Green Bay Packers: Why Love’s poor camp is not a concern

ASHWAUBENON, WISCONSIN - AUGUST 19: Jordan Love #10 of the Green Bay Packers throws a pass during Green Bay Packers Training Camp at Ray Nitschke Field on August 19, 2020 in Ashwaubenon, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
ASHWAUBENON, WISCONSIN - AUGUST 19: Jordan Love #10 of the Green Bay Packers throws a pass during Green Bay Packers Training Camp at Ray Nitschke Field on August 19, 2020 in Ashwaubenon, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

Jordan Love had his share of struggles in his first training camp with the Green Bay Packers, but it’s not as concerning as you might think.

There was a lot made of the Green Bay Packers trading up to select Jordan Love in the first round of the NFL Draft this summer. Everyone and their mother in Packer country had their take on it good or bad.

Why didn’t they get more weapons for Rodgers? Is this them pushing Aaron out? Is Jordan Love even good? Do Matt LaFleur and Aaron Rodgers secretly hate each other? Ok, that last one has been a ridiculous media narrative since LaFleur was hired, but the rest were legitimate questions asked by a lot of people.

With all of these burning questions that so many fans had, a lot of eyes were directly on Love and how he would look in his first NFL training camp. He had some solid moments, but they were largely overshadowed by a few very ugly reps that blew up on social media like this one:

Things like that and early headlines that he was behind on footwork and in the mental aspect of the quarterback position were signs for lots of people that the Packers made a big mistake drafting Love in the first round. And while that might end up being true in the long run, that judgment can’t be definitively made this year.

Reason number one that he was behind the development curve is that he didn’t have any rookie camps or Organized Team Activities (OTAs) this offseason. Those are the critical times when rookies are usually learning the playbook and getting a feel for the NFL game and the coaching staff.

This is when the basic footwork drills that they go through and the reads they make on every play are learned and the foundation is built. Without those early learning opportunities, that foundation had to be built during camp. Obviously, he has a basic understanding of the position, but the things specific to the Green Bay Packers such as how to go through his progressions on their plays need to be learned.

Another reason for Love not being good right out of the gate, and this might be hard for many people to hear, is that he’s not really supposed to be. They drafted Jordan Love as a project to work on because they saw the raw talent and traits that they want in a quarterback. They did the same thing last year with Rashan Gary at the 12th pick and people hated that too, but he’s already making contributions this season, as he led the team in pressures in week one against the Vikings.

I’ve said this before, but Love is the Green Bay Packers’ version of Giannis Antetokounmpo. I’m not saying he’ll be an MVP or even that he’ll develop anything like the Bucks’ superstar has, but it’s the same idea.

The difference is Giannis was drafted by Milwaukee when they knew they wouldn’t be good the next season and the Packers are still a contending team. However, this is just about Love and he has plenty of time to develop. He didn’t come in with the fanfare of a polished quarterback. He came to the NFL as an intriguing prospect with a ton of upside and a pretty low floor which is why no losing teams took him to be their immediate starter like Joe Burrow.

Speaking of not having to be good now, he’s the third-string quarterback. This is a similar point to the last, but it emphasizes that point because he doesn’t even have to be good enough to be a backup quarterback right now. The Packers have Tim Boyle, and while Boyle being in the game isn’t ideal, this is his third season learning from Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay, and he knows the system well enough to hold his own.

Learning from Aaron Rodgers is another aspect that will help Love’s development and more reason to believe in him. The years that Rodgers spent behind Brett Favre were extremely valuable to him and that was even with those two not having a great relationship and Favre being very protective of his starting role.

Rodgers has said that he doesn’t want Love to have to go through the same treatment that Favre gave him and that can only help Love’s cause. There were even videos from camp of Rodgers giving tips to Love like this one:

So many quarterbacks fail in the NFL because they come into a situation where they are expected to be the guy right away and any other veteran quarterback that would be there to potentially be their mentor isn’t good enough to start for the team.

Getting to learn from Rodgers who is one of the smartest and most talented quarterbacks of all time is a huge advantage over basically every other rookie quarterback in the league. The only other QB for Joe Burrow to look to is second-year player Ryan Finley, for Justin Herbert, it’s Tyrod Taylor, and for Tua Tagovailoa it’s Ryan Fitzpatrick. None of those names inspire much confidence for mentorship, though Fitzpatrick has been in the league seemingly forever.

Coming to the Green Bay Packers was one of the best things that could’ve happened to Love because if there’s one quarterback that I’d want to learn everything about the NFL game from it would be number twelve in green and gold.

But wait, Rodgers was terrible in his rookie preseason and lots of people hated him. He was extremely robotic, held the ball really high for some reason, and just wasn’t accurate at all. If he would’ve been the number one pick instead of Alex Smith, maybe his career would take a different trajectory, but he was able to learn from Favre instead. There was a lot of concern about Rodgers too and I’d say he turned out just fine despite how bad his rookie preseason was, which brings me to my final point.

There was no preseason to even evaluate Jordan Love. That was the time when Packers fans were supposed to be glued to the television with their phone out ready to tweet and lament the pick every time he made a mistake. There wasn’t that, though, and the only thing to go on was what members of the media could tell us about what he did in drills and full team periods.

Without the preseason, there’s really almost no reason to judge his performance at all because there’s no film to watch or numbers to analyze. If they activate him in the coming weeks and he gets some garbage time game action, then there will be substance to evaluate, but until then any concern is unwarranted.

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What are your thoughts on Jordan Love very early in his career? Have your thoughts changed at all since the Green Bay Packers drafted him a few months ago? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter @DairylandXpress.