This Packers Player Impressed Bengals During Joint Practice

Green Bay Packers
Packers Coverage, NFL Analysis Network

The Green Bay Packers faced off against their first opponent this week, taking part in a joint practice with the Cincinnati Bengals. They will see the Bengals again, as the teams are set to face off in their first preseason games as well.

There was a lot to take away from the joint practice, which saw a little bit of everything. Tempers flared, which is to be expected. The Packers had some ups and downs, which also isn’t surprising given the lack of experience most of the roster has.

But, one thing that the team has to be happy about is how highly the Bengals talked about quarterback Jordan Love. The first-time starter impressed a number of defenders on Cincinnati’s defense, including linebacker Germaine Pratt.

“I thought he was solid, to be honest,” Pratt said. “I didn’t really know what to expect because I was always thinking of A-Rod, but I think he’s solid. He did some great things to me.”

The Bengals’ defense was very strong last season, holding quarterbacks to the second-lowest QBR in the NFL. That made Wednesday’s joint practice and the first preseason game a good test for Love, who has been practicing against the Packers’ top-flight defense all offseason as well.

Overall, Love’s performance was solid. According to Rob Demovsky of ESPN, he completed 17-of-29 passes with two touchdowns during the 11-on-11 portion of practice. One of the touchdowns was an impressive deep ball to Romo Doubs for a 50-yard score.

“I think his timing was good,” Pratt said. “He threw some accurate balls. He threw a good deep ball that I saw. Then he threw a dart on a dart play, and then his no-look pass in the [7-on-7] period was a dart, too, but it hit the tight end [Luke Musgrave] in the chest. That was a good pass, but I think he’ll be a great player, to be honest. He learned from A-Rod, now he gets the keys to run the system.”

Love’s numbers would have been even better had there not been a few drops by his targets. The two-minute drill they ran stalled out because of that, which led to Anders Carlson’s 60-yard attempt falling just short.

There was only one turnover on the afternoon as well, an interception by Mike Hilton. The interception very well could have gone for a 95-yard touchdown the other way. Alas, despite having the turnover, it was a read and throw that impressed Hilton, as Love showed off his pre-snap acumen in the process.

“He read it right. It’s just, I’m seven years in, and it’s just knowing the league and knowing plays,” Hilton said, as he acknowledged that Love was taking advantage of the numbers game. Hilton was the only defender near the line of scrimmage with two blockers in front of Doubs.

“I saw him check,” Hilton said. “He actually saw he had numbers. It was pretty much 3-on-1. My corner was about 7 yards behind. Most quarterbacks are going to take that throw. I realized it, and I just split [the blockers] and made a play.”

That kind of thing will happen when an experienced defender is going up against an inexperienced quarterback. But, better Love sees and does it now than in the regular season when such a turn of events would cost the Packers six points.

This is all a learning experience for Love and his teammates, some of whom are even less experienced than he is. These reps are of the utmost importance as they are not only gaining valuable experience but building chemistry and cohesion heading into the regular season.