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Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Packers Still Trying to Evaluate Jordan Love

Packers Still Trying to Evaluate Jordan Love

Midway through the 2023 NFL season, the Green Bay Packers say they are still trying to evaluate quarterback Jordan Love. Green Bay is just 2-5 on the season and averaging a mere 20 points pre game. But even in the midst of a four-game losing streak, the Packers say they haven’t seen enough of Love as a starting quarterback to know whether he might be the quarterback of the future.
 
Not only are the Packers 2-5 but they’ve lost four straight games. Two of those losses came against the Broncos and Raiders, two teams that also have a losing record and appear to be going nowhere in 2023. To his credit, Love led the Packers to a comeback win over the Saints in Week 3. But if not for that win, the Packers would have six consecutive losses. During that time, fans have started to lose faith in Love. Meanwhile, the best betting sites all list the Packers as a long shot just to make the playoffs, giving Green Bay fans little hope for this season.
 
The first half of games has been particularly troubling for Love and the Packers. In Green Bay’s last five games heading into Week 9, they have scored just nine total points in the first half. That has made it difficult for an inexperienced quarterback like Love. Of course, Love’s struggles in the first half of games are part of the reason why Green Bay is regularly playing from behind. But the Packers are still trying to find positives and properly evaluate Love’s play, which they will continue to do for the rest of the season.
 
“I think he's done a lot of really good things,” says Packers GM Brian Gutekunst ahead of Green Bay’s Week 9 game against the Rams. "Really like the way he's responded to the adversity, how he's led the team. Again, we've got to be better as a unit and I expect that to happen over the next 10 games. And I think that we're going through some things that we knew we would go through. We haven't had the results that we want, but I do like the way guys are responding to things.”
 
In defense of Love, he was forced to sit on the bench for his first three seasons in the league while serving as the backup to Aaron Rodgers. Over those three seasons, Love only started one game, keeping him from gaining any valuable playing experience. Therefore, he has just eight career starts, which isn’t enough to give a quarterback a fair evaluation. Nevertheless, Love hasn’t been good enough in those starts to make him the clear franchise quarterback of the future. In his career, Love has completed just 58% of his passes with 14 touchdown passes and 11 interceptions. Meanwhile, the Packers have been held to 20 points or less in five of their seven games this season, and things don’t seem to be getting any better.
 
"Are there some things [Love] can do better? Absolutely,” says Gutekunst “I think he'd be the first to tell you. Are there some things we can do as a staff to help our guys? Absolutely. And then, when there are plays there to be made, we've got to make the plays… I think that group, that unit as a whole, has a lot of work to do. But at the same time, they're kind of committed to the process, believe in that group of guys and expect better results coming.”
Obviously, time is running out for the Packers to get better results. The Packers need to start winning games if they hope to have any chance at making the playoffs. But given the results thus far and Love’s inexperience, the franchise seems resigned to merely evaluating Love and the rest of the roster rather than mounting a playoff charge. While disappointing, that makes the most sense. Love is under contract through the 2024 season and will make $22.5 million next season.
 
In other words, Love has a season and a half to prove to the Packers that he should be their quarterback of the future while the franchise still has plenty of time to evaluate him. Some fans in Green Bay have surely seen enough and rue the day the Packers made him a first-round pick. But the 2023 season moves forward with Love as Green Bay’s quarterback and the evaluation process can continue. That makes the rest of the season meaningful for the Packers regardless of their position in the standings.
 
“I think we've got 10 games left,” says Gutekunst. These are going to be very important 10 games.”

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