The Green Bay Packers are set to open training camp later this month. This is the first in a series of articles previewing the Packers position by position, analyzing the talent on the roster and discussing key questions that are facing the Packers as they begin preparation for the 2022 season.
Today we look at the quarterback position. We will examine another position each day until the start of training camp.
- Aaron Rodgers
Rodgers returns for his 15th season as the team’s starting quarterback. He has won the last two NFL MVP awards and during that time he has thrown 85 touchdowns and just nine interceptions.
Rodgers remains one of the best quarterbacks in the league. He still has a strong arm and is still capable of making all the throws in the playbook. He is accurate and most importantly, rarely throws interceptions. For the last four seasons, he has had the lowest interception percentage in the league.
Rodgers led the Packers to the Super Bowl after the 2010 season and has gotten them to the NFC Championship Game four times since then without a win.
The former Cal star signed a new deal with the Packers this offseason that made him the highest paid player in the NFL. He signed a three-year extension but he will have decisions to make after each season regarding whether he wants to return or retire.
- Jordan Love
Love is entering his third season and the Packers want to see signs that the former first-round pick is ready to take over as the starter if Rodgers gets injured or decides to retire in a year.
The Utah State alum got his first NFL start against the Chiefs last season when Rodgers tested positive for Covid. The results were mixed as Love started slowly and led the team to just seven points in a 13-7 loss in Kansas City.
Love needs to work on his footwork and his ability to read defenses. He needs to show what he can do to earn the confidence of his teammates and the coaching staff. Barring an injury to Rodgers, the preseason will be Love’s big chance to demonstrate the progress he has made since joining the Packers.
- Danny Etling
Etling was drafted by the Patriots in the seventh round back in 2018. He has yet to take a snap in an NFL regular season game. Barring injury, the best the Etling can do is end up on the practice squad. He will turn 28 on July 22 and has yet to establish himself as anything more than a depth quarterback at the NFL level.
Three Key Questions
- Can Rodgers Continue to Play At an MVP Level Without Davante Adams?
For the past five years, Davante Adams has been Rodgers’ favorite receiver and he became one of the best wideouts in the league. Now, Adams is with the Raiders and speedster Marquez Valdes-Scantling signed with the Chiefs. Rodgers tended to lock on to Adams and throw the ball to him even when other receivers were open and Adams was in double coverage.
The Packers drafted three receivers including second round pick Christian Watson, fourth rounder Romeo Doubs and seventh rounder Samori Toure and signed Sammy Watkins as a free agent but will the quarterback be able to become comfortable with his new pass catchers and develop trust with them in time to thrive in 2022.
If he can, the offense will continue to click, if not, a significant regression is possible.
- Can Love Show Progress?
It takes time for most quarterbacks to be ready to start in the NFL and when the Packers drafted Love, they knew he was a bit of a project. But this is the start of his third NFL season and the time has come for Love to show significant progress.
Preseason will be his proving ground. There is no question Love has a strong arm but he needs to improve his footwork which sometimes causes his passes to flutter off course and reduces the speed of his throws. He has shown improvement at reading defenses but that needs to continue this year.
Love also needs to show more leadership when he is on the field and that he can inspire confidence in his teammates.
At the very least, Love’s addition has lit a fire under Rodgers that helped inspire his last two MVP campaigns. But now Love needs to prove he is a worthy successor when Rodgers decides to retire or at least that he can capably fill in if Rodgers is out of the lineup.
- Can Etling Fill the Need as the Team’s Third Quarterback
The Packers usually keep two quarterbacks on the active roster so Etling is likely headed for the practice squad. During preseason, he needs to show the team he is a capable depth quarterback. The Packers released the popular Kurt Benkert in favor of Etling.
If he isn’t the man the Packers need as their third quarterback, the Packers need to know sooner rather than later so the person they bring in can learn the playbook and be prepared to at least play in the preseason.
Follow Gil Martin on Twitter @GilPackers
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