At long last, the Bears finally will have a glimpse at Green Bay Packers quarterback Jordan Love.
Love might be the NFL’s biggest curiosity heading into the 2023 season. The 2020 first-round draft pick has started only one game in his NFL career. Love enters this season as the starting quarterback in Green Bay after the Packers traded four-time MVP Aaron Rodgers to the New York Jets.
The Bears will get the first look at Love when the they kick off the season against the Packers at 3:25 p.m. Sunday at Soldier Field.
The Bears have relatively limited tape to go off as they prepare to face Love. All in all, he has appeared in 10 NFL games. His lone start came in Week 9 of 2021. He threw for 190 yards with a touchdown and an interception in a loss to Kansas City, 13-7. That was the game Rodgers missed after testing positive for Covid-19.
Otherwise, the Bears mostly have to watch Love’s preseason tape in order to get a read on the 24-year-old quarterback.
“You have what you have and you’re looking at the tape you do have, and that’s all you can go by,” Bears head coach Matt Eberflus said Monday at Halas Hall. “That happens all the time when you’re going against a [young quarterback].”
You have what you have and you’re looking at the tape you do have and that’s all you can go by. That happens all the time when you’re going against a [young quarterback].”— Matt Eberflus, Bears head coach
This will be the first time since 2007 that a player other than Rodgers enters the season as the starter for the Packers. History is repeating itself again. Green Bay drafted Rodgers with a first-round pick in 2005 and he replaced MVP quarterback Brett Favre as the starter three years later. Now, the Packers have done it again, drafting Love and allowing him to develop behind an MVP for three season on the bench.
But the bigger question remains whether Love can prove the organization right again and become an MVP-caliber quarterback. That remains to be seen.
Eberflus said the best way to prep for their first matchup with Love is to study coach Matt LaFleur’s offense with the Packers. With or without Rodgers, LaFleur will likely use some similar concepts to what he has in recent years.
“Just know their style and the family and the system them come from,” Eberflus said. “You know what that style and that system has. They did a lot of good things last year that were effective, and I’m sure they’re going to keep doing that.”
The Bears haven’t won a game against the Packers since 2018. They have won one of the past 14 matchups.
For many of the Bears’ veterans, this could be an opportunity to get back on the winning side of the NFL’s oldest rivalry. Lineman Cody Whitehair, a 2016 draft pick, is 1-13 in his career against Green Bay. The players know what this rivalry means.
“That’s always in the back of our minds,” Whitehair said. “We know how big this game is and the Bears-Packers history and everything it brings. You also have to know it’s just another game.”
With Rodgers now out of the division, the balance of power could potentially shift in the NFC North. The division, which Minnesota won last year, suddenly feels wide open.
Injury updates: Safety Jaquan Brisker might be the only starter whose health is in doubt ahead of Week 1. Linemen Teven Jenkins (leg) and Doug Kramer (hand) are on injured reserve and will miss the first four games. But the 53-man roster is quite healthy heading into the season opener.
Brisker and linebacker Dylan Cole are the only players who have been limited in practice in recent days. On Monday, Brisker appeared to be a full participant. It’s unclear exactly what Brisker’s injury is.
Eberflus said that Brisker is trending in the right direction.
“He is right there,” Eberflus said. “He’s progressing. Wednesday’s going to be a big day for him, but it looks on the positive side right now. He had really good workouts this weekend.”
The Bears will be required to release their first practice report Wednesday.