As quarterback Jordan Love enters his third season in Green Bay, the Packers’ window to make a decision on their former first-round draft pick is shrinking. Aaron Rodgers is coming off back-to-back MVP seasons, but rumors persist he’s beginning to contemplate his exit.
In a league where quarterback performance often dictates a team’s success, the Packers truly can’t afford to bungle their transition out of the Rodgers era.
An All-Important Summer
When the Packers announced Rodgers would not play in the preseason, and Love would be the starter for those games, it became apparent this summer was going to be a major test for the young QB.
“This is a consequential summer for Jordan Love,” said Mike Tannenbaum, former NFL executive and co-founder of The 33rd Team. “The Packers need to know what they have with him. Is he a potential successor to Aaron Rodgers? I would give him as many competitive snaps as possible, including joint practices and preseason games.”
In a 28-21 loss to San Francisco in Week 1 of the preseason, Love played the entire first half and completed 13-of-24 passes for 176 yards, with two touchdowns and three interceptions. He also rushed four times for 24 yards.
Assuming Love takes advantage of his opportunities and shows real promise, that still leaves the question of how to handle things in the short term. Longtime NFL coordinator Marty Mornhinweg thinks the Packers need to keep funneling resources into Love’s development.
“If the Green Bay Packers organization believes Jordan Love has a reasonable chance to be the next Brett Favre or Aaron Rodgers, then it is worth all the resources,” Mornhinweg said. “The QB position is the most important position in all of sports.”
Maintaining Love’s Development
Should the Packers choose to commit to Love as their next QB, they’ll need to find a way to ensure his continued development despite a lack of first-team reps.
“As Aaron Rodgers said in the past — R-E-L-A-X,” said former NFL coach Dave Wannstedt. “The futures of Rodgers and Love are not a concern with three weeks until the regular season. It’s all about now.”
“I would treat him the same as any other backup on the field,” said Joe Banner, former NFL axecutive and co-founder of The 33rd Team. “I am allocating extra one-on-one time with a coach to master the mental part. In time, he will either prove to be better than he has looked or take a big step forward.”
Of course, it won’t be entirely the front office’s responsibility to bring along the young quarterback. The coaching staff will need to do its part as well.
“I think it’s important for this year that they keep developing him,” said Mike Zimmer, former Vikings head coach. “The year Rodgers got hurt we were able to shut them out when we played them because the backup wasn’t ready. Obviously, Aaron is a great, great player and maybe the best I ever coached against.”
Zimmer also points to the value Love could potentially end up providing outside the QB position.
“Love will have value to teams across the league and the Packers will have the opportunity, in the future, to trade for a player that can help them,” Zimmer said. “It’s a good situation to have.”
Jamie Arnowich contributed to this report.