The Green Bay Packers start a new era this season as Jordan Love becomes the team’s starting quarterback. For the first time in three decades, the Packers will start the season without either Brett Favre or Aaron Rodgers under center. Love has been on the team for three years and has started just one game. After watching him play in all three preseason games, here are five things the Packers can expect from Love in his first season as the starter:

Packers Jordan Love Expectation Number 5: Love Isn’t Afraid to Throw Over the Middle

One thing Rodgers didn’t like to do was throw the football in the middle of the field in between the hash marks. He rarely did this in recent seasons, and it limited the Green Bay offense. That is not an issue for Love who threw over the middle often during the team’s three preseason games.

The Packers also have better weapons to get open over the middle this season with rookie Jayden Reed set to start as the slot receiver and Luke Musgrave giving the team more speed and the ability to get downfield than the team has had at tight end in recent years.

This will allow the team to run more pass patterns on offense and allow head coach Matt LaFleur to utilize more of his playbook.

Expectation 4: Love Gives the Team More Mobility

Love is not an elite running threat, but at this stage in his career, he is able to extend plays and escape pressure using his legs and to scramble for key yards.

Against the Seahawks in the third preseason game, Love evaded pass rushers and ran three times for 21 yards. That included an 11-yard scramble that picked up a key first down to keep the drive alive.

Love will be able to do more with his legs than his 39-year-old predecessor could do last year although Rodgers was still capable of the occasional scramble.

This should help the Packers offensive line reduce the number of sacks they give up this season.

Packers Jordan Love Expectation Number 3: Love Needs to Improve His Accuracy on Deep Balls

One thing Love struggled with in the preseason was his accuracy on long passes. Rodgers loved to throw the ball deep downfield and for most of his career in Green Bay, he was very good at it.

Love has been extremely inconsistent when trying to throw the ball deep downfield during the three preseason games. This is something he will need to work on during the season.

There is little doubt Love has the arm strength to get the ball deep and make all the throws required of an NFL quarterback. He needs to learn how to handle the winds at Lambeau Field and to get his timing down with Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs, Reed, and all his receivers to improve his long passing.

Expectation 2: Love’s Decision Making Has Been Very Strong

One thing the Packers coaching staff has been pleased with during the preseason is Love’s decision making. He is making the right reads and is getting the ball away quickly. Love looks confident and comfortable in the offense.

Love’s teammates certainly have confidence in him. “I think we’ve all known from the jump that Jordan was ready to go and ready to have his opportunity,” Watson said after the preseason finale. “I think that he’s been able to show his poise and his ability to command this offense and command this team. Like I said, we’re ready to go.”

For the preseason, Love led the Packers to at least one touchdown in each of the three games in limited action. He finished the preseason by completing 21-of-33 passes for 183 yards and three touchdowns. He did not throw an interception and had a quarterback rating of 109.8 despite averaging just 5.8-yards per attempt.

Packers Jordan Love Expectation Number 1: This Will Be a Learning Process

Overall, Love looks like he should be a competent NFL starting quarterback and he appears ready for the season. Still, he still has only regular season start under his belt and this year will be a learning process.

Like any inexperienced quarterback, Love will have moments where he misses an open receiver or misreads a defense or just misfires.

The key for the Packers both this year and beyond is that Love continues to develop and shows the potential to be the team’s next long-term starting quarterback.

Thus far, the former Utah State has handled a difficult situation well. He has worked hard on his footwork and his ability to read defenses. Love also learned from watching Rodgers over the last three years. He spent extra time this offseason working independently with his young receivers and running backs in addition to attending all voluntary OTAs.

Love has stuck to the plan and now it’s time to see the results. This season will be a learning process, but it will reveal the potential the Packers new quarterback has and what he’s capable of becoming.



Follow Gil Martin on Twitter @GilPackers

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