Bengals CB impressed with Jordan Love at Packers joint practice

Jordan Love, Green Bay Packers (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Jordan Love, Green Bay Packers (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images) /

The Cincinnati Bengals and Green Bay Packers engaged in a (mostly) friendly joint practice on Wednesday, with QB Jordan Love earning heaps of praise from the opposition. 

When the Green Bay Packers weren’t brawling with the Cincinnati Bengals in Wednesday’s joint practice, there was productive football being played. Jordan Love received first team reps in front of real competition for the first time and, by all accounts, he faired well.

Packers lineman David Bakhtiari took the Love hype to new levels, joking that he’s “Hall of Fame, first ballot.” More telling, however, is the praise Love received from the opposition. Bengals veteran CB Mike Hilton was effusive with his compliments for the 24-year-old.

Real strong arm,” he told Mike Schneidman of The Athletic. “Obviously that’s what he’s been known for, but you can tell … he’s seeing things a little slower and his process is a little faster, so I feel like Green Bay got a good one.”

Bengals’ Mike Hilton praises Packers QB Jordan Love after joint practice

The reports coming out of Packers training camp have been mixed, but there’s definite positive buzz building around Love. He has big shoes to fill — perhaps too big for his own good — but he can only control what he can control. On the field, Love is undeniably talented. He was a first-round pick for a reason and the Packers have remained steadfastly committed to Love as Aaron Rodgers’ heir for three years.

His powerful arm was his calling card in college and it will be what Green Bay leans on offensively in his first season under center. With a receiving corps led by young stud Christian Watson, the Packers will be unafraid to let Love toss the pigskin around. He will also have a veteran power rusher in Aaron Jones to balance out the offense.

Love’s NFL resume to date is preciously slim. Last season, he attempted 21 passes and completed 14 of them. He averaged 9.3 yards per attempt. Again, infinitesimal sample size, but it’s clear Love will air it out and the Packers will draw up plays to accentuate his strength.

The primary concern with Love is processing speed. He has a tendency to hold the ball too long and force passes where they shouldn’t be forced. Two years of Rodgers mentorship should improve one’s ability to improvise and think quickly in the pocket, but there’s nothing like real NFL football to test a young QB’s perception skills. Seeing Rodgers do it and doing it on your own, with NFL pass rushers closing in, are two entirely different matters. Love will have to prove he can limit mistakes and competently captain the ship for a young offense.

Green Bay fans will take solace in these positive early reviews, but until Love is getting snaps on a regular basis in games that count, it will be difficult to avoid bouts of doubt.

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