Thoughts from the Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears (9/10/2023)
After a long offseason with plenty of people talking about the Green Bay Packers and their transition from Aaron Rodgers to Jordan Love, we finally got to see the latter in action, on the road against the division rival Chicago Bears, a team that has been owned by Green Bay quarterbacks for three decades.
Here are some thoughts from that 38-20 Packers win.
The jury is still out on Jordan Love, but I liked what I saw. It was just the quarterback's second career start and there's a lot of season left as well as a long career left. However, while not flawless, I think he showed what the Packers saw in him when they alienated Aaron Rodgers by trading up to draft him. The play that stood out for me in particular was the fumbled snap in the second half. Rather than falling on the ball, he picked it up, maintained his composure and completed a pass downfield. That is a quarterback who is ready to play in the NFL.
I wonder when the rest of the league will pay attention to what the Packers are doing. Everyone talks about drafting and developing but the league trend seems to be starting quarterbacks early to take advantage of the cheaper rookie contracts. However, if Love ends up lighting up the league in his first year as a starter, I think it proves the case for sitting a quarterback for a couple seasons and letting them learn. Of course, to be fair, not every team has a hall of fame quarterback to lean on while that happens.
I think Christian Watson is wrongly classified as the team's #1 receiver. Watson is a heck of a playmaker, but Romeo Doubs is proving himself as a go-to player, especially in the red zone. Of course, the fact Watson is once again missing time with a hamstring injury doesn't help his case either. It doesn't matter how much talent you have if you're never on the field. If he can stay healthy, maybe my opinion about him as the #1 changes.
Write Aaron Jones a large paycheck. I don't know how serious the Packers were when they reportedly discussed trading for the Indianapolis Colts' Jonathan Taylor. But if they are going to spend money on a running back, Jones is the guy they should be spending it on. He proved just how much of a playmaker he can be when the team remembers to get the ball in his hands. Of course, they'll need to be a bit careful since he's approaching 30 and that's the age when most running backs start to decline. But if he continues to split time with AJ Dillon, saving his body a bit, there's no reason to believe he couldn't be productive for another two or three years.
I'd be concerned if I were a Chicago Bears fan. Chicago quarterback Justin Fields looked like a player making his first NFL start, not someone who is in his third season as a starter. That second half interception to Quay Walker, with him locking in on the receiver with his eyes, was a rookie mistake that should have been coached out of him by offensive coordinator Luke Getsy, a former Packers assistant who worked with Aaron Rodgers. The Bears may still love him because of his ability to run, but injury and age will take that away from him eventually and I don't see his passing ability trending upwards, especially if that offensive line can't protect him.
I'll overlook the penalties this week. It was the first game of the season, a long offseason and emotions always run high when the Packers play the Bears. However, Green Bay needs to clean that up going forward, especially the dumb personal foul penalties that can change the outcome of a game.