At his first NFL training camp, Jordan Love saved his best for last.
The Green Bay Packers‘ first-round rookie quarterback handled himself well during Sunday’s scrimmage at Lambeau Field and delivered what head coach Matt LaFleur would consider his “best day” across his 12 practices with the team.
According to an unofficial tally from ESPN’s Rob Demovksy, Love went 8-of-14 passing for 98 yards and a touchdown on the day with a perfect 5-for-5 finish in his final drive, including a 34-yard deep ball to Darrius Shepherd and a 4-yard fade to Malik Turner. Demovsky did note, however, that four of Love’s incompletions were overthrows.
Love to Malik Turner in the back corner of the end zone for a touchdown to end practice. Some better throws from 10 today. Solid way to end practice at Lambeau.
— Andy Herman (@AndyHermanNFL) August 30, 2020
“It felt like it was his best day up to this point, just making some key throws downfield,” LaFleur told reporters over Zoom on Sunday afternoon. “I think he’s consistently getting better and better and better. That tends to happen with these guys when you have more of a game-plan emphasis going into it. You kind of shrink the playbook down for him and hopefully, he wasn’t thinking as much out there, and I think that translated into a better performance.”
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Critics Have Been Harsh About Love’s Camp
There are fans and analysts who have been griping about Love since the moment the Packers traded up and selected him at No. 26 overall in April’s draft, so it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that some of his critics are overanalyzing the limited clips of him that have emerged from his first training camp.
First, there was the clip of Rodgers showing the rook how it’s done in a throwing drill. Then came a series of videos shot by Jim Owczarski of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that depicted each of the Packers’ three quarterbacks attempting the same drill with Love … well, missing his mark by a noticeable amount.
What a throw by Packers QB Jordan Love 😳pic.twitter.com/MmCUjfQILS
— Dave (@runbackdave) August 28, 2020
The criticism hasn’t just come from angry fans or internet haters, either. Matt Schneidman of The Athletic named Love as one of the Packers who has seen his stock fall throughout training camp, writing that while Love “hasn’t fallen own the quarterback depth chart,” he has “yet to even provide a glimpse at why the Packers traded up to draft him in the first round.”
LaFleur has also been honest about Love’s progression throughout camp, keeping in mind that the rookie was deprived of a proper offseason due to the COVID-19 pandemic and came into his first training camp behind the regular curve.
“There is a lot to clean up right now,” LaFleur told reporters on Aug. 15. “He’s a young quarterback that is learning a new system, and just how specific we are with the footwork. I think that takes time. But I am pleased at how he attacks it on a daily basis. I think he’s a really intelligent kid and he’s very athletic, so I think it’s a matter of time before he can pick up the mechanics.”