PFF Picks Packers’ ‘Reason for Optimism’

Because Jordan Love is “just getting started,” the Green Bay Packers have practically an unlimited ceiling entering the 2024 NFL season.
Jordan Love at Packers OTAs on May 29.
Jordan Love at Packers OTAs on May 29. / Mark Hoffman/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
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GREEN BAY, Wis. – Because Jordan Love “is just getting started,” the Green Bay Packers will enter the 2024 NFL season as a legitimate Super Bowl contender.

That’s the verdict by Pro Football Focus’ Dalton Wasserman, who has one reason for optimism for all 32 teams.

After a shaky first half of the season, Love took flight with 18 touchdowns vs. just one interception during the final eight games of the regular season to lead Green Bay to the playoffs. 

As noted by Wasserman, Love was PFF’s 24th-ranked passer through Week 8, when he was second in the league in interceptions. However, starting with Week 9, Love was PFF’s top-ranked passer and was second in big-time throws.

With Love and his group of young and talented pass-catchers back for Year 2 together, the sky’s the limit offensively.

“Love’s elite production coincided with the development of young weapons like Jayden Reed, Romeo Doubs and Dontayvion Wicks,” Wasserman wrote. “The Packers will also hope for the healthy return of Christian Watson, which would give the team arguably the deepest receiving corps in the NFL. If new defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley can improve his side of the team, there’s no telling what the ceiling will be for Jordan Love and the Packers.”

That’s quite the role reversal for the Packers. A year ago at this time, the hope was that Joe Barry’s veteran-laden defense could keep the team afloat until Love found his footing. Now, it’s the Love-led offense that needs to lead the way until Hafley’s defense can make its mark.

“It’s a different defense,” Love said early in Packers OTAs. “Last year was a lot more match. It’s a different kind of zone look that they’re showing, a little bit more man. Right now, we’re trying to figure out what they’re doing. We don’t have any tape on it, so we haven’t really watched it, so getting a first look at it when we get out there on the field, which is awesome. Obviously, you get fresh looks, something that you haven’t gone against. But it’s definitely a different defense.”

It would definitely be a different offense if Watson can get on the field and stay on the field throughout training camp so the team’s most dangerous player can hit the ground running during Week 1.

Half of Love’s interceptions last season came on passes thrown to Watson. However, before reinjuring his hamstring late in the upset victory against the Chiefs, Watson in back-to-back wins over Detroit and Kansas City caught 12-of-16 targets for 165 yards and three touchdowns. Moreover, the running game was 0.75 yards per play better with Watson on the field during the season, according to league data.

With receivers Jayden Reed and Dontayvion Wicks and tight ends Luke Musgrave and Tucker Kraft combining for 168 receptions, 2,081 yards and 15 touchdowns during their rookie seasons, a healthy Watson to provide big plays, stretch the field and preoccupy defenders could make the offense lethal.

“He’s a difference-maker when he’s out there,” Love said. “He’s a playmaker. Just having all our weapons out there is key.”

The Packers may or may not have a No. 1 receiver, but they should have more weapons than most defenses can handle. Combined with Love’s experience, big things could be in store.

“I think his confidence is even greater. His poise is even greater,” Watson said of Love. “He’s leading this football team exactly the way that he should. I’m excited to see how he keeps on growing.”

Will an ascending Love and the addition of Hafley be enough to push the Packers past the Lions and 49ers in the NFC? Detroit’s reason for optimism is a revamped secondary, which could make life difficult for Love. San Francisco’s reason for optimism is having “elite talent at nearly every position” and the best overall roster.

More Green Bay Packers News

Packers OTAs: Don’t forget Sean Rhyan | No No. 1 receiver; no worries | Jordan Love under pressure | Greg Joseph’s big-kick historyBo Melton strikes again | Anders Carlson makes splash | Brotherhood and football for Reed, Wicks 

Latest news: Rich Eisen’s Top 10 | One of worst backup QBs | Breakout starToo many INTs to Christian Watson | X-factor and rookie to watch | Fresh look at strength of schedule | All-decade first-round draft | PFF’s bizarre snub



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Bill Huber

BILL HUBER

Bill Huber, who has covered the Green Bay Packers since 2008, is the publisher of Packer Central, a Sports Illustrated channel. E-mail: packwriter2002@yahoo.com History: Huber took over Packer Central in August 2019. Twitter: https://twitter.com/BillHuberNFL Background: Huber graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, where he played on the football team, in 1995. He worked in newspapers in Reedsburg, Wisconsin Dells and Shawano before working at The Green Bay News-Chronicle and Green Bay Press-Gazette from 1998 through 2008. With The News-Chronicle, he won several awards for his commentaries and page design. In 2008, he took over as editor of Packer Report Magazine, which was founded by Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Nitschke, and PackerReport.com. In 2019, he took over the new Sports Illustrated site Packer Central, which he has grown into one of the largest sites in the Sports Illustrated Media Group.