By Tori Wittenbrock
ASHWAUBENON – As the Packers begin the 2023 season, their preseason home opener against the New England Patriots has made one thing very clear — the team will always prioritize having each other’s backs when things start to go awry.
Under the new leadership of quarterback Jordan Love, the team has worked to prove that unity is paramount in building a legacy of success.
Despite the spirited week during the time the Packers hosted the Patriots — including the training camp confrontations, the decision to only have one joint practice and the pregame scuffle — the Packers maintained their devotion and loyalty to one another, according to Love.
“Some things were said, and there was the shoving match, so I kind of stepped up. Those are things you love to see as a quarterback — when the guys have your back. I appreciate all of those guys,” said Love after the game.
Feeling that he is protected by his offensive line throughout the game — even at times when they aren’t playing — is something that Love said he will always value in his teammates.
“For me to feel that those guys [offensive line] have my back is awesome. I feel that already and I love to see it. I appreciate those guys stepping in and having my back. I think it does build some unity and camaraderie,” said Love.
Having a team that both respects and protects you in the thick of it is essential for building a sense of trust and community within the team, according to Love.
“I think, even going back to practice, you love to see guys have each other’s back and fight for each other,” he said.
After an aggressive first day of joint practice, the teams made the decision to move on to the game without seeing the field together for another joint practice.
“I think that, for us, the tensions were high from the start of practice, even on Day 2,” said Love.
“As a quarterback, you kind of have to be that guy for the team that’s not going to let anything faze you if things aren’t going right with those first couple of hits. You have to be that steady rock that they look to.”
In terms of the leadership that Love feels he must provide for his team as the quarterback, he said that it stems from the loyalty he feels for the very teammates that protect him when things get rough on the field as well.
“That’s one thing that I’ve kind of done since high school, is keep my calm in situations like that when things aren’t going right,” said Love in reference to both the pregame altercation and some of the late hits that the Packers saw throughout the game.
According to Love, whenever tensions are that high, it can often lead to injury, so he feels that it is up to him to remain calm and composed in order to lead his team to victory in situations both on and off of Lambeau Field.