That’s a noticeable level of respect for Green Bay Packers quarterback Jordan Love in the San Francisco 49ers locker room. 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan has been impressed with Love’s growth throughout the season and ability to protect the football:
“He’s come a long way because he’s playing at such a high level. To get thrown in there early this year and have to go through some ups and downs, which he did some good things earlier in this year too. To not win all those games, when you’re with a tough record in your first year, the pressure that comes with that, and just to watch him each game, he’s been consistent.
For him to take care of the ball the way he has done has been unbelievable. The 21 touchdowns and one pick, I think, over the last 10 games is unbelievable. He’s extremely consistent in what they’re asking him to do. [Green Bay Packers head coach] Matt’s [LaFleur] very good at coaching the quarterback and you can see that their quarterback is buying in. He plays very well in their system and makes a lot of plays. He has a big arm and is a big dude too.”
Green Bay started 2-5 this season. They looked dead in the water. But during the season's final two months, Love and the Packers’ offensive skill players have been nothing short of spectacular. Love has only thrown three interceptions since Week 10 compared to 20 touchdown passes.
All-Pro linebacker Fred Warner went out of his way to praise Love on Tuesday:
“I’ll just speak to Jordan Love, and the way that he’s playing right now is really great. The things that you see showing up. Obviously, learned under Aaron [Rodgers]. Some of the mannerisms and the way that he’s operating under center and in the gun. He’s doing a great job.
He’s making the throws. Making smart decisions is what you want the most from that position from a young player. So, obviously, he’s going to be a huge challenge for us.
You talk about the decision-making, obviously his first year starting at the position. You obviously want to make sure that player at that position is taking care of the football. As well as making the plays off-schedule. Making the plays where they’re supposed to be made.
I think that’s where he’s gotten better. Knowing where the ball is supposed to go. If it’s not there, he’s not trying to force something. He’s checking the ball down. He can use his legs as well. That’s where he’s improved upon the most.”
The 49ers are well aware of the challenge in front of them on Saturday pertaining to the Packers quarterback and what he’s capable of doing. There’s no denying that Love’s ascension during the second half has propelled him into the upper half if not top-10 quarterbacks in the league.
Shanahan knows that one of the easiest ways to lose a game in this league is when your quarterback turns the ball over. Here’s Kyle on the key to the Packers turnaround this season:
“Probably not turning it over. When you don’t turn it over, no matter what happens, you’ve got a chance to win in every game. The fact they’ve only had one pick in 10 games is unbelievable. When you start getting a running game going with that, with a real good defense too, doesn’t surprise me at all.”
Shanahan called the Packers winning last week. These young teams who don’t know any better are the most dangerous.