It’s been two days since the New York Jets and the Green Bay Packers pulled off one of the biggest trades of the NFL offseason, sending all-time great quarterback Aaron Rodgers to the bright lights of the Big Apple for a collection of valuable draft picks. Despite this move being rumored for weeks, it’s certainly been an exciting part of an NFL offseason that has ramped up in news ahead of the upcoming NFL Draft.
While the spotlight is on Rodgers and the potential success he can accomplish on the east coast, one of the storylines that many fans may forget lies with Jordan Love. It’s hard to believe that it’s been three years since the Packers selected Love with the 26th pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, yet that is the reality of professional football. It’s a fast moving business and with the amount of time that Love has had to get used to the no-chill environment of the NFL, it’s natural that his team is ready to give him the keys to the offense.
But, what does a season with the former Utah State quarterback at the helm look like? Yes, he’ll be getting back Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon for a strong rushing game to aid the team’s offense, but the receiving options are bare for him ahead of the NFL Draft. Allen Lazard and Robert Tonyan, two of Green Bay’s top receiving targets, are out and the team will need to look for someone to pick up some of those big targets.
That makes it even more imperative that they use the 13th pick in this year’s draft on a receiver or a top pass-catching tight end, like Dalton Kincaid. Whether they use their selection on a top receiver like Zay Flowers, Jaxon Smith-Njigba or a passing option like Kincaid, they’ll want to equip Love with an additional target for a successful start to a new era of Green Bay football.
As far as the expectations for Love with those strong receiving options, and while in my opinion it may be unrealistic to compare him to a young Rogers taking the starting job in 2008, I don’t believe that the expectations for him should fall far from there. He’s had three seasons to get used to the NFL environment and has already had one start under his belt after a COVID-19 diagnosis to Rogers in 2020. With the team trading up to select Love as the clear successor to their franchise great, it really isn’t unrealistic that commentators and fans alike have expressed high expectations for the 24 year old quarterback, but it may be unrealistic to think that he’ll come in and play at an elite level just like Rodgers did in 2008. Despite that, the experience is there for him and he knows what to expect as a starting quarterback in the league. Even with coach Matt LeFleur telling people to dampen their expectations on Love, I view that as him trying to lower the pressure on his quarterback rather than Love’s actual talent.
The key for him in 2023 is to keep the interceptions down. It’s a problem that’s plagued him ever since his junior season at Utah State where the program saw some roster turnaround and Love struggled in the process, throwing 20 touchdowns and a career-high 17 interceptions. But, if the team can give him a strong rookie receiving option and Christian Watson can have a nice sophomore jump, that should help out Love a ton in his quest to become a dependable quarterback in 2023.
Beyond that, I’d really like to see Love develop further as a dual-threat option and show more mobility as a quarterback. That will not only give him more variety in his game, but also give LeFleur more legroom in the type of plays he can call for his squad. Many of the plays that Packers fans have seen Love in have not seen him deviate very much from a pocket passer and if he’s able to welcome more plays that see him on the run would be a huge plus for his game.
All in all, what you can expect out of the California native in his first full season at QB1 is a guy who may struggle at times, but I think will really shine in others. He’s got the potential to go out there and give you nine wins, but it’s hard to see him exceed that total with what he’s shown on the field along with the current roster outlook of the Packers in general. You can’t forget that this is a team that is not far removed from a below .500 season and Love is not entering the best of situations in Green Bay. However, with the upside that he’s shown on the field thus far, I like his chances at a solid season in 2023.