John Lovett Provides Insurance at a Key Position

With John Lovett's skill-set, he provides the Green Bay Packers with some insurance at a key position within the Matt LaFleur offense.

 

The Packers need a wide receiver! Green Bay has to sign a defensive lineman! What about the right tackle?!

These are all concerns that fans - including myself to a certain extent - and members of the national media have voiced over the offseason. While everyone was hoping that Green Bay would zig towards a well-known receiver or a defensive lineman, GM Brian Gutekunst zags as he claimed John Lovett off waivers from the Kansas City Chiefs a week ago. 

This is a move that may have left many asking, why? But given the importance of the H-back position in Matt LaFleur's offense, along with Lovett's versatility, it does make sense.

In order for LaFleur to achieve that "illusion of complexity," as he calls it within his offense, it requires a versatile group of players. This allows LaFleur to run various plays, from different formations, but with the same personnel, which in theory, is going to make life more difficult for opposing defenses with many of the roles being interchangeable. 

That means having a player who can lineup in the backfield, inline, in the slot, and even out wide while also being a capable blocker and pass-catcher. This player is also known as an H-back, and the hope that LaFleur has is that third-round pick Josiah Deguara can fill that role similarily to what Kyle Juszczyk does in San Francisco. 

As I've mentioned in previous articles, Juszczyk does a little bit of everything in the Niner offense, and he has been referred to as their secret weapon. Last season in an interview with members of the Green Bay media before their Week 12 matchup, 49ers' coach Kyle Shanahan described what just Juszczyk's presence on the field does for his offense: 

"When you have a fullback in there, the defense knows there are certain blitzes and certain things they can't do because you're going to be able to block it all up. If you have a fullback in, no matter what they do, you have a chance to run the ball, or at least the threat of it. So it changes some looks and allows you to call whatever you want if you really want to do that regardless of what the defense is doing."

While Deguara may never reach Juszczyk's level - although we sure hope he does - if he can be effective in the role, he is one of the key players to unlocking this offense's full potential. However, as I highlighted in my most recent article from this past Monday, that is a tall task to ask of a rookie.

You can find that article here, but to sum it up, rookies have had to endure an offseason with no OTAs, mini-camps, less time in the building, along with no preseason games. Expecting Deguara to come in and have blocking technique like an offensive lineman, know the intricacies of route running like a receiver, and know all of his blocking assignments out of the backfield, well, that's an unreasonable ask. 

Now, this isn't to say he won't see the field or can't play at a high level in certain situations, but he certainly won't be used within the full scope of this offense. 

So, what do good NFL teams do when they have a key position but don't have options on the depth chart behind him? They go and get a backup.

Enter John Lovett, the second-year player out of Princeton. Lovett was the Ivy League Offensive Player of the Year in 2016 and 2018 at quarterback of all positions. 

Lovett would do it all at Princeton, throwing for over 2,500 yards with 31 touchdowns, rushing for nearly 1,600 yards with 42 touchdowns, and even hauling in 553 receiving yards with two additional touchdowns. 

In an interview with Mark Eckel of Packer Report, Lovett's coach at Princeton, Bob Surace, described just how versatile Lovette is:

“John was a Taysom Hill for us before anyone knew who Taysom Hill was,’’ Lovett’s coach at Princeton, Bob Surace, told Packer Report. “He played tight end, slot receiver, fullback, running back and quarterback for us. We used to joke that the NBA has a triple double, John was a walking, living, breathing triple double. He would go 6-for-7 passing for 70 yards and a touchdown; he’d run for 95 yards and a touchdown; and he would catch four passes for 60 yards and another touchdown. And he would do that almost every game.’’

It's his versatility that intrigued LaFleur and Gutekunst during the 2019 draft process as Green Bay did bring Lovett in for a pre-draft visit. However, as an undrafted free agent, he would ultimately sign with Kansas City.

There Lovett would be listed as a tight end but would, unfortunately, spend the entire 2019 season on IR. But now in Green Bay and fully healthy, LaFleur told reporters in a recent Zoom call, how he thinks Lovett can fit into this offense:

“Real versatile player, very, very smart. I think he can do fullback, but also that movable tight end piece that I think is extremely valuable, to add a little flexibility to the offense."

It's not a coincidence that the San Francisco 49ers also put in a waiver claim on Lovett. 

In today's NFL, rostering a pair of H-backs would be considered a wasted roster spot by many, but I imagine that if you ask LaFleur or Shanahan their thoughts on that matter, they would disagree.  

While I wouldn't consider Lovett a lock by any means, I do believe he has a decent chance of making that final roster when we take into consideration his skill-set, the importance of this position in LaFleur's offense, and the fact that Deguara is a rookie in what has been an odd offseason.

At other key positions, NFL teams always try to make sure they have plenty of depth, so why wouldn't the Green Bay Packers do the same with Deguara and Lovett? 

---------------------

Born and raised in Green Bay, WI and I still call it home. After my family, watching the Packers, sharing my opinions on the team through my writing and interacting with other fans is my greatest passion. You can find me on Twitter at @Paul_Bretl. 
 

NFL Categories: 
9 points

Comments (8)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
nostradanus's picture

August 14, 2020 at 01:19 pm

I agree Paul I watch some of his college tape and he was terrific. Maybe they can sneak him on the practice squad, but either way I’m sure he’d be a great special-teams guy also. I hope he makes it.

+ REPLY
9 points
10
1
jannes bjornson's picture

August 14, 2020 at 04:17 pm

He can replace Tonyan.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
mbpacker's picture

August 14, 2020 at 04:44 pm

Yeah, he sounds like a versatile dude. Hope he can contribute on ST. Even if he doesn't get a lot of snaps from the HB position, it just makes a defense have to account and plan for him.

+ REPLY
2 points
2
0
Starrbrite's picture

August 14, 2020 at 08:43 pm

Absolute genius, we can finally breathe a sigh of relief. With Malik Turner, Fulgham, and now Lovett on the roster, the SB is signed, sealed, and delivered. Forget those other poor FA choices like Harrison, Clay Matthews, Dez Bryantt, Clowney , Griffin, and others. Pure genius!!

+ REPLY
-16 points
0
16
Guam's picture

August 15, 2020 at 07:59 am

With the numbers at TE and H-back, I think the days of six WRs is just about over.

+ REPLY
7 points
7
0
Bure9620's picture

August 15, 2020 at 01:45 pm

Guam gets it.....

+ REPLY
1 points
1
0
flackcatcher's picture

August 15, 2020 at 07:05 pm

Yay. (No I mean it) Packer running game was seriously crippled by the end of season with no TE/FB/HB to run the blocking and short seam option routes in MLF playbook. Packers need more blocking coming out of the second level for the play action to be effective. Now maybe if they can a reliable FB...

+ REPLY
1 points
1
0
mnbadger's picture

August 15, 2020 at 08:18 am

I agree with everything you say Paul, but for the deception to really work, we also need playmakers to take advantage of the opportunities and QB12 has to pass the ball to the open receiver. Let's hope MLF can oil the machine up quickly and smoothly. GPG

+ REPLY
5 points
5
0

Log in to comment and more!

Not a member yet? Join free.

If you have already commented on Cheesehead TV in the past, we've created an account for you. Just verify your email, set a password and you're golden.