Jordan Love made his preseason debut as the Green Bay Packers starting quarterback against the Cincinnati Bengals, and on the initial viewing, there was a lot to like.
Love had a good performance on Wednesday during the Packers and Bengals joint practice. In the preseason game, he would build upon that momentum, playing two series and finishing the day completing 7-of-10 passes for 46 yards with one touchdown and a passer rating of 112.9.
Just like in several of his previous practices, there were some early incompletions from Love. One occurred on a deep ball to Christian Watson, where perhaps he could have led Watson a little more towards the sidelines – although the throw was on target – or held the safety just a bit longer with his eyes, but the defender made a nice pass breakup and deserves credit for making the play.
"“The safety just made a really good play,” Love said via SI. “I was trying to hold him as much as I can with my eyes, and he covered a lot of ground to make that play.”"
Another came over the middle to a wide-open Luke Musgrave that Love should have made. It looked similar to the missed pass he had last week to Musgrave during the Family Night practice. Love’s third incompletion was on a deflected pass on an attempted screen to Musgrave.
"“That was the one I wish I could get back, that throw over the middle to Luke,” said Love after the game. “Man, just missed him. That’s an easy throw, routine throw, just couldn’t come up with it. But other than that, I thought we played well. I thought all the pass game was in stride.”"
However, after that, Love very much settled in, as he had previously. Matt LaFleur did a nice job giving Love some opportunities in the quick passing game that he was able to take advantage of, but we also saw him make a pair of passes on the run and throw a veteran-like touch pass to Romeo Doubs for a touchdown. It really did feel like, in that small sample size, we saw a little bit of everything from Love.
"“All in all, I thought it was a good first performance,” said LaFleur after the game. “It’s only very limited action, and I’m sure he would love to have the throw to Musgrave back, but there’s a lot to learn from. A lot of good came out of it. Just the poise he showed, the command he showed, I thought we were getting in and out of the huddle quickly. I thought it was a really good first exposure for him this season.”"
Since OTAs, LaFleur has talked about how the focus for Love needs to be on the process right now more so than the results, with the thought being that if the process is done correctly and consistently, the results will follow. The process part of the equation has been more consistent for Love as of late in practice, and for the most part, we saw that in Cincinnati.
He had the offense in and out of the huddle efficiently. He was able to command the line of scrimmage. His footwork was sound. He went through his progressions, made sound decisions, took what the defense gave him, and was throwing in rhythm. The end result was mostly accurate passes, a scoring drive, and the ball being taken care of.
After those two opening possessions, Sean Clifford took over for Love as quarterback. After some early misses, it ended up being an efficient debut from Love, where there was a lot to like and build off of moving forward.