Packers ready to ‘lay it on the line’ for Love
Mike Florio and Myles Simmons unpack how Jordan Love’s preparation for this season compares to previous years when Aaron Rodgers was in the picture and how his teammates feel about the situation.
MIKE FLORIO: Yesterday, Jordan Love, the new Packers' quarterback, the guy they hope becomes the third in the chain that goes Brett Favre to Aaron Rodgers to Jordan Love, he spoke to reporters about various things. Here he is talking about his approach to the off season now that he eventually has become the guy in Green Bay.
JORDAN LOVE: The whole off-season, I approached it that I'd be the starter. So that was just my mindset going into it. I couldn't really control what happened going forward. It was out of my control. But that was kind of the approach I took to it and just went from there.
- Did you approach it the same way in recent years? Or was that different this year that you approached it as the starter as soon as the season ended?
JORDAN LOVE: No, I did the same thing I do. I go to the off season and begin my training elsewhere. But I approached it the same way.
It's exciting. I think there's a lot of energy around it for myself. And I think I can step up and be a little bit more vocal and things like that knowing that I'm the guy and not being a backup.
MIKE FLORIO: And that's it after three years of sitting on the bench just like Aaron Rodgers did. Jordan Love now the guy. I was surprised this weekend to see Sean Clifford, the rookie, that the Packers drafted is actually older than Jordan Love by roughly six months.
So even though Jordan Love has sat for a while, he's still got plenty of football ahead of him. And now he has an opportunity to really seize that baton and do something that has been unprecedented. He's got a long way to go to prove to even be a consistent starter. But still, he's in a spot where he's not following just one great. He's following back-to-back greats.
And the closest that I've had anyone argue to me would be a comparison would be Drew Brees to Philip Rivers to Justin Herbert with the Chargers. But Drew Brees wasn't Drew Brees until Drew Brees left the Chargers. So it's not really the same.
Great with the Packers. Favre, Rodgers, and now Love steps into that. And this is it.
He's finally getting his chance. He's getting his shot. And it'll be fun to see what he does.
And I think he's going to be better than people realize. And it may take a while. It took a while for Rodgers. It may take a while for Love.
MYLES SIMMONS: I think that Love is in a really good spot with Matt LaFleur as his head coach. Matt LaFleur knows how to coach offense. He understands how to develop quarterbacks.
And so if you're Jordan Love, that's a good situation for you to be in. But one thing that stands out to me, Mike, is when he's talking, he says, oh no, I approached it the same way. I approached the last three years.
I did this, and I did that. And that's all well and good. And I understand that players say that kind of stuff all the time. But you cannot tell me-- and you cannot convince me that this off season Jordan Love did not have a different mentality than he did in the last two years.
I mean, that just doesn't make any sense. If you know that Aaron Rodgers is on his way out the door and you are going to be the starter, that changes something up here. And if it doesn't change something up here, then I don't know what to tell you, man, because the mentality has to be different. It has to be.
And it's not just that, oh, I think that Jordan Love wasn't working hard before. I don't think he was seizing his opportunities before. No.
It's just that when you know you are the guy, he said it himself. You know you can be more vocal. You know that it is your huddle.
It's your offense. And you're not just kind of babysitting the role during the off-season program for when Aaron Rodgers makes his return for mandatory minicamp and then training camp. I get why he says it. But I know that there must have been something different in his mentality because there has to be because it's a very different role when you are no longer the understudy to Aaron Rodgers. You are actually the Packers quarterback.
MIKE FLORIO: Especially because if you do anything that is even remotely presumptuous while Aaron Rodgers is still there, the first person you're going to hear about it from is Aaron Rodgers. He will slap you down. I mean the whole Brett Favre-Aaron Rodgers relationship is chronicled in Jeff Pearlman's gunslinger.
Now, I don't know how much Rodgers would agree with it. I don't know if he was ever asked about any of the reporting in there. But Rodgers was a little too big for his britches early on, not that would really surprise anyone.
And Favre had to deal with that a little bit. And I think Jordan Love-- look, we've never heard anything. There's never been any suggestion of an issue. I think Jordan Love has been deferential and respectful to Aaron Rodgers every step of the way.
And now he becomes the guy as they always thought he was going to be. And my guess is somebody pulled him aside not long after they drafted him and explained to him how this is going to go. You're going to be able to sit.
You're going to be able to learn. You're going to be able to watch. You're going to be well compensated.
And your time will come. Trust us. Your time will come.
At times, it may feel like it's never going to come. But your time definitely will arrive. That's part of what else Love talked about, waiting for three years. And also Aaron Jones, Packers' running back, who bridges that Rodgers to Love handoff, he talked about how the team is currently behind the new starting quarterback. Here's both of them.
JORDAN LOVE: I mean, I think the hardest time was when he signed the contract last year. It was kind of like, OK, well, where do we go from here? What do I do? And I think I sat back, kind of thought to myself, and just came back with the approach like, let's just go ball out.
Any opportunity I get, I'm getting pre-season. And who knows what happens after that? So just grow and try and become the best version of myself. And I can't really control what happens after that. So just let it play out.
- We've seen him just come in consistently and just work, work, work. And as an athlete, you want to come in and play right away. And that wasn't Jordan's case. He didn't have that opportunity.
And he did it the right way. He waited his time. And you never heard one peep or complain out of him. So he has everybody's respect.
And he works as well just like everybody else. We all love Jordan here. And like I said, he has everybody's full respect. And we're going to go lay it out on the line for him.
MIKE FLORIO: One of the benefits for Jordan Love was that he and Rodgers are represented by the same agency. So when Rodgers does that three-year contract, Love at least has an avenue, a pathway to ask the question, what does this mean for me? How do we harmonize this next move in Aaron Rodgers' career with my broader career interests?
And there was a little flicker of recognition that one of his options may have been I'm out. I'm done. I want to go somewhere else.
This guy is going to be here longer than I intend to sit on the bench, and that's always been kind of on the edge of the radar screen for the Packers. If you push it too far with Rodgers, you're going to lose love. And even though it wasn't seamless because how will it ever be seamless when you're dealing with a situation like this?
They found a way to keep Rodgers as long as they wanted to and pivot to Love at the closest thing possible to the right time before losing him. And now they're set up to go forward. They benefited from the backslide last year.
Whatever the reason, whatever the causes, was it the beginning of the end for Rodgers? Was it the team around him? Was it something else?
Regardless, it was enough of a dip in overall team performance and Rodgers performance to make it easier to rip the Band-Aid off once and for all and move to Jordan Love before it was too late. And I think if Rodgers would have stayed one more year, it would have gotten too late to salvage Jordan Love.
MYLES SIMMONS: Yes, I would agree with you because I mean, who knows what would have happened if the Packers would have played better last year if maybe Aaron Rodgers had seemed a little bit more invested early on in getting those young receivers up to speed like we saw with Patrick Mahomes, you know. And then maybe the beginning of the season goes a little bit differently. Who knows?
But because everything played out the way it did, and the Packers didn't even end up making the postseason, yeah, it does make things easier to transition from Aaron Rodgers where you see well, maybe he did kind of dip in performance. Maybe he's not necessarily that guy as much as he was in the last couple of years where he was the MVP. And now you have somebody in Jordan Love who you believe in because you went up, and you drafted him in the first round.
And also, I think that those kind of few appearances, the one we're seeing now that he had against Philadelphia where he comes in and it's like, well, he's setting the world on fire. But you see that he has the rhythm and the timing in the offense. He's got the confidence to get the ball down the field to some of these young guys.
I think that matters. And it's something that Jordan Love talked a little bit about yesterday where it's like well, yeah, you played in the preseason. Yeah, you had the start against Kansas City. Yeah, you had that stuff against the Eagles.
And I think somebody asked him, well, what's more valuable? And he says, well, it's all valuable because all of it is experience. And all of it has now led him to feel where he feels in this offense.
And so I think that we're going to see somebody that is confident that does know what to do with the football. And we'll just have to see if that actually translates into the Packers being a top half of the league offense because in theory, the scheme should allow him to be that. But he still has to go out there and execute it. And frankly, we really don't know how he's going to be able to execute that stuff.
MIKE FLORIO: This is an exercise we're going to do next segment with other young quarterbacks. But scale of 1 to 10 for Jordan Love, how much is he set up for success this year with the Green Bay Packers?
MYLES SIMMONS: Nine because he's been there.
MIKE FLORIO: Wow.
MYLES SIMMONS: And it's not like he's gone through coaching changes. But I mean this in the sense that if you sit for three years, Mike, and you're a first round pick, and now you have been in the same offense, you're not going to have a different guy in your ear than you would have, you've got the same position coach-- yeah, they've had different offensive coordinators. But again, Matt Lafleur's the one calling the plays. If he's not set up for success, then what the hell have they been doing the last few years, right?
I mean, they have good weapons. They have a decent offensive line. There's no excuse for Jordan Love not succeeding unless he's just not necessarily good enough. I think the situation is right for him. What would you say?
MIKE FLORIO: Well, I'd say more like seven because we still haven't seen him play. And more importantly, we haven't seen him play enough so the defenses can begin to game plan to stop him. It takes some time.
You can have an artificial reality of what a guy looks like. And then it softens after there's enough film out there. And you have answers for what he's doing. And he-- the coaching staff they can't come up with ways to take advantage of how the defense pivots to take away whatever it is that they figured out he's doing.
So that's going to be part of this transition once we get four to six games into his career when we see what the Packers offense looks like. With Jordan Love at quarterback, things could be a little more challenging. Also, we showed that graphic of the supporting cast offensively.
Defensively, there needs to be some improvement because obviously, if you've got a not great defense, it puts more pressure on the offense. And I talked to Kevin O'Connell, speaking of teams with great offenses and horrible defenses, a couple of days ago. And I asked him, would you rather get Jordan Love early while he's still green in this offense, or would you rather get him later when he's more experienced but you can properly game plan, you have enough film?
And even though O'Connell gave me a lot of great answers, very candid responses, he didn't give me an answer on that one. But I guess a defensive coach-- if I had asked Brian Flores that question, he would rather face him later because he'd have more information and ammunition for coming up with a good game plan to stop Jordan Love. A lot of it early on, you just don't know what you're going to get.
And the teams that face the Packers the first couple of weeks are going to be the Guinea pigs defensively for the rest of the league to figure out what this offense is going to look like with Rodgers out and Jordan Love in. So that's going to make those early games for the Packers fascinating. We're going to see today week 1, 2, 3, 4 that they're going to be the ones who get the first taste of what this team is now going to be with Jordan Love.
MYLES SIMMONS: Yeah, the first quarter of this season is going to tell us a lot, even though the season isn't quarters anymore because there's not 16 games, there's 17. But you understand what I'm saying. It's going to tell us a lot about where Jordan Love is in the offense. And that's what I mean, when I'm saying he's set up well.
I think when you say we don't know how he's going to play, well, certainly we don't. But if you're talking about what the situation is, like I said, it's the same offense, right? And also, what you mentioned, defenses aren't necessarily going to know how he is going to approach every single week, every single game. What does he like?
What's his best throw? What's his worst throw? I mean, internally, the Packers should know that.
They've had him for three years. Externally, we as a media public and also defensive coordinators, they don't necessarily know that. So that's why I think he is set up well for success. It's just we don't know how he's going to execute.