While the Green Bay Packers fan base may be divided as to whether the team should have drafted Jordan Love in 2020, one thing that has become clear is that the former Utah State star has handled a difficult situation with class and done things the right way.
He stepped into a difficult situation where he was deemed the heir apparent to an all-time great quarterback who was extremely popular with the fan base in Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers is not only a four-time NFL MVP and a Super Bowl MVP but was the face of the franchise for more than a decade. He is a surefire first ballot Hall of Famer once he becomes eligible.
Throughout this difficult situation, Love has kept a low profile, worked hard on the things he needed to improve and has been a good team player.
Love’s first NFL season was a challenging one. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, Love did not have in-person OTAs or any preseason games to begin his adjustment to the NFL. He spent the year as the team’s third string quarterback behind Rodgers and Tim Boyle and did not see action in any regular season games.
In his second season, Love moved up to second string. He had a normal offseason and preseason and finally got to prepare normally for an NFL campaign. He saw his first NFL action in mop up duty during the Packers embarrassing season opening loss against the Saints and completed 5-of-7 passes for 68 yards.
Love got his first start in Week 9 when Rodgers landed on the Covid list. He started against the Chiefs in Kansas City and looked like a first-time starter. Love showed flashes of ability but was inconsistent. For the game, he completed 19-of-34 passes for 190 yards and one touchdown while throwing one interception. Love’s first career NFL touchdown pass was a 20-yard toss to Allen Lazard in the fourth quarter but the Packers lost 13-7.
Love appeared in six games in 2021 and completed 36-of-62 passes for 411 yards and threw two touchdowns and three interceptions.
In 2022, Love didn’t start any games but saw action in four contests. His best game came in Philadelphia when Rodgers suffered injured ribs. Love led the Packers to two late scores, a touchdown and a field goal while completing 6-of-8 passes for 113 yards and a touchdown.
Over the course of the 2022 season, the coaching staff started noticing the progress Love was making. The initial scouting reports indicated that the former first-round pick needed to work on his footwork and on reading defenses. He also needed to improve his confidence in the playbook and to look decisive when releasing the ball to take full advantage of his arm strength. Against the Eagles, his arm strength was noticeable, he was decisive and ran the offense well albeit in limited action.
Teammates started to notice the improvement in Love as well. Veteran linebacker De’Vondre Campbell called Love “better than a lot of quarterbacks in this [league] – a lot of starting quarterbacks” during the 2022 season.
Earlier this month, running back Aaron Jones also chimed in and said he believed Love was ready to start. “Jordan’s made a huge jump, especially this past year,” Jones said. “You could see it in practice, he was throwing dimes, doing different things. You can tell you got that confidence, and you’re just letting it loose now.” He concluded, “If Jordan Love has to step in, he’s more than ready.”
The good news for Packers fans is that now that GM Brian Gutekunst has indicated the team is ready to go with Love as their starter, Love is still doing things the right way. It was announced on Monday of this week that Love will be working out in California with Jones and second-year wide receivers Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs “to start to get their timing down” according to a Tweet by @ArmedDangerQBS.
This is something the Packers front office was critical of Rodgers for not doing last offseason. He didn’t work with his rookie receivers on his own and only attended the minimum three days of mandatory OTAs that were specified in his contract so he could earn his workout bonus. This angered and disappointed the Packers front office.
We do not know how good a quarterback Love will eventually be. He could be the third straight great quarterback the team has or he could be a disappointment. But one thing is apparent through the first three plus years of Love’s career: he’s working hard and doing things the right way on and off the field as he prepares to become the starting quarterback of the Green Bay Packers.
Follow Gil Martin on Twitter @GilPackers
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Go Pack Go and I really look forward to the 2023 Green Bay Packers Regular Season.