Ready for Love: Rodgers’ exit would mean a new era for the Packers

Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst appreciated Jordan Love’s potential enough three years ago to trade in the draft and select him in the first round, catching the Hall of Fame-caliber quarterback already on the roster by surprise. from Green Bay.

Love finally has a chance to show that it was worth the bet.

Aaron Rodgers, four-time NFL MVP, said on “The Pat McAfee Show” on YouTube and SiriusXM on Wednesday that he intends to play for the New York Jets in the 2023 season and expects the Packers trade it. Assuming that decision is made, Love will take over as Green Bay’s starting quarterback.

“We’re thrilled with him,” Gutekunst said Feb. 28 during the NFL scouting combine. “I think I told a lot of people that he needed to play. This is the next step in his progression.

Love’s two predecessors set the standard.

The Packers had three decades of Hall of Fame-caliber quarterback production from Brett Favre and Rodgers, who won seven combined MVP awards while in Green Bay.

Love has spent the past three seasons supporting Rodgers, just as Rodgers took over after supporting Favre for three seasons. Rodgers said during his appearance on the “Pat McAfee Show” that he felt like the Packers wanted to get away from him and make Love the starter.

“Jordan is going to be a great player,” Rodgers said. “He’s a…great boy.” He had a very good year this year, improving in the look team. He has a bright future ahead of him. »

Love has only had one career start, a 13-7 loss at Kansas City in 2021. His other most notable appearances came in the second half of a meaningless 2021 regular season finale in Detroit. and in relief from an injured Rodgers in Philadelphia last fall.

He’s gone 50 of 83 for 606 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions since the Packers selected him out of Utah State with the 26th overall pick in the 2020 draft.

“I have complete confidence in his abilities but also in his approach,” Packers coach Matt LaFleur said at the end of last season. “It’s been fun watching him mature as a football player, as a man, over the last three years. Just the way he walks around the building, his approach, his urgency, his fundamentals, everything what makes him a quarterback, I think we’ve seen significant growth from him.

It is difficult to analyze Love’s performances due to the circumstances surrounding many of them.

Love didn’t realize he would start in Kansas City until Rodgers found out the Wednesday before the game that he had tested positive for COVID-19. He threw two interceptions and a touchdown pass in the second half of a meaningless 2021 regular season finale against Detroit when the Packers rested many starters because they had already clinched the NFC’s first seed. .

His best outing came last season when he went 6 of 9 for 113 yards and a relief touchdown from an injured Rodgers in a 40-33 loss at Philadelphia. The Eagles were leading 37-23 in the fourth quarter when Love entered the game, which impacted their defense.

“I would say I feel more comfortable, more confident, I just see things a little cleaner and quicker,” Love said four days after the Eagles game.

Love’s job could be especially tough if the Packers don’t add more point guards.

Green Bay has a quality offensive line and one of the best running back tandems in the NFL with Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon both capable of catching passes. The Packers drafted three assists last season, with Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs combining to score 12 touchdowns as rookies.

But they might lack veteran receivers and tight ends.

Allen Lazard, who caught 60 passes for 788 yards last season, is an unrestricted free agent who tweeted a farewell to Green Bay on Wednesday. Wide receiver Randall Cobb and tight ends Robert Tonyan and Marcedes Lewis are also free agents.

Love will have to tap into everything he’s picked up over the past three seasons while supporting Rodgers. During his press conference after the Packers’ season finale, Rodgers was asked about Love’s willingness to take over in case the four-time MVP retires or is traded.

“You don’t know you’re ready until you’re in that position,” Rodgers said at the time. “I remember the day I was sleeping in San Diego and woke up to 50 text messages that Brett had taken down. Then the emotions hit you. “Oh man, now I’m the guy.” But you still have to go out there and find your rhythm with leadership and withstand the first year of different defenses throwing things at you and all the pressure that comes with everything.

“But I think he’s done a good job of improving, working on the little things, doing a good job in training. I think he has a chance to have a long future in the league. ___

AP NFL: and


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