Monday Musings: Love’s Debut

It was great to see fans back at Lambeau Field on Saturday night, but I can’t help but think Green Bay had a pretty nice advantage playing in empty stadiums last season. Lambeau is the most iconic stadium in the NFL, but it’s hardly one of the noisiest. And while the Packers are a superb 160-51-2 at home since 1995, something tells me that has a lot more to do with the two men under center than it does with the people in the seats.

Anyway, here are three more thoughts that went through my mind after watching the Packers fall 26-7 to the Texans:

1) The much-anticipated debut of Jordan Love went pretty much as expected. There were times when the 22-year-old quarterback looked like a first-round pick, and there were times when he looked like a guy who hadn’t played in a game in over 600 days. The best thing Love did was stand tall in the pocket. Playing behind a shaky offensive line missing three starters, it would’ve been very easy for him to run at the first sign of trouble. But he didn’t. Instead, he kept looking for his receivers and only once forced a ball into traffic. The situation certainly wasn’t too big for Love. Now he just needs to work on ball placement. His accuracy wasn’t good enough. QBs at this level have to do more than complete passes; they need to give the receiver a chance to do something after the catch.

2) Devin Funchess was the most accomplished wide receiver in uniform on Saturday night, and he played like it. The former Michigan star had little trouble getting open against Houston’s overmatched young cornerbacks. He caught 6 passes for 70 yards, and the second number would’ve been a lot higher had some of Love’s throws been more accurate. It was kinda strange seeing the 27-year-old Funchess still out there in the second half. Perhaps the coaches felt he needed the work after not playing in a game since September 2019, or perhaps he’s being showcased for a trade. Either way, it was a good night for a player who’s fighting for a roster spot at a crowded position.

3) Inside linebacker Oren Burks has never struggled in August, and Saturday night was no exception. The fourth-year player from Vandy made an impact on two occasions in the first half, each time flashing the athleticism that got him drafted in the third round in 2018. But the Packers have seen this before. What they’ve yet to see is Burks perform nearly as well in games that count. That’s when his weaknesses tend to get exposed by complex schemes and starting-caliber players. Perhaps the special teams standout will finally blossom on defense under Joe Barry, but for now, one impressive half against mostly second and third-stringers isn’t enough to erase the past three seasons.

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POLL: How did Saturday night make you feel about Jordan Love?

Michael Rodney

Packers Notes is the creation of Michael Rodney, who has been writing about the Green Bay Packers for over 30 years. His first blog, Packer Update, hit the internet in 2004. Before becoming a public educator, Rodney worked as a journalist for a couple of newspapers in his home state of New Jersey and covered the Philadelphia Eagles for WTXF-TV. He's had numerous articles on the Packers published, and he's been featured on both television and radio over the years.

8 thoughts on “Monday Musings: Love’s Debut

  1. I agree his accuracy wasn’t good enough. Even his biggest play, the seam route to Stern, was off target. But all his passes had a chance to be caught and he kept the ball away from defenders. Hope he gets to keep it up against the Jets this week. He needs the reps!

  2. I thought it was quite notable that LaFleur said that Funchess didn’t run that route – the one that he one-handed – quite right, and that Love had put it right where it was supposed to be. Just watching games it’s not always easy to have the full picture. Regardless, he does need to work on accuracy….we’ve been spoiled by one of the most accurate Qb’s of all time.

    Another nugget from Saturday night that struck me was seeing Anthony Miller injured and to then hear that he’ll be out for awhile….maybe Cobb wouldn’t have been as available as so many have been saying. Miller was supposed to take over Cobb’s slot role…..

    And another little tidbit: I saw today that Vernon Butler is at risk of getting cut….this was the guy many thought TT should have drafted instead of Clark. Just an interesting little factoid.

  3. I think Love has a stronger arm than even prime Rodgers. I was shocked at how quick the ball came out. With that said you can’t really teach accuracy and the fact is that he will not be as accurate as Rodgers.

    However he might be able to Favre it into double coverage and make stupid decisions work that Rodgers would never make. Those decisions might lead to 7-10 or 10-7 and the super bowl. Love can be a top 15 qb, and I think that is pretty good for the end of the 1st round.

  4. The one play that stood out to me was the one late in the second quarter. You could see him going thru his reads from right to left with the pocket closing and a DE with his hand on his shoulder pad and Love delivered the ball to either Taylor or a RB on the left sideline. It was for minimal gain. But you could see him reading the defense and not running with the first sign of trouble. I found that very encouraging. I agree, the ball seems to jump out of his hand. Watching him throw deep balls to MVS next year will be fun. And he’s got the perfect demeanor and isn’t letting any of this drama affect him.

    So much nonsense was written last year about Love not beating out Boyle. Tim Boyle was a blistering 8/15 for a scorching 38 yards for the Lions on Saturday. It’s amazing what a real offseason program and a few first team reps can do for a talented young QB.

  5. I don’t think we’ll know about Love until we see him in a real game. I see this summer as nothing more than a chance to get used to being an NFL quarterback.

  6. Absolutely Cy. We’re not out of the woods just yet. Brett Hundley had a good initial preseason and he certainly disappointed. It didn’t take long to realize DeShone Kizer couldn’t play either. Still neither QB was as talented as Love. He gives LaFleur a talented, coachable kid that’ll run his offense. An offense that made NFL QB’s out of camp arms CJ Bethard and Cris Mullins. Love just needs to show us there’s hope. And that the organization won’t be help hostage by a certain diva QB. So far so good.

  7. Joe Barry has a great rep as a linebackers coach, so maybe he’s made a difference with Burks. It’s probably wishful thinking, but that would be such great news for the defense.

  8. I like the opening comment on crowd noise- Rodgers having silence on the road was just another reason 2020 was our best shot

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