Let’s just get this out of the way: there is plenty of time left in the Green Bay Packers’ 2023 NFL season. While Jordan Love has been inconsistent through his first five games, it is irresponsible to draw a conclusion one way or another in regards to the level of quarterback he will be.
For all anyone knows, he could be great. He could also be bad. The fact of the matter is that five games into his first season as the starting quarterback is not a big enough sample size to come to a conclusion, one way or another.
On that note, the temptation is (and has been) to compare Love’s numbers to those of his predecessor, Aaron Rodgers. All offseason, everyone, from coaches, to other players, to Rodgers himself have preached that Love is going to be his own player. It is unfair to compare a quarterback in his first year starting to a sure-fire future Hall of Famer.
That being said, people are still doing it. And it makes sense; Packers fans want their team to be successful and Rodgers led Green Bay to 15 [mostly] successful seasons.
To Be Fair, Aaron Rodgers’ and Jordan Love’s Stats Through 5 Games of Their 1st Year as the Starter of the Green Bay Packers Are Very Similar
Now, the question is whether or not is fair to compare Love to Rodgers. Before getting into the answer, it is important to understand the numbers that people are using to compare the two.
That being said, here they are:
Aaron Rodgers in 2008
- 63.2% completion percentage
- 1,274 passing yards
- Nine passing touchdowns
- Four interceptions
- 82 rushing yards
- Two rushing touchdowns
- 95.5 passer rating
Jordan Love in 2023
- 55.6% completion percentage
- 1,083 passing yards
- Eight passing touchdowns
- Six interceptions
- 109 rushing yards
- Two rushing touchdowns
- 77.3 passer rating
Okay, so there are the numbers. Obviously, there are some that look similar, and others that indicate that Love is not performing as well as Rodgers.
It also noteworthy that, through five games, the Packers were 2-3 in both seasons.
The Supporting Casts of the Green Bay Packers Could Not Be More Different
Many hold the opinion that quarterback is the most important position in team sports. And it very well may be. However, that does not take away from the fact that football is a team game. In order for a team to be successful in the NFL, the quarterback cannot be the only one playing well. It certainly helps; but the supporting cast is vital to that player’s and the team’s overall success.
Understanding this point, let’s establish what, besides Love’s mistakes, have gone wrong for the Packers (on offense) through five games:
- Lack of experience
- Dropped passes*
- Poor run blocking*
- Poor pass blocking*
Now, take a look at Rodgers’ and Love’s Supporting Casts’ PFF Grades in the * areas”
- Daryn Colledge (G): 90.8
- Jason Spitz (G): 90.3
- Scott Wells (C): 88.5
- Josh Sitton (G): 87.0 (156 snaps)
- Chad Clifton (T): 79.2
- Mark Tauscher (T): 76.2
- Allen Barbre (G): 69.8
- Tony Moll (G): 68.4
- Zach Tom (T): 75.7
- David Bakhtiari (T): 68.6 (one game, 55 snaps)
- Yosh Nijman (T): 61.3 (three games, 19 snaps)
- Elgton Jenkins (G): 61.2 (three games, 131 snaps)
- Josh Myers (C): 52.5
- Royce Newman (G): 45.9
- Jon Runyan (G): 44.6
- Rasheed Walker (T): 43.8
As many football fans know, establishing the run is important to help free up the passing game. Green Bay has struggled to run the ball this year, and their offensive line (and play-calling) is the reason why.
Zach Tom is the only 2023 Packers offensive lineman who could have competed with the line in 2008, and he would not have started over either Clifton or Tauscher.
Walker is the player who will be taking over for Bakhtiari after his injured knee required two more surgeries, ending his season. Many pay point to the fact that he was a seventh round pick last year as an excuse for his poor run blocking.
Mark Tauscher was a seventh round pick, too, though.
2008 Pass Blocking (Offensive Line)
- Jason Spitz (G): 81.5
- Scott Wells (C): 79.1
- Daryn Colledge (G): 74.3
- Chad Clifton (T): 73.9
- Allen Barbre (G): 69.9
- Tony Moll (G): 69.5
- Mark Tauscher (T): 66.3
- Josh Sitton (G): 56.7
2023 Pass Blocking (Offensive Line)
- David Bakhtiari (89.9)
- Yosh Nijman (79.3)
- Rasheed Walker (76.5)
- Zach Tom (72.9)
- Josh Myers (71.0)
- Jon Runyan (68.6)
- Elgton Jenkins (56.1)
- Royce Newman (53.0)
Obviously, the major difference is that the 2008 offensive line was built to have run blocking as their strength. The 2023 offensive line was built to have pass blocking as its strength.
That being said, overall, the 2023 offensive line is not as good at pass blocking as the 2008 squad.
Football games are won in the trenches, and it is clear that Rodgers had the better offensive line. It is also clear, as shown below, that he had the better pass catchers:
- Kregg Lumpkin (RB): 78.0 (three targets)
- Greg Jennings (WR): 74.6
- Troy Humphrey (TE): 69.0
- James Jones (WR): 69.0
- Korey Hall (FB): 68.8 (seven targets)
- Donald Driver (WR): 67.8
- Ruvell Martin (TE): 63.8
- Jordy Nelson (WR): 62.0
- JerMichael Finley (TE): 59.8
- John Kuhn (FB): 50.6
- Brandon Jackson (RB): 50.4
- Donald Lee (TE): 50.4
- Ryan Grant (RB): 44.4
- Deshawn Wynn (RB): 33.6 (three targets)
- Ben Sims (TE): 75.3 (one target)
- Romeo Doubs (WR): 70.9
- Jayden Reed (WR): 66.8
- Samori Toure (WR): 66.0
- Dontayvion Wicks (WR): 62.8
- Christian Watson (WR): 61.7
- Josiah Deguara (TE): 61.1
- Luke Musgrave (TE): 59.1
- Patrick Taylor (RB): 58.5
- Emanuel Wilson (RB): 52.8 (one target)
- AJ Dillon (RB): 51.9
- Malik Heath (WR): 51.5
- Tucker Kraft (TE): 46.7
- Aaron Jones (RB): 43.4
As one can see, the 2008 pass catchers were better, overall, than the 2023 group. Additionally, the had a lot more experience in the NFL than the 2023 pass catchers.
The answer is pretty clear. It is not fair to compare Love to Rodgers because Rodgers had a superior team surround him. That team went 6-10.
Love and his team still have 12 games remaining; they could improve. Right now, though, it is clear that they are not nearly as good as Rodgers’ supporting cast.
Given this fact, and the fact that the NFL has changed in the last 15 years, it is clearly not fair to compare Love to Rodgers through their first five games.