We got our second extended look at Jordan Love on Sunday against the Detroit Lions. He had flashes of touch and decisive reads, but he also struggled with pressure and had some errant throws. Granted, the bulk of the starters were not in the game with him this time. However, as his rookie contract continues to toll, the scrutiny on whether Love is the successor will only intensify.
Love was 10/17 for 134 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions. One of those interceptions wasn’t his fault and it’s hard to credit the touchdown to him with tight end Josiah Deguara taking a screen pass 62 yards for the score. Without those two throws, Love was 9/15 for 72 yards and an interception.
Despite the uninspiring stats, Love was very decisive in the quick game and had a couple of nice intermediate throws that showed anticipation and touch.
The Packers love to use the Stick concept in their quick game packages. Love deciphered leverage and space pre-snap before firing the ball outside. With the corners playing off and backpedaling on the snap, that gives space to the sideline to get an easy five-yard completion. It shows pre-snap identification and then post-snap confirmation while staying in rhythm.
Perhaps his best throw of the day came on a Sail concept down in the red zone. Sail is a common play in the LaFleur offense with three receivers at three different depths. That overloads zones and gets receivers running away from defenders. Here, though, the Packers are trying to work a wrinkle into that concept by using wide receiver Juwann Winfree on a corner-post.
That’s supposed to exploit the defense over-pursuing to the rollout and leave space backside for a throwback on the post. Winfree wins the route, but Jordan Love is on the move and doesn’t have a chance to set his feet to be able to drive the ball back across the field. Instead, he continues with his track and floats the ball over an outstretched defender to tight end Tyler Davis. The ball bounces off his hands, but the throw shows Love’s ability to stay with the design of play and make accurate throws on the move.
The touch and anticipation are good signs, but in today’s NFL, you’ve got to be able to throw off-platform and under pressure. Jordan Love struggled with that this Sunday with two big misses late in the game.
On the first miss, he has receiver Equanimeous St. Brown streaking down the middle of the field. The Lions have let him loose and it’s an opportunity to take the lead late in the 4th quarter. Love is able to diagnose the blown coverage, but with some late pressure from his left, he has to rush to get the ball out. As he feels that pressure, he rises off his feet as he’s throwing, has trouble rotating fully, and leaves the ball high and inside where the Detroit defenders can rally to break up the pass.
The Packers have had a lot of trouble picking up stunts on the offensive line, and that was the case on Love’s final interception of the day. He identifies the lack of coverage in the middle of the field, but again has pressure in his face. He falls away from the throw which causes the ball to sail high and behind for the interception.
Jordan Love had a couple of nice throws, but he still looks like a young quarterback without a ton of game experience. Dealing with pressure – both against Kansas City and Detroit – has been an issue for him. The next step in his game is dealing with blitz looks, throwing through contact, and being more comfortable extending plays in the pocket. The arm talent is there, but let’s hope we don’t have to find out if he can piece it all together for a couple more years.