It’s Week Two, and the Green Bay Packers offense is in desperate need of a spark on offense. In order to provide it, quarterback Jordan Love takes off and scrambles for a 24-yard gain. Defenders crashing in on him, he has a choice: slide or try to pick up a few more yards. He lurches forward, absorbs the hits from defenders, and tries for the extra yards.
After returning to the Packers’ sideline, head coach Matt LaFleur tells Love to slide next time. Love retorts, “The team needed some juice,” so he gave it to them.
Over the course of the season, Love has rushed 18 times for 109 yards and two touchdowns. While not among the ranks of mobile quarterbacks such as Lamar Jackson, Love is an athletic quarterback who can make plays with his feet and isn’t afraid of contact.
And the Denver Broncos know this, and are planning on putting the hurt on him on Sunday if he runs (without sliding).
Denver Broncos Players Are Hoping to Put the Hurt on Green Bay Packers Quarterback Jordan Love
To be clear: there is a big difference, especially in the NFL world, between “hurt” and “injured.” The Broncos are not out to injure Love, but, according to a report written by Chris Tomasson of the Denver Gazette, their defense is looking to make Love “think twice” about running without sliding.
Mike Purcell, a veteran defensive tackle with Denver, said to Broncos reporters:
“A quarterback that doesn’t want to slide then, it’s, per se, obviously within reason, you make him pay the price. So you take your shot when you can. … That’s his choice. Obviously, our job is to stop them and if he doesn’t want to slide and it gives us a chance to take a shot, we’re going to take a shot.”
Defensive coordinator Matt Henningsen added:
“Being a young quarterback, he’s got fresh legs under him and he can run the ball. He scrambles. He doesn’t like to slide, so he can take a hit and it’s something that we definitely got to neutralize. … If he doesn’t give himself up, we got to stop him, just bring him to the ground and give him a hit and maybe next time he’ll slide.
“You’re obviously not hunting for him, but you treat [quarterbacks that don’t slide] like a runner, a running back. That’s what they are. If they’re not sliding and if they’re not protecting themselves, they don’t get that protection. … Usually young quarterbacks don’t slide as much and then as they get older, they start to slide more. That’s just how it goes because you can’t take that many shots and stick around in this league.”
Broncos defensive backs Darmarri Mathis and Jonathon Cooper also were quoted in the article stating that they plan to be very physical with Love if he decides to run.
Again, there is a difference between hurting the quarterback and injuring the quarterback. But of course, head coach Sean Payton knows everything about that, right? The former New Orleans Saints head coach was suspended by the NFL for a full season for the infamous Bountygate scandal in which his defense was head-hunting quarterbacks, looking to injure them.
LaFleur has reiterated to Love in the past that he wants him to slide. At some point, some defense is going to show Love why his head coach is so adamant about that, and the Broncos are looking to be that unit.