The Green Bay Packers’ plan for Jordan Love and the new-look offense is shockingly underdeveloped.
The 24-year-old from Utah State, entering his third NFL season, will take over lead playmaking duties for one of football’s most historic franchises. Love has appeared in only 10 professional games to date, but he was always hailed as the chosen successor to Rodgers in Green Bay.
A new quarterback generally means a new game plan. Every QB has different skills and tendencies. Green Bay had the luxury of forming its offensive system around one of the greatest arm talents in NFL history for the last 14 years. This new era will bring about new challenges: primarily, how to best position Love for success.
Adam Stenavich, the Packers’ offensive coordinator, will be the primary voice in Love’s ear this season. As the Packers gear up for Love’s first extended run with the starters, one would expect them to have a detailed plan for how to utilize Love’s skill set within the offense. He has been with the team for two years, after all. Well, you’d be wrong.
The Packers evidently have no concrete plan for Jordan Love
Speaking to the Wisconsin State Journal, Stenavich said the following:
"“It’s kind of trial-and-error [determining which parts of the playbook are more compatible with Love’s style of play]. I think the preseason, that’s going to be very important as well… But just going out there [during OTAs], getting him around all these young receivers and tight ends and working with our vets and allowing him to put his leadership on there, put his stamp on it [will be valuable]. And then once we see how it’s going, then you can go in that direction.”"
This isn’t the most encouraging statement for Green Bay fans. Love has been around the team for two years; he has taken countless second-team reps in practice and learned from one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time in Rodgers. While it has been difficult to see Love in real game action because of Rodgers, the coaching staff shouldn’t be playing catch-up here.
Preseason is the time for trial-and-error as Stenavich notes, and it’s important to remember the context of Love’s ascent into the starting job. The Packers are fully embracing the youth movement, which includes the wide receivers and tight ends on the roster. Love will not have a lot of familiarity will his targets to start the season.
That said, to not know which parts of the playbook are best suited to Love’s skill set is a worrying state of affairs. The Packers should have been developing the Love game plan for two years now; Rodgers is 39 years old and he has been halfway out the door for a while.
There’s still reason to believe Love can succeed as Green Bay’s QB. He has some talented offensive pieces around him, such as Pro Bowl running back Aaron Jones and sophomore phenom Christian Watson at wide receiver. The Love-Watson connection figures to be a primary offensive hub for the Packers, and it’s good that Love will be able to develop in lockstep his young offensive teammates.
As for next season, however, it’s fair to be skeptical. The Packers and Love are due for significant growing pains.