What to know from Jordan Love’s best NFL performance

By almost any measure, Friday night’s preseason game against the New Orleans Saints was the best individual performance of Jordan Love’s three-year NFL career. The Green Bay Packers quarterback played decisively from the pocket, didn’t force the football, and either made big plays or gave his pass catchers opportunities to make big plays.

The box score just doesn’t tell the story. Love finished the contest with 12 of 24 passes for 113 yards, one touchdown, and a 77.3 passer rating. Nothing special about this stat line. But Love went far beyond the traditional numbers.

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Some important things to know, mainly about Pro Football Focus:

– Love earned an Elite mark and had three “big throws” from clean pockets. While grades fluctuate under pressure for even the best quarterbacks (see: Aaron Rodgers), the best dominate the game when protection is clean (see: Aaron Rodgers). And love was on Friday night.

– Love only completed 1 of 3 passes thrown over 20 yards but the 2 incompletions should have been completed. Romeo Doubs failed to make a spinning catch in the first half and negated a first-half play of 30 or more yards in third and Samori Toure’s drop wiped out a play of 40 or more yards. Love excelled at throwing around the field (note: all four of Love’s big throws this preseason were thrown over 20 yards in the air).

– In the play-action passing game, Love completed 4 of 6 passes for 52 yards. Toure’s fall again hurt the numbers. Love should have been a 5 out of 6 for about 100 yards. His 22-yard completion against Juwann Winfree was a perfectly timed and perfectly placed discard. He missed Josiah Deguara in the first half on a base game with boot action near the red zone, but Love looked calm and played to the rhythm of the off-run action, a key facet of the game in Matt LaFleur’s system.

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– Love completed both passes – one a third down conversion to Winfree, the other a touchdown pass to Romeo Doubs – against the Blitz. Remember how badly he played against Extra Blitzer in Kansas City last year? This was a step in the right direction.

– Four of Love’s 12 incompletes were the result of drops, and that’s probably a conservative grading of the drops. The receivers had legitimate chances of catching 5-6 more passes and failed to finish. His adjusted completion rate (taking into account the drops) was almost 67 percent.

– A total of eight passes thrown by Love have been dropped this preseason. The narrative around his two games would be So very different if receivers made more games for him.

– In the intermediate areas, Love’s accuracy decreased a bit. The performance was strong overall, but I bet there are a few shots he would like back in terms of placement.

– Over 53 dropbacks, Love only has one “sellable” game. He didn’t have a single one on Friday night. Love confidently and accurately threw into narrow windows.

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