Welcome back to another edition of ‘The Super Bowl Race In The Perspective Of Chase’, a close to daily NFL article previewing your favorite teams season! A lot has changed for Green Bay football over the past few seasons. They went from an NFC championship team, to a number one seed with an early playoff exit, to a mediocre team out of the postseason, to now a team with a 4th year quarterback who has only started one game in his entire career! However, what if Jordan Love plays well in his first year as a starter? What if proven pieces like Aaron Jones and Jaire Alexander can elevate this team? Could Green Bay make the playoffs? Here is everything you need to know about the Green Bay Packers going into the 2023 season!
It has to be answered: How is Jordan Love going to play?
Last year, Green Bay started off an abysmal 4-8 considering they had the 2x reigning MVP. Aaron Rodgers may have not been playing at an MVP level last year, but he still completed over 64% of his passes, and threw for 26 touchdowns to just 12 interceptions. And it’s worthy of noting that Green Bay’s receiving core, whom were no longer with Davante Adams, started off very slow, which could have very well been a reason why Rodgers slightly regressed. Jordan Love only appeared in four games, and was 14 of 21 for 195 yards and a touchdown, but it obviously wasn’t large enough of a sample size to tell whether he’ll be good in this league.
Aaron Jones led the team in rushing with over 1100 yards, and also added close to 400 yards and five touchdowns in the receiving game. A.J. Dillon also racked up seven touchdowns on the ground. In the receiving game, Allen Lazzard led the team with close to 800 yards and six touchdowns, with 2nd round rookie Christian Watson right behind him with 611. Robert Tonyan added in close to 500 yards of production, and Romeo Doubs broke out into a 400+ yard receiver. But Christian Watson’s 88 yards in the first six games of 2022 and Sammy Watkins minimal production in his minimal time there definitely held Green Bay’s offense back.
Defensively, Quay Walker and Adrian Amos each totaled over 100 tackles. The pass rush wasn’t great–they ranked 28th in the NFL last year–but Preston Smith added on eight sacks along with Rashan Gary with six and Kenny Clark with four. The secondary was Green Bay’s defensive strong suit, with Jaire Alexander grabbing five interceptions–a mark that ranked 5th in the NFL–in his second Pro Bowl campaign. Rasul Douglas also totaled four interceptions, Rudy Ford totaled three. Overall, Green Bay’s defense was pretty mediocre, ranking 17th in yards allowed per game and 17th in points allowed per game.
A lot changed this offseason though. Aaron Rodgers requested to be traded, and he was–after a very tiring process for Green Bay fans–dealt to the New York Jets for a slightly higher 2023 1st round pick, multiple other mid-round draft picks in the 2023 draft and a conditional 2024 second round pick that turns into a first round pick if Rodgers plays 65% of plays this upcoming season. Obviously the trade may have been sad after Rodgers’ 18 year tenure in Green Bay, but it was time for both sides to move on.
So the Packers decided to see if Jordan Love could work out, but they started off by making some other moves in the offseason. The Packers drafted high-potential pass rusher Lukas Van-Ness with pick No. 13, which was desperately needed after their pass rush in2 2022. They let go of Robert Tonyan in free agency and replaced him with Luke Musgrave, their second round selection along with Michigan State wide receiver Jayden Reed.
But that was pretty much all they did this offseason. Obviously Van-Ness should add value to a weaker pass rushing core. I really like Musgrave as their starting tight end, and PFF projects him to total close to 1,000 yards receiving in his rookie year! Reed should also add value after Lazzard and Randall Cobb both followed Rodgers and joined the Jets. The main move other than their draft picks were signing Jordan Love to a one year extension after this season, instead of opting in to a 5th year option.
Now, I understand the fifth year option is fully guaranteed money, but they’re instead signing him to a one year deal that includes $13.5 million guaranteed and awards him up to $22.5 million! This is interesting because while he would have been awarded slightly more guaranteed money with the 5th year option, he is now also able to get more money if things go well. And the problem for Green Bay is, if he doesn’t do well, they’re essentially stuck. But they’d also have to pay him over $20 million. So they’re essentially putting themselves between a rock and a hard place.
Overall, this entire season comes down to how Jordan Love will play. He’s a first round pick who’s essentially had no time on the field whatsoever. We just don’t know. Love has been alright when he’s been on the field, but it hasn’t been a large enough sample size to determine if he’s going to be this team’s franchise quarterback. We just don’t know is the only answer. He has some intriguing weapons to work with. I really like Watson, I think Doubs will break out, Reed is a nice deep threat and Musgrave could have a really nice season. So maybe all of these young pieces will click. I just don’t know what to expect from a guy like Love.
This team is interesting. Because obviously players like Jaire Alexander and Aaron Jones shouldn’t have too hard of a time finding success this year, and A.J. Dillon should be a touchdown eater. But the other young pieces could be really good, and they can also disappoint. So this is the hardest team to predict in 2023. Overall, I think they will be competitive, but without a truly talented roster around Love, I don’t think the former 1st round pick will be good to elevate this team to a postseason team. But they’re definitely a team to look out for in 2023!
Prediction: Green Bay wins between 5 and 7 games, don’t see many franchise quarterback abilities from Love but see incredible development from Watson and Doubs!
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Twitter: Chase Coburn (@coolsportskid)
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