A lot of NFL analysts have jumped on the bandwagon for the Detroit Lions this offseason. But don’t count ESPN’s Mike Tannenbaum among them.
A panel of three ESPN analysts on July 21 debated who is the best NFC North quarterback heading into the 2023 season.
It would have been understandable if Tannenbaum had given the title to Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins. Even Chicago Bears signal caller Justin Fields may have an argument as the best quarterback in the division.
“I love when quarterbacks sit,” said Tannenbaum when arguing why the Packers still have the best signal caller in the division. “We forget that the quarterback position is a developmental one.
“If we can trust Green Bay on one thing, it’s quarterbacks. [Brett] Farve to Rodgers and now Rodgers to Jordan Love. They are acting the exact same way that they did a decade ago.”
Love was mostly a backup to Aaron Rodgers in the first three years of his career. He has made 10 appearances, including 1 start, since being a first-round pick in 2020.
Mike Tannenbaum Calls Jordan Love the Best QB in the NFC North
To nominate Love as the best quarterback in his division right now, one has no choice but to put a ton of faith in the Packers coaching staff. That’s exactly what Tannenbaum did during the segment on ESPN.
“If you look at the way the Green Bay Packers have contorted themselves this offseason, it’s identical [to the situation with Favre and Rodgers],” Tannenbaum argued. “They didn’t fly out to California to beg Aaron Rodgers to come back.
“They know exactly who they have in Jordan Love.”
That may be true, but what the league has seen of Love early in his career has been a mixed bag.
But in the lone start of his career, during the 2021 season, Love struggled. He went 19-for-34 for 190 yards with a touchdown and interception. His 55.9% completion percentage and 5.6 yards per attempt average left a lot to be desired.
In another significant appearance against the Lions in 2022, Love was 10-for-17 with 134 yards, 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions.
ESPN’s Louis Riddick Defends Jared Goff as Best NFC North QB
Every analyst is paid to judge quarterbacks even when the sample size is small. The truth is that the NFL doesn’t really know what the Packers may have in Love.
For that reason, ESPN’s Louis Riddick adamantly disagreed with Tannenbaum. Riddick argued that, right now, the best quarterback in the NFC North is clearly Goff.
“When they won eight of the last 10 games to end the season, Goff finished fifth in the league in adjusted QBR, second in the league in QBR in the pocket, second in the league in QBR in the fourth quarter,” Riddick said. “What more do you want this guy to do in this offense in particular?”
Riddick particularly emphasized, “right now” during his argument. That’s key to the original question — who is the division’s best quarterback going into the season?
Riddick has been no stranger to Lions hype. He has been sending love the Lions’ way really since the end of the season.
On The Rich Eisen Show on May 16, he said the Lions were a team that “got it going on.”
Then on June 22, Riddick predicted on ESPN’s Get Up that Detroit would make it to the NFC Championship Game.
While defending Goff as the best NFC North quarterback to Tannenbaum, Riddick added that Detroit supports its signal caller with an NFL-caliber head coach in offensive coordinator Ben Johnson, a top 3 offensive line, two dynamic running backs and a young promising rookie tight end.
Perhaps Goff and Love will settle the top quarterback in the NFC North debate when the Lions and Packers meet on September 28.