Packers already facing early inflection point with Jordan Love

Green Bay Packers quarterback Jordan Love found himself without two starting offensive linemen in Week 2.

Sep 17, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Jordan Love (10) runs on the
Sep 17, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Jordan Love (10) runs on the / Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The Green Bay Packers got off to a great start to the Jordan Love era on Week 1, as they handily defeated the rival Chicago Bears 38-20. Love threw three touchdowns in the game, looking like he was the real deal for the Packers, who expressed confidence in his abilities before and after they moved on from Aaron Rodgers. But in Week 2, the Packers suffered their first loss of the season by the score of 25-24 against the Atlanta Falcons.

In that Week 2 game, this was the inflection point for Love. Why's that? Well, he was without left tackle David Bakhtiari for the entirety of the game after dealing with swelling in his knee, and left guard Elgton Jenkins left in the second quarter after spraining his MCL. So, Love was without the entire left side of his starting offensive line for the better part of two quarters this past weekend.

Now, there is an expectation that Jenkins will be out for multiple weeks while there's still uncertainty surrounding Bakhtiari.

Jordan Love without left side of starting offensive line

There was uncertainty regarding Bakhtiari's status, as his older brother Eric sent out a tweet that readers interpreted as him calling out the NFL's use of turf fields. David had been outspoken about artificial turf, most notably in Week 1 after Rodgers suffered a torn Achilles. So, that had those thinking that Bakhtiari was boycotting turf playing surfaces.

Head coach Matt LaFleur shut down that idea in the postgame press conference this past Sunday, saying that Bakhtiari was dealing with swelling in his knee. This was the very knee in which he suffered a torn ACL late in the 2020 season, and LaFleur said, "It's probably going to be like this from here on out."

As for Jenkins, the knee he suffered the sprain in this past Sunday was the very one in which he suffered a torn ACL back in the 2021 season.

Love did have some quality pass protection from the backups that filled in for Bakhtiari and Jenkins. Rasheed Walker and Yosh Nijman both played left tackle on Sunday. Walker was successful on all eight pass block opportunities while allowing just one quarterback hurry, per Pro Football Focus. Royce Newman filled in for Jenkins, where he was successful on all six of his pass-blocking snaps, per PFF.

While the backups did their best to fill in, not having two Pro Bowl offensive linemen protecting the left side of the line of scrimmage is not ideal. This Sunday, the Packers are facing a New Orleans Saints team that has shown through the first two weeks of the season that they can get to the quarterback. This season, the Saints have recorded 48 pressures, 30 quarterback hits, and nine sacks, per Pro Football Focus.

Next. 2023 NFL power rankings, Week 3. 2023 NFL power rankings, Week 3. dark