Green Bay Packers first-round rookie Jordan Love will not spend his first NFL season one play away from becoming the starting quarterback.
As expected, Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst confirmed that Tim Boyle, the team’s No. 2 quarterback last year, will retain the crucial role of backing up Aaron Rodgers for the 2020 season for a simple and overarching reason: Boyle is much better than Love at this point in the rookie’s development.
“Both Tim and Jordan had excellent camps,” Gutekunst told reporters Sunday in a Zoom call. “Obviously, Tim’s quite a bit further ahead of Jordan from knowing the offense, being in Year 2 of it, being Year 3 in the NFL. That springtime, not having that foundation and not having the preseason games to go through, I think, hurt all the young players. We feel really good about both our backup quarterbacks and feel they both have bright futures in the National Football League.”
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Decision Expected, Even Before Training Camp
From the moment earlier this summer when Packers head coach Matt LaFleur said he was interested in keeping three quarterbacks on the 2020 roster, the pecking order has been assumed. There was always a chance that Love could have arrived for camp and surprised with a quick and natural grasp of the offense, but it became clear after only a few training-camp sessions that the 26th overall pick would need time to learn.
A long-term development for Love has always been the plan for the Packers, who have Rodgers under contract until 2024 and will presumably have to wait at least two seasons before thinking about mobilizing him. A high level of performance from Rodgers over the next few years could also influence the Packers’ decision, even if it only buys him another year.
Inevitably, the Packers will make the shift to Love at some point unless his behind-the-scenes development reveals a true error in judgment on their part. And so far, there are no signs of that happening, which should have Packers fans elated. The move may have ruffled some fans’ feathers this offseason with perceived needs elsewhere, but the continuation of nearly three decades of strong quarterback play would seem worth it — if Love pays off.
In the meantime, the Packers will stick with two quarterbacks they trust to get the job done at a high level. While they naturally hope they will never need to turn to anyone but Rodgers for the upcoming season, Gutekunst has affirmed the Packers feel confident in Boyle’s ability to win games as the starter if the worst ever happens.
“I think Tim has done an outstanding job,” Gutekunst said of Boyle during camp. “Again, his future is really bright here and we’re excited about him. He’s taken every opportunity he’s had so far this year and really grown from where he was last year, and I thought last year he was pretty good. He’s proven himself day in and day out.
“Again, with Aaron back there, you hope you never have to go that route, but if we did I feel very confident we can win games with Tim Boyle.”
And hey, if he’s wrong, at least the Packers have a first-round quarterback on deck.