The 2023 Green Bay Packers are somewhat of a paradox. While they have the same head coach and run the same system on offense as they have in years past, the attitude surrounding the team, as well as some specific play calls, is completely different. One needs not look any further than how Jordan Love led his team to three-consecutive wins to end the regular season to finish 9-8 while the Aaron Rodgers-led Packers in 2022 failed to do so and finished 8-9.
Of course, much has changed for the Packers since their disappointing loss to the Detroit Lions in Week 18 of last year. While the skeleton of the team remains the same, highly respected and well-regarded veterans such as Aaron Rodgers, Mason Crosby, Adrian Amos, and Marcedes Lewis were allowed to depart via free agency or via trade. Some of these veterans, like Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb, followed Rodgers to the New York Jets.
Instead of signing notable veteran free agents, general manager Brian Gutekunst saw fit to replace the majority of his departed players with rookies taken in the 2023 NFL Draft. His vision was that the young offense would grow with their new starting quarterback.
As a result, the Packers did struggle at times during this past regular season. However, they also came together to make it a more successful season than last year’s. And credit for that, according to Pro Football Hall of Famer LeRoy Butler, should partially go to Jordan Love.
Green Bay Packers Legend LeRoy Butler Praises Jordan Love for Brining the Team Together
Appearing on “The Insiders,” the inventor of the Lambeau Leap was asked how much Love reminds him of his former teammate, fellow Hall of Famer Brett Favre. Butler explained that he will not compare Love to Rodgers or Favre because it is not fair to him. Instead, he is comparing him to the other quarterbacks from his draft class: Joe Burrow, Jalen Hurts, Justin Herbert, and Tua Tagovailoa.
Butler did note, however, that Love is doing something for this Packers team that is not being talked about enough:
“Love is the one that’s keeping these guys together.”
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) January 16, 2024
“Here’s why [Jordan Love’s] success is amazing: They have a team. Ask him about himself, he gets embarrassed. Bo Melton (you may not know a lot about him, he’s number 80) and Jayden Reed (you may not know him, he’s number 11), they didn’t catch a ball. They didn’t even catch a ball, and they were celebrating Romeo Doubs.
“I mean, think about that. If your quarterback understands Musgrave has been gone for six or seven weeks because he had something in his body lacerated (for me it would have been the end of my career), the guy comes back and catches the touchdown.
“Love is the one keeping these guys together saying, ‘It is a team. This is not your week, but next week in San Francisco, it might be. So be ready.'”
It is interesting to note that the Packers did not have a 1,000-yard receiver this year. Jayden Reed led the team in receiving yards with 793 yards. The last two times that occurred, last season and 2017, Green Bay missed the playoffs.
This year, though, Love has spread the ball around to his young pass catchers. Six players finished the season with 300 or more receiving yards and nine had more than 200.
The challenge that opposing defenses have is that Love will not force the ball to a designated wide receiver one, nor will any pass catcher demand to be the primary target. They are a team.
And a team that is truly selfless and focused on a common goal is dangerous in the playoffs.