He’s not to the point where he’s giving long and revealing answers like Aaron Rodgers, and he’s not one to crack up the room like third-stringer Kurt Benkert, so what is Jordan Love as he settles into the No. 2 quarterback job with the Green Bay Packers now that the reigning NFL MVP has returned?
No one’s immediate future was more up in the air during Rodgers’ standoff with the team than Love’s. Yet to hear his teammates tell it and to listen to him answer questions, Love was — and still is — nothing if not calm and even-keeled.
“Obviously there’s going to be either two options: Either he was going to be back or he wasn’t,” Love stated of Rodgers on Thursday in his first public comments since training camp opened on July 28.
“So yeah, I mean, it’s obviously very great to have Aaron back just on this team. Obviously he’s a huge presence at the quarterback position and in the locker room as well and then as a leader on the team, so it’s great to have him back.”
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A day after Rodgers said he tried to keep Love abreast of
any developments during the offseason — because as Rodgers said, “I just
felt that’s what I would want in that situation, just to hear from the
guy” — Love called their relationship like a Master and Padawan, referring
to one of Rodgers’ favorite movies, “Star Wars.”
Love said he found out about Rodgers’ return just before he
boarded a plane to Green Bay for training camp.
“Actually, the whole time I had to convince myself that
I was going to be the starter,” Love said. “That’s the only way you
can look at that situation. I feel like if you don’t, you won’t be ready.
That’s how I looked at it the whole way — is in my head he wasn’t coming back,
I’ve got to get myself ready to be the starter.”
It was an invaluable offseason of work for Love, the 26th
overall pick of the 2020 draft, given that he served as the No. 3 quarterback
last season and did not even suit up for a single match as a rookie.
Much like in offseason practices, Love has experienced good and bad days so far in camp. Take Thursday, for example. He completed a tight-window crosser to Reggie Begelton and had perfect placement on a deep sideline out to Devin Funchess. But then during the two-minute drill, he went 0-for-3 with a pair of turnovers on downs and an interception by undrafted rookie Christian Uphoff on a wobbly deep ball.
“It was funny, I was talking to him in pre-practice today just about how things are going, and he seems so calm this year,” Packers guard Lucas Patrick said Thursday. “You can tell that he’s picking up on everything, and I think those OTAs reps were crucial for him. Just a ton of reps to say the cadence, say the playcall, go through things, hit strikes on quick stuff. Yeah, so I think he’s handling it well.”
Love said it helps that he can work in what he called “a great quarterback room” where he’s surrounded by the thoughtful Rodgers and the outgoing Benkert. While Rodgers was revealing again in his comments on Wednesday and Benkert cracked up the room by telling reporters the story of how he got cut by the Falcons earlier this year and that he basically invited himself to a July 4 cookout with some Packers fans, Love was his composed and buttoned-up self as he waits his turn.
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