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Jordan Love said Wednesday he approached this offseason as if he was going to be the starting quarterback for the Green Bay Packers.
No different than last year.
Or the previous year.
Except this year it’s going to happen because Aaron Rodgers has been traded to the New York Jets. So the preparation that hasn’t changed comes in advance of an assignment that’s definitely different.
And that assignment of being the Packers’ new starting quarterback might have solidified itself for Love when he and Rodgers said their good-byes.
Jordan Love And Aaron Rodgers Bid Farewell
“We talked after the trade,” Love said Wednesday. “It was kind of just, ‘Wish you the best going forward.’ He wished me the best and always there for me if I ever need anything, if I had any questions or anything. But always grateful to be around him, for the time I had with him and being able to learn and be behind him. Very grateful for me.”
Love didn’t play at all as a rookie and has only 83 pass attempts in 10 appearances the past two seasons. So Love obviously has had ample time to get comfortable with the idea of being his team’s starting quarterback.
The question now is how that’s going to go. Rodgers succeeded Pro Football Hall of Famer Brett Favre with a career that itself is pointed toward the Hall of Fame.
Is Love capable of doing the same? Or maybe succeeding a legend by being at least really good?
How Is Jordan Love Going To Play?
“I mean, that’s anything, like who knows?” Love said, speaking for the first time publicly since the Rodgers trade. “…I can’t say what might happen this year, what might happen next year. Who knows? But I think we have a really good team. I think we’re going to be able to work together every day and grow. Keep growing, keep working together.”
None of this is suggest Love doesn’t come to his assignment lacking confidence.
“We all know there’s ups and downs in the sport,” Love said. “It’s not easy in this league, I know it’s not going to be easy this year. But one thing I do is I tell myself every day that I’m good enough. I really have confidence in myself.
“So my thing is keep growing. I know it’s not going to be easy. I know there’s going to be ups and downs. And the thing I’m going to tell guys is try to stick together. Stay together through the whole process. The tighter we bond together as a team, the easier it’s going to be to face these challenges.”
What Lessons Did Love Learn From Rodgers?
The fact Rodgers played those three years while Love served as the backup didn’t go to waste for Green Bay’s new starting quarterback. Love says he used that time behind Rodgers to hone his own game.
“I learned a lot,” Love said. “I was able to watch a great quarterback, how he works every day. How he handles business in the locker room, interacts with teammates. How he attacks every day.
“Just being able to sit back as quarterback and observe him, observe his footwork, how the ball comes out of his hand, how he practices every day and takes that to the game, it’s just very valuable stuff that I was able to watch for three years, pick his brain and just watch him work.”
Jordan Love Will Lead Packers Differently
Rodgers was obviously the leader in the Green Bay locker room and on the field. That mantle must now be passed to Love.
Love believes he’s ready for that and actually is working on being about it rather than just talking about.
“My main focus is going to be bring guys along, try to give guys confidence in themselves,” Love said. “Confidence that I believe in them, trust them, and try to bring guys up. I never want to negative around guys. We all want the same goal, want to be great. We want to work together. And just bring guys along.”
That will be slightly different than the Rodgers approach. Rodgers, it must be noted, sometimes called out teammates and coaches if he didn’t think they met a certain standard.
And there’s perhaps another difference already showing itself: Love is inviting pass catchers to meet him in California for unofficial offseason work. That’s meant to improve bonding and chemistry and stands in contrast to Rodgers who stayed away from the team and didn’t do offseason work with receivers the past couple of years.
“I think it’s beneficial,” Love said. “Anytime you can get extra reps outside of here and work and build that chemistry, it’s huge.”
We’ll see how huge in the regular season. As Love says, who knows.