How Jordan Love is preparing to face defenses in Year 2 as the Packers' starting QB (2024)

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Jordan Love isn't sitting around worrying about how teams will defend him this year now that they have a full season of film -- including two playoff games -- to study him.

It's not that the Green Bay Packers quarterback doesn't expect teams to counter what made him so successful last season. No doubt the Philadelphia Eagles, who play Green Bay in Week 1 in Brazil, and the other teams on the early portion of the Packers' schedule, will sift through tape of Love's 19 starts last season.

It's that Love and his coaches have their own designs on where he can take his game in Year 2 as the starter, and they expect that to be their counter for how teams will counter what he did in Year 1.

"We know going into this year teams are going to have a better feel of what we do, what we did good," Love said this offseason. "That's their job -- to try to figure out how to stop that. I think that's the fun part about the NFL.

"At the end of the day, we've got a very good coaching staff that's going to put us in the best position, and we'll also be able to adjust to what defenses might be doing and taking away from us, and we'll learn on the fly."

Enter quarterbacks coach Tom Clements, the only person to coach each of the past three Packers quarterbacks -- Love, Aaron Rodgers and Brett Favre. Even if he can't say for sure what teams have in store to try to slow down Love, Clements can help provide him with the skills to combat what defenses might try in 2024.

"It's just more fundamental things," Clements said. "Footwork and how he moves in the pocket, and we're working on the drills, working on throwing a lot of routes on air because you can't have defenders out there at this point. It's just presence in the pocket, when to move, when not to move, things like that."

To that end, head coach Matt LaFleur added something to offseason practices that he has opposed in the past: a 7-on-7 period. He never liked it because he thought without a pass rush, it lacked the authenticity of game-like conditions.

"But what we're making a big emphasis on is [having] perfect feet," LaFleur said. "Making sure the guys go through their progressions, having perfect feet. And when they're not, they hear about it. I just think, again, offseason, where we're at, new defense, it's important for them to understand the drops that we want them to take, so we implemented it."

While that happened during drill work and offseason practices, Clements and the Packers' offensive brain trust -- LaFleur, offensive coordinator Adam Stenavich and passing game coordinator Jason Vrable -- spent time anticipating what teams might try to do to defend Love.

"You might anticipate a defense maybe bringing a little more pressure, disguising a little bit more, making it more difficult to see where to go," Clements said. "So that's from a quarterback standpoint. If that happens, you have to have a lot of film study and be able to react.

"I mean that was one of Aaron [Rodgers'] best attributes, is he could process information very quickly and usually make the right decision and get the ball where it had to go. That's something that we'll have to see how defenses approach it, but that's something you've got to be ready for."

When pressured last season, Love completed just 40.6% of his passes and averaged just 4.7 yards per attempt, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Those numbers ranked 27th and 26th, respectively, among NFL quarterbacks.

That Love had the fifth-highest air yards per pass attempt and ranked 23rd in off-target percentage when pressured suggests that perhaps his default setting was to chuck it deep away from coverage. One good sign, however, was that he threw only one interception when pressured, which suggests he didn't take unnecessary chances when under duress.

"The biggest thing for me is just staying poised in the pocket, being able to say balanced in the pocket," Love said. "Sometimes I get out of whack with my feet, and I might start drifting in the pocket too much. Just pocket awareness, making smaller moves and understanding when I've got to get out of there.

"Also throwing on the run, being able to escape the pocket and make those off-schedule plays is something I worked a good amount on. Also, just being comfortable, seeing the defense, going back and watching the tape, seeing things I could have done different with picking up protections and things I wasn't doing earlier on that I started being able to pick up on later in the season. But I think the biggest thing for me is just pocket movement, making smaller movements."

Clements saw some of that late last season.

"Early in the season, when Jordan scrambled, I'd say 95 percent of the time he ran the ball," Clements said. "Second half of the year, that maybe flipped -- maybe not 95 percent but a larger percentage he was moving around, looking to throw the ball downfield, which is what you want to do. Because you can get a lot of big plays in the scramble phase of the game. So rather than just taking off and running, he's looking and trying to make a play, and that's where good things can happen. So that's one illustration."

How Jordan Love is preparing to face defenses in Year 2 as the Packers' starting QB (2024)
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