Jordan Love may find himself in a different position than the rest of the 2020 first-round quarterbacks, but at least he is staying realistic about his situation with Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers.
Much has been made about the Packers’ quarterback situation ever since they traded up in last spring’s 2020 NFL draft and selected Love with the No. 26 overall pick, but an MVP-caliber season from Rodgers has only seemed to reinforce the veteran’s future. Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst even went as far as to verbally commit to Rodgers “not only for next year but for years to come” in his end-of-year press conference on Monday.
So, where does that leave Love, the only of four first-round rookie quarterbacks not to play during the 2020 season? Here’s what Love told CBS Sports on Tuesday as he prepares for his first full offseason with the Packers in 2021:
“The situation I’m in, they brought me in to learn as much as I can, and that’s really all I can do. I don’t make those calls; they do. Obviously, (like) anybody, you wanna be out there competing. The way I look at it, if I’m not ready to be out there, then I have to keep working. I mean, I definitely grew a lot during the season. It’s a lot when you first get there, your head’s kinda spinning, but once you get your feet into it and get through the season, your confidence gains.”
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Love Remains Quarterback-in-Training
Love’s development for the Packers remains very much under wraps almost 10 months after his arrival. Part of that is due to Rodgers’ good health, but most of it is a result of the COVID-19 pandemic eliminating preseason games and in-person offseason workouts. The only real impression anyone outside of the organization has been given of Love came in some limited training-camp sessions in front of media last summer.
Things should be different, however, in Love’s second year in the league. While he functioned as Green Bay’s No. 3 quarterback in 2020 and was a healthy inactive during all 18 games, a promotion by virtue of free agency could await Love next season. Rodgers’ current backup, Tim Boyle, is set to become a restricted free agent in March and may not be worth the price of returning with a first-rounder waiting in the wings.
In the meantime, Love is playing the part written for him and looking to absorb not only the Packers’ playbook but whatever he can from the future Hall of Famer that leads his room.
“I think the biggest thing I took from watching him is watching how he practices,” Love said Tuesday night during an appearance on The Zach Gelb Show. “The dude practices just like he plays. A super-consistent dude every day. He’s mad if he misses a throw or somebody messes up a route in practice, same way he’d be made in the game. Just learning how consistent he is.”
Gutekunst Remains Excited About Love
Even after receiving one of Rodgers’ best seasons to date and watching the Packers come one win away from the Super Bowl for a second straight year, Gutekunst said he has “no regrets” about the decision to move up for Love — regardless of how much some fans would have preferred wide receiver or linebacker in the first round.
It is fair to wonder, though, how the Packers will approach the future of their young first-rounder if Rodgers sustains his elite level of play. Will they be satisfied with such a high-round pick serving as a long-term backup? Might they try trading Love to a quarterback-needy team and recoup some of the draft stock lost in taking him?
Predictably, Gutekunst wouldn’t commit either way; though, he did double down on his support and confidence in Love after his first year in the league.
“I view Jordan as a very talented prospect that we’re excited about developing,” Gutekunst told reporters Monday. “I know that’s not the norm having quarterbacks sit for a long time, but we certainly believe in that.
This probably won’t be the first time we draft a quarterback and try to develop him because we just think it’s such an important part of the game. … We’re excited to continue down that road and get him in some preseason games at the same time while we’re competing for championships with Aaron.”