Packers backup QB Jordan Love building chemistry with receivers
GREEN BAY - Through two weeks of camp, Reggie Begelton has become a favorite receiver of Green Bay Packers quarterback Jordan Love.
The two are constantly repping together on the second-team offense. Love is also constantly targeting Begelton, the soon-to-be 28-year-old receiver who spent all of last season on the Packers' practice squad. So no receiver is better equipped to explain the growth Love has shown in his second camp.
Begelton said he has seen a lot of improvement.
“In his reads,” Begelton said. “He's a lot quicker in recognizing defenses. He understands where receivers are supposed to be, and honestly he does his job. And he's doing it good."
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Begelton said there’s a process for quarterbacks to find chemistry with their receivers. In this camp, he said Love has shown progress being on the same wavelength with his targets.
The first chance to show that growth will come Saturday when the Packers open their preseason hosting the Houston Texans.
“He’s getting more comfortable with the way each of us runs routes,” Begelton said. “Not everybody runs routes the same way. Everybody has their own little quirks. That’s what makes you the type of receiver that you are. He’s starting to learn what type of receiver we are, and he expects us to do our job and get open, and we’ll be in that space.”
LaFleur wary of rule change
Matt LaFleur chuckled to himself before answering the question Wednesday morning. Already, he knew in his mind exactly which 2021 rule change would cause the biggest adjustment.
“Without a doubt,” he said, “the cut-blocking rule.”
The rule change limits low, cut blocks to within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage, and no wider than 2 yards outside the offensive tackles. The Green Bay Packers coach said it will have a significant impact on how screen plays are blocked and defended.
“Because typically in the past,” LaFleur said, “when we’ve ran screens, you’re teaching your linemen to throw downfield against the DBs when they get to the second level. It’s going to have an impact on the defensive backs when we run what we call our transportation series, where you’re pulling linemen and their ability to come up and a lot of guys would set an edge by knifing the linemen and taking their legs out.”
The rule, which began on special-teams plays, was implemented for scrimmage downs starting this season. It’s designed for player safety, specifically preserving knees and preventing torn ACLs. However, there could be some unintended consequences.
Now, defensive backs will be forced to take on offensive linemen much bigger than them downfield.
“Those guys are going to have to fit up on them high now,” LaFleur said. “It is definitely going to be a disadvantage, but it kind of goes both ways."
No conclusion on national anthem
LaFleur said the push to promote social justice, a battle the Packers took head on during 2020, has continued for the team this year.
It remains to be seen if that protest will carry over to the national anthem. A year ago, the Packers stayed in the locker room for each national anthem, from the opener through the NFC championship game.
“We kind of talked to the team about the discussion that’s right in front of us,” LaFleur said, “but we have not come to any conclusion as of this moment.”
LaFleur said earlier this week he has not yet established a leadership council for his team, which could be part of the reason there has been no decision yet on how to approach the national anthem.
The Packers’ first national anthem of the 2021 season will come Saturday in their preseason opener against the Texans.