Matt LaFleur: We all should temper our expectations for Jordan Love
Packers coach Matt LaFleur didn’t say much about Aaron Rodgers. He said a lot about Jordan Love.
After one start in three seasons of backing up Rodgers, Love will become the team’s QB1 this season.
“It’s going to be a different role for him certainly, and I think we all kind of have to temper our expectations for him,” LaFleur said Tuesday. “It’s just different when you’re going into a game versus when you’re starting a game. It’s going to be a process, but it’s going to be exciting for him, for us. I don’t think any quarterback can truly do it on their own in this league. It’s going to be everybody rallying around him and trying to play to the best of their ability, so he can go out there and perform as good as he possibly can.”
The Packers are working on a deal to send Rodgers to the Jets, and the day it happens officially begins the Love era in Green Bay.
The Packers made the former Utah State quarterback the 26th overall pick in the 2020 draft, and Love followed the path of Rodgers in sitting behind a future Hall of Famer for years before getting his chance.
Love’s time has finally arrived, something that has become apparent in recent weeks.
“I think he just wanted to know what was going on,” LaFleur said of Love. “For a long period of time, I couldn’t even tell him, because I didn’t quite know where it was headed. I think there’s obviously some clarity to it, but nothing’s final yet.”
Love has played only 157 regular-season snaps. He’s played only 212 preseason snaps in his career, with the pandemic having wiped out the 2020 preseason.
LaFleur said what they have seen from Love in practice the past two years has given the team “confidence” in the young quarterback.
But Love needs reps, and to that end, LaFleur said the team has scheduled at least one joint practice during training camp. The Packers also will likely take a “different approach” to the preseason by playing the starters more.
“He’s come a long way, quite frankly,” LaFleur said. “I know there were some times where early on, it’s just you’re like . . . you don’t know. I still think you have to go out there, and you’ve got to do it consistently. It’s one thing to do it in practice. It’s another thing to take it to the game field and do it. But certainly seeing just his performance in practice, his mechanics, his decision-making, his timing in the pass game, I think just his accuracy, which is always what we’re grading the quarterback on, I think he’s come a long way.”
The Packers will practice patience with Love as he develops, LaFleur said, knowing that there is a difference between an 18-year veteran with four NFL MVPs and a quarterback with 10 career appearances and 83 career attempts.
“I just think it’s going to be a progression,” LaFleur said. “Certainly, I think we’re fooling ourselves if we think he’s going to go out there and perform at a level of the likes of Aaron Rodgers. This guy is a once-in-a-lifetime, a generational talent. I don’t think it necessarily started that way when he first started, but he progressed. It’s going to be progression and hopefully we can surround him with enough people to help him perform to the best of his ability, and then we’ve got to do a good job as a coaching staff.”