Second-year quarterback Jordan Love earned player of the game honors in his preseason debut against the Houston Texans, but the tone of his 100-plus passer rating game quickly changed, if only for a moment, when Packers head coach Matt LaFleur notified the pressroom that Love was actually pulled from the game for injury. LaFleur stated that Love, who played the first half against the Texans, “kinda got dinged on that strip-sack and so we just thought it was best to let him rest the second half.”
When asked for more details, LaFleur replied, “I’ll be able to update you a little bit more tomorrow...I’m not going to get into that until I know what exactly it is.” He later noted that the plan was to play Love through the third quarter, but that plan changed after the strip-sack.
Here are LaFleur’s thoughts on who was at fault for the sack-fumble that caused the “ding”: “I think it was a combination, to be honest with you, after look at it a little bit closer. Any time you take a seven-step drop in the gun we always tell the quarterbacks if you get beyond 9.5 yards, you’re kinda on your own. So I think he was a little bit deep in his drop, tried to hitch up, but we also have to protect better on that left side. [Yosuah Nijman] kinda got edged and beat around the corner.” It’s worth noting that Nijman, the team’s current fifth tackle option, struggled throughout the night.
With David Bakhtiari still rehabbing last season’s knee injury and the bookend duo of Elgton Jenkins and Billy Turner not dressing down for preseason games, Nijman came off the bench for the start at left tackle while swing tackle Dennis Kelly made the start at right tackle. Ben Braden, who saw some playing time at left tackle with the first-team offense this summer, was rotating in with Jon Runyan at left guard.
Love quickly dismissed the potential of his shoulder issue being a long-term injury, though, claiming, “I’m feeling good now. Obviously that one play, the strip-sack one, just got my arm hit on that play and kinda just dinged my shoulder up a little bit.” When asked about the exactness of his injury, he replied, “I don’t really know, yet. It kinda feels a little strain-ish...I’ll see the trainers tomorrow and find out from there.”
He later stated, “It was just for precautionary reasons. I think I’ll be ready to go next week.” Still, the hit he took and his comments on his transition from practice to the field may go hand-in-hand. Love stated the biggest difference between in-game play and practice play is, “You’re live. In practice, you’re not getting hit, so you’re not worried about taking a sack, getting hit, getting the ball off on time. In a game, you have that added element. Gotta be able to get the ball off on time, see pressures, know when you’re hot, try not to take those hits.”
Hopefully, we receive good news tomorrow on Love’s injury and the backup pass protection unit plays better in the next two preseason games against the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills.