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Inbox: Jordan Love was at his best when his team needed it the most

It’s those small things that separate Lukas Van Ness as a premier pass-rush prospect


Kevin from Rockton, IL

"It'll take every second of that clock to get it done." – Nostradamus Hodkiewicz. Boy, that name lilts off the tongue. A nice option for the next "Mini-Hod."

I am no fortune teller. I possess no foresight other than respecting Patrick Mahomes' talent and his ability to breathe life – and hope – into his football team. The Packers played hard for 60 minutes and earned every bit of that victory. The need to play to the final whistle was as predictable as it was extraordinary.

Joshua from Bellingham, WA

Jordan Love certainly has the arm talent and athletic abilities, but so do plenty of other quarterbacks. What are the qualities that make Love stand out to you? What would a hypothetical GM see specifically in Love that would make them want to build a team around him?

Everything you saw Sunday with Love's poise, his arm talent, and his competitiveness. I can't say enough about his performance against Kansas City. Jordan Love did not blink and was at his best when his team needed it the most.

Steve from Kansas City, MO

Well, I stand corrected – it was realistic the Packers could beat KC. Thank you for making going to work in my Brett Favre jersey fun today! Am I seeing things, or is Love getting better with his ball placement? He threw some bad ones, but more and more, it looks like he's putting the rock when and where it needs to be for the receivers. Because we did the fifth-year option with Love, we have to wait till the season's over to do a long-term extension, right?

I believe that's correct, though it was actually a contract extension through 2024 in lieu of the Packers exercising Love's fifth-year option. Love is seeing the field well and giving his receivers chances to make a play on the ball. I really liked his poise against Kansas City under the Sunday night lights. He delivered some dimes.

Greg from Perkasie, PA

I'll be at the game in New York on Monday night. The last game I went to was last year in Philly where Aaron Rodgers got hurt and Love finished the game. I remember being impressed at the improvement Jordan had made since his previous regular-season action. I've been even more impressed watching this season unfold, but I'm excited to see it in-person this week. What do you think has been Jordan's biggest improvements since that game against the Eagles last year?

Love showed improved pocket awareness in Philadelphia last fall, which was what sold me on him being the heir apparent to Rodgers. But the step I've seen in 2023 is taking what the defense is giving him. Not every completion is gonna be an explosive. Sometimes the best play is the one right in front of you.

Steve from Flagstaff, AZ

Jordan Love said this game was circled. I think from what I have seen over the last two weeks he has arrived. He has shown to be calm, cool, and collected. I am convinced he is the next big thing. Sure, there will be some letdowns, but I think we as fans can be happy where the future is going. Especially with young talented depth at WR and TE and O-line.

It's one thing for Love to make some nice throws, but his receivers also made plays for him against the Chiefs. Romeo Doubs made a difficult 33-yard grab on fourth-and-1 look elementary, especially after not initially seeing the football. LaFleur called it perhaps the biggest offensive play of the night for the Packers given everything that was at stake.

Paul from Ledgeview, WI

Wes is our defense playing well enough to decide games, or does it need another step-level improvement?

I mean, it decided the game on Sunday. It wasn't perfect, but I also didn't expect it to be against that opponent with that quarterback and that tight end. The fact is the defense has not allowed more than 24 points in the last eight games. That's the Packers' longest single-season streak since a nine-game streak in 2010.

Lori from Brookfield, WI

Wes, please give us insight into Keisean Nixon's "mannerism tapes." Who watches film for these details and edits them? Do all NFL teams have these tapes? Do you see specific mannerisms from the Packers indicating what they are about to do?

That's something players and coaches have done for years whether it's breaking down all-22 film or listening for verbal cues from mic'd up players on the TV copy. Either way, Keisean Nixon clearly did his homework on Patrick Mahomes' pre-snap tendencies and benefitted off it. That's one of the finest over-the-shoulder INTs I've ever seen in-person.

Brian from Charlottesville, VA

Keisean Nixon gets a game ball in part because "someone threw a punch at you, and you didn't respond." I love that ML emphasized making wise choices, and the players seemed to buy in! A big part of why I enjoy following the Packers is because as an organization they seem to value character, team, and community rather than finger pointing, from players to coaches to MT5 to II. Any similar examples of positive reinforcement by coaches or staff jump to your mind?

That was critical. If Nixon retaliates, that could have negated Isiah Pacheco's personal foul and now Mahomes is sitting at the Packers' 35 with 50 seconds left to work with.

Ken from Campbell River, BC

When Aaron Jones returns, do you think the Pack will keep Patrick Taylor dressed for the game? He had two great runs last night and I'm very impressed.

I don't make personnel decisions, but I sure hope so. Taylor reminds me a lot of Tony Fisher, just a well-rounded, assignment-sure running back who embraces his role.

Mark from Deerfield, IL

When Rasul Douglas was traded, it seemed like this year was just a development and experience year. The trade for the future made sense. It sure would be nice to have him for the playoff push and beyond. Anything can happen in the playoffs. As George Allen used to say, "The future is now." I'm just saying the trade now looks different to me. How do you view it?

I like Rasul, as a player and a person. He helped this team win a lot of games. But I'm focused on the players in that locker room today…and that group is playing some good football right now.

Jerome from Midland, MI

The offense is getting most of the credit for their improvement and the wins. I really like the play of Carrington Valentine and Corey Ballentine CB backfield (sounds like a lawyer firm). These two keep improving week to week, it will be harder to take them off the field.

And those two cornerbacks are a big reason the Packers' defense has been able to stem the tide without Douglas, Jaire Alexander, and Eric Stokes. I don't think there's a scenario you could've presented in Week 1 that I would have envisioned Valentine and Ballentine combining to play more than 800 defensive snaps. That's a testament to those two men and the job Greg Williams has done to have them ready to contribute.

Eric from Green Bay, WI

Wow did the Lambeau crowd bring it Sunday night! I haven't felt the stadium rocking with this much energy in a very long time. We are still a spoiled fan base, but I think even our small midseason slump was enough to make us realize success is not promised. I'm very excited for the future of all these young men who balled out and are proving they belong.

LaFleur made it a point to thank the Lambeau crowd after the game for its collective effort, too. The season-best 78,124 in attendance definitely brought it.

Jake from Regina, Canada

Who's your underrated performer from the win against KC? Mine is Lukas Van Ness. That first sack was crucial, and he seemed to live in Mahomes' lap in the second half. The rookie seems to come alive under the bright lights, good thing we've got MNF up next!

It was great to see Lukas Van Ness get home. That's been weeks in the making. If you watch closely, you could see Van Ness push the throttle into the next gear when he got within reach of Mahomes. It's those small things that separate Van Ness as a premier pass-rush prospect.

Hannes from Glendale, WI

Those three sacks in the first half were huge in keeping touchdowns off the board. Wes, you made me believe in reverse manifestation thanks to your Saturday column.

Sacking Mahomes is not easily accomplished, but the Packers got the job done and it helped keep points off the board. (Situational) defense wins championships.

Marcus from Corte Madera, CA

Many impressive completions from Love on Sunday night. An incompletion that sticks in my mind was the drop by Malik Heath. That throw was a stunner.

And kudos to Heath for how he bounced back with a key grab later in the game. LaFleur brought attention to that in his address of the team Monday.

Al from Green Bay, WI

On the pass interference call on Ballentine late in the fourth quarter, there was certainly hand-checking going on during the route, but the receiver was not impeded, and the ball was overthrown by a fair amount. I was sure after the officials huddled that they would pick up the flag given the uncatchable pass. Nope. From the cheap seats, I had a good view of the play, and the crowd was unhappy because of the call and because the flag came from the back judge 30 yards away from the play. Is that really his call?

