleur talks to Jordan Love after a playJeff Hanisch-USA TODAY
The first two starts of Jordan Love’s career went quite well for him, as he threw for six touchdowns and no interceptions in a win against the Chicago Bears and a loss to the Atlanta Falcons. Things got much worse in the following weeks.

Jordan Love

Weeks 1-7

 

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