Green Bay Packers quarterback Jordan Love says he won’t let the uncertainty surrounding teammate Aaron Rodgers change his own offseason approach.
But the situation certainly appears to be affecting the sophomore professional’s workload.
As a rookie, Love did not play a single down and never participated in any preseason games due to the pandemic. With Rodgers out of mandatory Green Bay minicamp, the Packers must now prepare for the possibility that Love could open the season as their starting quarterback.
“My way of thinking throughout the offseason has been to prepare, to prepare, and that has been my way of thinking since I got here,” Love said Wednesday. “Whether Aaron is here or not, that will be my mindset anyway, because I have to prepare to play and be able to go out and take the reins of the team and be able to perform at a high level and do the best I can so that everyone else can do their job too. “
Love has been considered Rodgers’ eventual successor since the Packers traded four spots in last year’s draft to take the former Utah State quarterback with the 26th pick.
When ESPN reported just before this year’s draft that Rodgers doesn’t want to return to the Packers, it became clear that Love might need to take over as soon as this season.
“I’ve been living my life, man, trying to do what I can do to improve this offseason and obviously not knowing what’s going to happen next,” Love said.
Love has received much of the work with the first team offense in the early days of minicamp. Packers coach Matt LaFleur said Tuesday that Love “needs all the reps he can get right now” because of his inexperience.
The Packers signed former Jacksonville Jaguars starter Blake Bortles and Kurt Benkert over the past month to join Love. Tim Boyle, who backed Rodgers last season, signed with the Detroit Lions.
Love has shown the ups and downs expected of a player so early in his career. He struggled on Tuesday but performed much better on Wednesday.
“You have to treat each day as its own entity and you cannot rest on what you did the day before, be it good or bad,” LaFleur said Wednesday. “And that’s what we’re looking for from him, and I think he’s done a good job responding on a daily basis.”
Staying focused is a difficult task for any young quarterback, but Love faces an even greater challenge due to the circumstances surrounding his arrival in Green Bay.
General manager Brian Gutekunst did not notify Rodgers in advance that the Packers were going to select a quarterback in the first round. Rodgers later said the Packers’ decision caught him by surprise.
Both quarterbacks say there is no problem between them.
“With my situation, look, it’s never been about the draft pick, picking Jordan,” Rodgers said last month in an interview with ESPN. “I love Jordan. He’s a great kid, it’s so much fun working together. “
Love said Wednesday that he and Rodgers “have a good relationship.” Love said he spoke with Rodgers a week before heading to Green Bay to begin offseason work, though he did not discuss the details of that conversation.
While Love’s progress is difficult to measure due to his lack of experience, the Packers say they have noticed a difference. Quarterbacks coach Luke Getsy said Love is “light years” from where he was a year ago.
All-Pro catcher Davante Adams said this week that he is praying that Rodgers will return and at the same time offer encouragement to Love. Adams wants to make sure every one of Green Bay’s quarterbacks is ready to play if one of them ends up having to take over.
“I think he’s doing a good job right now,” Adams said of Love. “He’s locked up, and I can see, he may be a little nervous, but that’s what comes with it, it’s a lot of responsibility, a lot of things on his plate. You just have to have your mind right, ready to go. I will definitely let those guys know, look, whatever happens, you know you will have our support. It’s not your fault that they see you in a situation if that’s what happens. “
Love is trying to prepare for any situation. That means you don’t have time to worry about what other people say about Green Bay’s quarterbacks’ woes.
“I don’t hear outside noise,” Love said. “I just try to be true to myself and understand that I cannot control anything that happens outside the building. I can only focus on how I can improve each day and, like I said, control what I can control. That’s all I’m trying to do. “