Jordan Love addressed the media for the first time since taking over as the starting quarterback of the Green Bay Packers on Wednesday.
Some change in Love’s demeanor was evident. He seemed confident and more relaxed than he did in the past and more aware of his place in the locker room. Love recognized he wasn’t just getting a chance to start but he will now have a chance to lead.
The former Utah State star acknowledged it will not be easy taking over for a future Hall of Famer in Aaron Rodgers. “I mean, it’s pressure,” Love admitted. “No matter where you’re going to be at, there’s going to be pressure. You’re an NFL quarterback. There’s only so many of you, so everyone’s watching you. Everyone’s watching every move you make on the field, so it’s pressure, but that’s what comes with the position. That’s what I signed up for. That’s what I knew I was getting myself into and it comes down to me just making the most of that.”
One thing Love recognized was the opportunity he had to learn from watching Rodgers the past three seasons.
“I learned a lot,” Love explained. “I was just able to watch a great quarterback and how he works every day, how he handles business in the locker room, interacts with teammates. How he attacked every day. Just being able to sit back and observe him. Observe his footwork, how the ball comes out of his hands, and just how he practices every day and take that into a game. It was very valuable stuff that I was able to sit for three years and pick his brain on and watch him work.”
It wasn’t always easy being behind Rodgers on the depth chart and there were times he doubted whether he’d ever get a chance in Green Bay. “I’ll admit, I think the hardest time was when he re-signed the contract last year,” Love told reporters. “It was kind of like, ‘OK, well, where do we go from here? What do I do?’ And I think I sat back, thought to myself and just came back with the approach like, let’s just go ball out any opportunity I get. I’m going to get preseason, and who knows what happens after that? So just grow and try and become the best version of myself and I can’t really control what happens after that, so let it play out.”
Through it all, Love remained confident in his own abilities and worked hard to improve his game. “I’ve always been confident in myself,” Love said. “I knew that if I had to go in, I was going to make the most out of that opportunity. Just go in there with confidence, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. I was able to show what I always believed.”
Love’s confidence grew over the three years he spent on the bench and so did his coaches’ confidence in him. Earlier during his tenure in Green Bay, head coach Matt LaFleur said he wanted to see Love “let it rip” which meant play with more confidence.
For Love, it took time for him to get there. “I think the term ‘let it rip,’ it’s hard when you first get here,” said Love. “Your mind is flushed around so many different things. Trying to learn a different scheme, trying to learn to read defense and where to go with the ball, so kind of thinking a little bit too much out there, and you can’t just play freely. The more you keep building and learning, that’s where I get that term ‘let it rip,’ knowing where to go with the ball and letting it fly.”
Love’s teammates have been encouraged by his development. “He has everyone’s respect, and he works, just like everybody else,” running back Aaron Jones said. “We all love Jordan here and, like I said he has everyone’s full respect, and we’re all going to go lay it out on the line for him.”
Jones sees some similarities between Love and Rodgers in their approach to leading. “Their confidence, the way both of them carry themselves, the way guys respect them in the locker room, the way when they talk, they command the locker room or the huddle is, I would say, the biggest ways that they’re alike,” Jones said. “It’s cool to see. Jordan had time to sit back and learn for those three years. He’s ready. He’s going to make the most of his opportunities.”
But Love wants to be himself and to be a little more positive than Rodgers sometimes was. “My main focus is trying to bring guys along,” Love said. “Trying to give everyone else confidence in themselves. The confidence that I believe in them, and I trust them, and just try to bring guys up. Never want to be negative around guys. We all want the same goal. We all want to be great to work together and try to bring guys along.”
Now is the start of a new era in Green Bay. Love is taking the reigns under center, and he feels he is ready for the job.
“I have confidence in myself, and I have confidence in the team,” Love said. “We are going to take it day by day. I can’t say what will happen this year, what might happen next year, who knows? But we have a really good team and I think we are going to be able to work together every day and just grow.”
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