One of the biggest factors in the second half resurgence of the 2023 Green Bay Packers was the improved play of quarterback Jordan Love. The former first-round pick out of Utah State had a shaky first half of the season. But by the second half, the game slowed down for Love and started to play like an elite quarterback.

Packers QB Jordan Love Faced Big Expectations Before the Season

Love entered the season facing a lot of pressure. He was taking over for Aaron Rodgers, a future Hall of Famer and four-time NFL MVP who led the Packers to one Super Bowl after the 2010 season. Rodgers demanded a trade after the 2022 season and was dealt to the New York Jets.

For three years, Love sat behind Rodgers and learned what he could from one of the all-time greats. He started only one game during that time. Before Rodgers, the Packers had Hall of Famer Brett Favre as their starting quarterback. From 1992-2022, the Packers had one of the best quarterbacks of all time as their starter. Love was now the heir apparent at that position.

A Rough Start for Love

In the first half of the season, Love and the Packers offense struggled. The Packers roster was a young one, especially at the offensive skill positions. In addition to Love, who had just one NFL start prior to the 2023 campaign, the Packers had only rookies at tight end and no wide receiver with more than one year of pro experience.

Love struggled with his consistency. On some plays, he showed the skills and offensive gifts that made him a first-round pick. On others, he had trouble reading defenses and throwing accurately downfield. His receivers often ran the wrong pattern or read plays incorrectly, resulting in multiple receivers being in the same place on the field. The result was a lot of incomplete passes.

The Packers got off to a 2-5 start. During a five-game stretch, the Packers went 1-4 and Love threw five touchdown passes and eight interceptions during those games.

Fans were questioning whether Love would ever be a legitimate starting quarterback for this team. GM Brian Gutekunst appeared to give up on the season when he traded cornerback Rasul Douglas to Buffalo at the trade deadline. Everybody seemed to be gearing towards 2024.

Packers Quarterback Jordan Love Exceeds Expectations

In the second half of the season, the game slowed down for Love. You can see this by comparing the two games against the Vikings this season. Minnesota’s defensive coordinator Brian Flores likes to disguise blitzes at the line of scrimmage. He’ll put eight players at the line and send four, but the quarterback needs to know which four are coming and what type of coverage they’re in all within a second of the snap of the ball.

In the first meeting with Minnesota, Love struggled, and the offense scored just 10 points. He completed 58.5 percent of his passes for one touchdown and one interception. He averaged just 5.65 yards per attempt and had a quarterback rating of 72.1. The Vikings sacked Love four times in part because he held the ball too long. The Packers lost 24-10.

In the second meeting, Love read the pressure situations like an elite quarterback. When the Vikings blitzed, he had his hot read, often tight end Tucker Kraft. He picked up six or seven yards and kept the offense in manageable situations.

Love’s numbers in the second game illustrated his progress. He completed 72.7 percent of his passes, threw three touchdowns and had no interceptions. His average yards per attempt was 9.58 and his quarterback rating was 125.4. He was not sacked in this game.

What’s Behind the Improvement of Packers QB Jordan Love

Love possesses great natural ability. He has a plus arm and he’s intelligent and dedicated to making himself better.

He has also demonstrated leadership that his predecessor didn’t show in recent years. Love was patient with his young receivers and went back to them after they made mistakes. Before training camp, he invited his receivers to an informal passing camp to help them learn the playbook and develop chemistry.

During the season, he had dinner with his receivers once a week so they could build camaraderie and discuss any issues that came up.

Love has done things the right way and it has paid off.

The development of young receivers like Dontayvion Wicks, Jayden Reed, and Bo Melton also helped the offense thrive.

Matt LaFleur Is Impressed by Love

Packers head coach Matt LaFleur has been impressed by Love’s progress. “He’s just resilient,” LaFleur said. “Those are things you cannot coach. You can sit there and talk about it till you’re blue in the face. However, that’s something he possesses, and I admire him for that, his ability to stay even keel, to battle through adversity, to lead our team.

“He did an outstanding job and he’s been doing it. He’s certainly proved himself over the back half of the season. I don’t think there’s many questions left, to be honest with you. He’s just got to continue to do what he’s been doing and show up each and every day with that same mindset, and I think great things are in store for him.”

Love led the Packers to the playoffs in his first year as a starter. That’s something neither Favre nor Rodgers were able to accomplish. The future looks bright for both Love and the Packers.




Follow Gil Martin on Twitter @GilPackers

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