The Packers are 1-1 through two weeks but have put together some pretty solid stretches of football — as well as at least one quarter where everything seemed to go pretty badly.
Focusing on the positive side of that equation, we asked our writers what they’ve liked most from what they’ve seen in 2023 so far. Here’s what they had to say.
Rcon14 — Jordan Love: Competent!
The biggest question coming into the season was how would Jordan Love look. While I do think that the overall efficiency numbers are flattering him, he leads the lead in EPA/play amongst quarterbacks, he’s still leading the lead in EPA/play! I don’t think Jordan Love is the best quarterback in the league, nor even close, but the fact he looks, at a bare minimum, above average, is a big win for a first-year starter. While you should not treat Love like a rookie, it’s pretty rare for a first year starter to hit the ground running like he has. If Love ends up in the top ten in efficiency this year, that should be considered a massive win, and he is off to a great start, mostly because of Paul’s point below.
Paul Noonan — Jordan Love: Running the offense!
Aaron Rodgers hated a bunch of extremely useful things, such as the middle of the field, and pre-snap motion. Love may never drop sideline dimes to mediocre, covered receivers who pretend to be his friends, but he’s infinitely better at not ignoring wide open guys in the middle of the field even if they made fun of his crystal healing necklace earlier that week.
Over the last few seasons, I feel like I routinely saw opposing receivers get wide open against our Joe Barry led defense while our receivers were always blanketed by five or six opposing defensive backs each. This eason, finally, I have witnessed open Packer receivers, and a quarterback willing to actually throw it to them. Running the offense is a thing of beauty, and if Jones and Watson can both return and remain healthy, thing is going to cook.
Sammwichh — Rashan Gary: Doing Rashan Gary things.
Packers fans have been scarred by past ACL recoveries. When it was announced Gary should be good to go to start the season, I think a lot of people went “yeah, we’ve heard that before”. Rashan Gary, on a pitch count, has been pretty stellar to start the season. Against the Bears, he was credited with 7 pressures in just 12 snaps, and this past week in Atlanta, he recorded his first sack since returning from his injury. If this trend continues, the Packers would be hard pressed to get an extension done midseason.
Jon Meerdink — Young players: not disasters!
Gone are the days where young players in Green Bay would be basically ghosts for the first month of the season as Dom Capers slowly learned that the veterans he was playing in front of them weren’t any good or Aaron Rodgers grudgingly decided to throw their way. This year’s youth movement has featured rookies and other youngsters in the fire from day one. True, that’s partly because there are so few remaining veterans, but the point is the Packers have been playing their kids and playing them a lot.
And it’s been mostly good! There have been growing pains, but generally speaking the Packers’ young players haven’t gone out there and embarrassed themselves. In fact, they’ve been huge assets for the Packers as often as not. Even if the Packers are just 1-1, that’s still a great position to be in, and those young players should only get better as the season goes on.