Packers QB Jordan Love among NFL’s most aggressive on third down in 2023

Jordan Love was the opposite of “Captain Checkdown” as a first-year starter for the Green Bay Packers in 2023. According to Pro Football Focus, Love checked the ball down only five times in 184 dropbacks on third down last season, and his checkdown percentage of 2.72 on third down ranked fourth among quarterbacks with 100 or more dropbacks on third down.

A checkdown is typically described as a short pass to an underneath player, usually a running back. In most passing games, the checkdown is a safety valve to be used when the downfield passing options aren’t available.

Love, even as a first-year starter, rarely used the checkdown option. And he was especially aggressive on third down, when checking the ball down short of the sticks can often result in a punt and change of possession. Love bypassed the checkdown and aggressive sought first downs throwing downfield.

Per Gordon McGuinness of PFF, Love ranked first among quarterbacks in both third-down passing yards via air yards (73.0 percent) and average depth of target (11.9 yards).

Only C.J. Stroud (1.72 percent), Jalen Hurts (2.21) and Lamar Jackson (2.55) had a lower checkdown percentage on third down last season.

Despite his aggressiveness, Love also avoided negative plays on third down. He threw only four interceptions and took nine sacks on third down in 2023. His third-down passer rating was 98.6.

A checkdown isn’t necessarily a bad play from a quarterback. On some plays, it’s the only option — and it can be a good result on early downs, especially in a pressure situation or one where the timing or separation of the route combinations downfield aren’t working. Love’s overall checkdown rate ranked in the middle of the pack over PFF’s two-year sample size, meaning he wasn’t overly reliant or avoidant of the option. His aggressiveness on third down is the key here. Love trusted the scheme, his receivers and his arm talent to convert (or provide the best chance to convert) third downs.

Story originally appeared on Packers Wire