Daniel Kelly spent four years in professional scouting with the New York Jets. He is the author of the published book “Whatever It Takes,” which tells the story of a fan who made it to the NFL.
Following in the footsteps of Hall of Famer Brett Favre and future Hall of Famer Aaron Rodgers, as Jordan Love did for the Green Bay Packers, would be daunting for almost any quarterback. Love has obviously struggled at times, but overall the third-year point guard’s play isn’t as bad as some might think.
Some raw numbers for Love – 59.7% completion percentage (30th in the NFL) and 10 interceptions (ranks second in the NFL) in 2023 – are disturbing. His completion percentage is well below league average (64.9, pp). StatMuza). However, I’m optimistic that the 25-year-old former first-round pick’s play will improve if the Packers stick with him. (In May, Green Bay signed Love to a one-year extension through 2024 rather than exercise his fifth-year option).
Over the past few days, I’ve been watching Love videos from games this season against the Bears (September 10), Falcons (September 17), Saints (September 24), Lions (September 28), Raiders (October 9), Broncos (October 22), Vikings (October 29), Rams (November 5), Steelers (November 12) and Chargers (November 19).
Let’s analyze the negatives first.
Part of the reason for Love’s low completion percentage is the struggles of a relatively inexperienced receiving corps. Green Bay is tied with the eighth largest declines (15) in the league. However, love often does not help itself. He sometimes twists his upper body awkwardly during passes and even falls backwards when throwing.
I’m also concerned about the positioning of Love’s feet when he throws. Sometimes when throwing, his feet are too close together or even parallel. Ideally, the QB needs a wide base in his lower body while pushing off his back foot. This provides speed and helps deliver the ball downfield accurately.
Love’s incredible footwork leads to inconsistent ball placement, pass defense (he has 29 according to my film review), and interceptions. Balls that are too high or low can also result in incomplete passes or prevent the receiver from gaining all-important yardage after the catch.
These mistakes can be corrected with tough coaching, in-game experience, and the QB’s willingness to accept direction.
Early in the season, it seemed like Love was pushing to replace Rodgers, who is now with the Jets. Of course Love has no experience in the game (only 11 starts in the NFL), accuracy (career completion percentage 59.8%), or tap to achieve it. However, only a handful of QBs in the world can play at Rodgers’ level.
At the same time, I see evidence that Love has been playing at a higher level lately. He threw for a career-high 322 yards in a Week 11 victory over the Chargers and their terrible secondary. In the Week 9 victory over the Rams, he went 20 of 26 (career-high completion percentage of 76.9%) for 228 yards.
With this in mind, here are my thoughts on the three best qualities of Love:
1. He has high instincts
When relaxed, Love makes sweet-looking short and intermediate throws (1-19 yards) that don’t necessarily rely on footwork. Love can improvise – he even threw passes under duress left-handed — and is adept at making side-hand throws off the platform or at the last second flipping the ball into running back.
While he’s not as good as Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes, Love has shown flashes of ability comparable to Mahomes’ at times. He’ll even throw it back through his body like he did against the Chargers.