Jordan Love has only gotten to spend a few weeks as “the guy” for the Green Bay Packers, but starting tight end Robert Tonyan already likes what he’s seen.
Tonyan was asked about Love’s development after Wednesday’s session of Green Bay’s voluntary organized team activities (OTAs) and heaped praise on the second-year quarterback for how well he has handled his elevated workout this offseason. Love has been functioning as the Packers’ No. 1 quarterback since their offseason program began in April, but the past two weeks have given him a chance to put it all together on the field with (most) of the starters in attendance.
“I think just honestly he’s getting more reps and more opportunity to go out there and control the huddle and control the game and control the offense and be the leader out there,” Tonyan told reporters Wednesday. “I think it’s good for him. He didn’t get much opportunity with that sitting behind Aaron (Rodgers) and Tim (Boyle), and no preseason games (in 2020), so I think him being the guy this OTAs has been beneficial to him.”
Tonyan also said he has stayed in touch with Steve Calhoun, his former receivers coach, throughout the offseason and gotten regular updates from him on Love’s progress. Calhoun has been working with Love as his personal quarterback coach for about eight years and helped him put in rigorous work in the spring to prepare for his second NFL season.
“I know keeping in contact with him, he sees Jordan getting better and I see Jordan getting better,” Tonyan said. “If young guys want to go out on the field or show them what they got, they just gotta keep progressing and keep their stock rising, and Jordan’s doing that thus far.”
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Tonyan Not Only Packer Noticing Love’s Progress
Tonyan was on the receiving end of 11 touchdown passes during the 2020 season, so his assessment of the Packers’ possible future at quarterback is hardly something to shrug at. Nobody is suggesting Love is ready (yet) to jump into the shoes of NFL starting quarterback, but it should be encouraging for skeptical fans to hear some of the team’s biggest weapons noting the strides he has taken between seasons.
Aaron Jones has seen the difference. The Packers’ star running back was impressed after their second OTA workout with how much more comfortable Love seemed in the huddle, operating with the swagger of someone who is no longer just being a sponge and learning the playbook.
“You can tell he’s just a lot more comfortable out there, even from communicating in the huddle to the command of the huddle to just everything,” Jones said on May 25. “He’s had a year under his belt, he’s had time to watch and learn, so you can tell it’s a little bit different from what it was before. He’s going to continue to grow, and I’m happy to be here working with him.”
Love Looking Improved in Early Showings
The objective reviews coming out of Green Bay’s OTAs have been mostly positive when it comes to Love. Numerous Packers insiders have remarked about how much faster the ball seems to be coming out of his hand, while traces of progress in other areas can be found in the handful of practice clips that have been shared to Twitter.
According to ESPN’s Rob Demovsky, Love was 10-of-17 passing in Wednesday’s second open-to-media practice with two sacks and an interception that came from a wide receiver dropping a pass. He also made the observation that Love was throwing quite a few checkdown passes to running backs and tight ends during the practice; though, head coach Matt LaFleur didn’t suggest that was anything to worry about.
“I want him to do whatever, wherever the read takes him throughout his progression,” LaFleur said after Wednesday’s practice. “The one thing we’ve really stressed on to him is reading with your feet. Today was the first time that we’ve had a competitive period that wasn’t 7-on-7, so I think there was definitely some learning for everybody on the offensive side. It was a little bit of a rough day for the offense, but typically this time of the year, I think that’s pretty normal just in terms of the defense is typically ahead of your offense. We’ll take a look at the tape, but I think he’s really attacking it the right way. The focus is there, the work ethic. He’s grinding away and trying to get a little bit better each and every day.”