Matt LaFleur states the obvious to Jordan Love: Always prepare as if you’re the starter

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Some of the headlines floating around on this point create the impression, subtly or not and intentionally or otherwise, that Packers coach Matt LaFleur has implied to quarterback Jordan Love that Love will be the Week One starter.

That’s not what LaFleur said, and it’s clearly not what he meant. LaFleur’s message to Love was the same message that any NFL head coach would (or at least should) send to a backup quarterback.

“It’s the same message it’s been all the time, is you’re only one play away, so you always have to prepare like you’re the starter,” LaFleur told reporters regarding his message to Love. “And just to be very intentional about the work that you put in. To go out there with a purpose. To be mindful and in the moment.”

That’s absolutely right. Even if/when Aaron Rodgers shows up (and it won’t be a surprise if he does), Love remains the primary backup. If Rodgers gets injured (a broken collarbone caused him to miss seven games in 2013 and nine games four years later), Love will be the guy.

This comment from LaFleur to Love means nothing as it relates to whether Rodgers will show up. Indeed, there’s a chance that Rodgers already has told LaFleur what Rodgers plans to do. LaFleur deserves to know, so that he can plan accordingly.

Rodgers has made it clear that he has no beef with LaFleur. It would be wrong for Rodgers to leave LaFleur hanging. Whatever Rodgers plans to do, chances are LaFleur knows.

LaFleur has won 26 of 32 regular-season games with Rodgers as the quarterback. LaFleur surely wants Rodgers to return. LaFleur didn’t draft Jordan Love, and LaFleur isn’t part of the problem. He’s caught in the crossfire, and it would be foolish to think that LaFleur and Rodgers don’t have the kind of relationship that permits LaFleur to ask the question and Rodgers to provide the answer.

Indeed, LaFleur at one point came dangerously close to potentially tipping his hand when asked about the presence of four quarterbacks in the offseason (and five on the roster) when Love had gotten the vast majority of the reps in 11-on-11 drills. LaFleur explained that it’s important to have four quarterbacks given the number of individual drills, with NFL receivers and running backs needing NFL receivers to throw them the ball.

“As we get closer to training camp and, you know, things could become a little bit more clear for us, you know, we could potentially make an adjustment there,” LaFleur said.

In other words, Blake Bortles and/or Jake Dolegala will be gone if/when “things become a little bit more clear” for the Packers as they “get closer to training camp.” The only clarity that would reduce the need for the other arms would be news that Rodgers plans to show up. Without reading too much into what LaFleur said (but what the hell, I will anyway), it sounds like he expects the kind of clarity that will allow the team to trim the number of roster spots devoted to quarterbacks from five to four or three, because LaFleur suspects that QB1 will be coming back.

Matt LaFleur states the obvious to Jordan Love: Always prepare as if you’re the starter originally appeared on Pro Football Talk