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Cheese Curds, 8/18: Will the Packers keep Jordan Love reined in or let him loose?

What’s the better approach? Protecting the young quarterback, or letting him go big-play hunting?

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NFL: AUG 16 Green Bay Packers Training Camp Photo by Larry Radloff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Typically, NFL teams with first-year starting quarterbacks tend to keep those players protected as much as possible with conservative playcalling. The approach is usually to rely on the running game and play-action, check the ball down if there isn’t anything open, and avoid turnovers or risky plays.

By most accounts, that seems to be the Packers’ approach with Jordan Love this season as he takes over the reins from Aaron Rodgers. But is that truly the best plan? Short passes and relying on yards after the catch can be a good way to protect your young QB, but Love has a big arm and can push the ball down the field. Could being more risky with the deep shots actually be the better way to go?

Both approaches are discussed in today’s Cheese Curds, which also take a look back at the two days of joint practices with the New England Patriots. Those practices also give a counter-argument to the “let him loose” approach, as the Pats showed a whole bunch of pressure looks, giving the Packers’ pass protection some difficult tests. If and when teams try that in the regular season, Matt LaFleur will have to adjust accordingly, something he did not do in Love’s first start two years back against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Let’s look back at these last two days before the Packers and Patriots suit up for their preseason game on Saturday night.

Second joint practice provides Jordan Love and Packers offense with learning opportunity | Packers Wire
The Patriots didn't do much different schematically on Thursday than they did on Wednesday, but they reacted differently to what the Packers threw at them and forced Green Bay's offense into a less productive day compared to Wednesday.

Packers’ pass protection got two days of tough tests vs. Patriots |
According to reporters, however, the Pats didn't hold back much of their defensive wrinkles, and they gave the offensive line a whole bunch of creative pressure looks. Hopefully seeing that in camp will pay dividends for the line as they work to clean up some of the missed assignments that occurred.

Jordan Love bringing back checkdown passes to Packers offense |
The Packers seem to be encouraging Love to take what defenses are giving him, particularly when opponents do what the Patriots did and throw a lot of exotic blitzes and pressure packages. The running backs might get an even bigger share of the total targets than usual this season, though Matt LaFleur will surely find ways to make receivers and tight ends into dump-off options as well.

Packers Need To Unleash Jordan Love Despite Inexperience - Sports Illustrated
Then again, the Packers could take this approach instead — letting Love use his big arm to take big shots down the field with regularity.

How are the first-round rookies from the 2023 NFL Draft faring? - The Athletic ($)
Here's a look at each first-round pick from this spring's draft and how they are performing a few weeks into their rookie training camps.

Bear escapes from crate on a plane -
Getting out of a crate is unlikely to be the most challenging escape by a Bear this season, given the state of Chicago's offensive line.