San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks knows it will be difficult to slow down Jordan Love when they play the Green Bay Packers on Saturday. However, Wilks believes it’s not impossible.
Nonetheless, for the 49ers to lessen the effectiveness of Love, there are a number of things that the Packers must prevent. And sure enough, it’s easier said than done.
San Francisco 49ers DC Heaps Praise on Jordan Love
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday as they prepare for their the divisional round showdown, Wilks gave his assessment of Love and how much the Packers quarterback has grown, noting that he has really matured and learned a lot by playing behind Aaron Rodgers.
Love spent the first two years of his career as a backup to Rodgers before the legendary QB left in the 2023 offseason, propelling the young signal-caller to the starting role.
Wilks shared that he’s impressed by the way Love is protecting the ball, something that 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said as one of the reasons for the Packers’ turnaround.
“I think he’s real good. I think a lot of part of the season, maybe he was maybe twice or maybe three times NFC Player of the Week. So, he’s doing some great things and I think number one he’s protecting the ball. He’s putting the ball where it needs to go,” Wilks said of Love, via 49ers WebZone.
“You think about a young guy like that and you forget that he’s really played behind [New York Jets QB] Aaron [Rodgers] for three years. So, he’s learned a lot. He’s mature. You can see that on the field. Even when you think about, okay, here’s a guy, I’m going to go pressure, where his percentage rate against pressure is pretty high. So, he does a great job in getting rid of the ball.”
Considering the way Love is playing, along with the newfound confidence he has, Wilks highlighted that it will be a challenge to stop him.
How Can the San Francisco 49ers Slow Down Jordan Love?
When asked what he believes is the key to defending Jordan Love, Steve Wilks emphasized that the main priority should be for the San Francisco 49ers to stop their run game and make the Green Bay Packers offense “one-dimensional.”
Once they are able to do it, the next challenge is to make life hard for Love by making him think a lot. With that strategy, the hope is Love would soon commit mistakes.
“Well, I think the number one thing is we have to try to stop this run to try to make them one-dimensional. They’re very effective running a ball. I think it just opens up the play action. That’s where you see him being extremely effective in taking the shots down the field and finding an open receiver. So, that’s number one. Then again, we’ve just got to try to mix things up on him a little bit to give him something to think about and figure out where he needs to go with the ball,” Wilks shared.
It remains to be seen if the 49ers will be able to pull it off. As for Love, at least he now has an idea of what the Niners will try to do.
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