The officials probably got caught in a tough spot with how pass interference was called on Sunday. I didn't throw my laptop in disgust at the Ballentine DPI. The only thing that irked me was how it took two days for the official to call it. And then when Tucker Kraft appeared to be impeded on the next series, no flag came. It is what it is.

Warren from Mount Holly, NC

I've seen commentators saying that Love's sack on the last drive was a mistake he just cannot make, it moved the field goal attempt 10 yards back and could have cost the game. Cris Collinsworth was particularly vocal about what a blunder it was. Watching though, it looked like Love started to throw the ball away and decided not to, losing yards but also running a nice chunk of time off the clock. Has Love said anything about that play? Was it a tactical decision or a mistake that just worked out?

Collinsworth can say whatever he'd like, but Love did what he was coached to do there. Not wanting Love to throw an incompletion and stop the clock, LaFleur and the coaches advised him to take the sack if nothing was there. He just lost depth and took a sack a few yards behind ideally where he would've liked.

Jacob from West Allis, WI

We've seen how this team handles adversity, and now we're going to see how they handle success. In your opinion, what is the key to handling success the right way in the NFL?

Remembering you're human. Success isn't predestined. You have to keep working to stay at the top.

Mike from McFarland, WI

What percentage of the Packers' cap was NOT on the field Sunday?

To pull one more from Cousin Ellis: "All the time you spend trying to get back what's been took from you, more is going out the door." Every team loses a star player or two to injuries. Just look how many QBs went down this year. To win a championship, teams must win with who's available rather than focusing on whom they've lost.

Richard from Madison, WI

Is it fair to say that the officiating crew that worked the Chiefs vs. Packers games probably will watch the playoffs from their own living rooms?

I have no comment other than I'd like to see the league office provide additional clarification on how the final two minutes was officiated. Dean Blandino was pretty clear about his thoughts during his 33rd Team post on Monday.

Max from Rockford, IL

Have to admit, K.C. got hosed big time. But a tainted win is better than a loss.

A tainted win, you say. In a game in which the Packers never trailed? OK.

Steve from Milwaukee, WI

Gentlemen, we have ourselves a quarterback!

You always did.

Kristian from Aarhus N Denmark

Dear Wes and Mike, we might not love the 17-game season, but the opening up of the seventh seed is bound to produce cognitive dissonance with you, or what? Going into this season, did you honestly believe we would be in playoff contention at this time ('alotta ball left,' I know) even with that seventh seed? Kind regards from Denmark.

You'll never hear me say I love the 17th regular-season game or the No. 7 playoff seed, but this is the playing field now. If that's how the game is to be played, then play it.

Chris from Jackson, WY

I don't think I've ever been happier that the Packers are a .500 football team or that there's no chance they can finish the season as a .500 team. At least now you're either a winning team or you're not, and we can cheer for "not."

You're either getting better or you're getting worse. You can't stay the same. The Packers have to keep climbing.

Brock from West Lafayette, IN

Good morning, Wes! How is it that all of these professional wrestlers are stopping around your office, and you are never around? Worried they're going to try and take the 24/7 championship from you? But for real, how cool is it getting a shout out from Liv Morgan and knowing she was in your "squared circle" of an office?

In a word…awesome. I appreciate Steven Hudy and the WWE folks for making that happen. And maybe, just maybe, I'll actually be here the next time a WWE superstar stops by.

Trish from Columbus, OH

Hi, Wes, pretty nifty that Liv Morgan led the "Roll Out the Barrel" countdown!

A huge shout out to Liv and the wonderful folks at WWE. She was an absolute dream to work with this weekend and our social department was able to capture tons of content thanks to her kindness and professionalism. I've always been a huge fan of hers, but I can tell you Liv now has our entire building pulling for her when she steps back in the ring.

Kathie from Houston, TX

Vic always said what matters is how a team plays football in December. Happy December, everyone!

That was one. We still have four more to go (plus January's finale against Chicago). Have a great Tuesday, everyone.

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