During the first practice of the Green Bay Packers mandatory minicamp, the second-year quarterback overthrew a number of wide open receivers, nearly all of his completions were around the line of scrimmage and he just never looked comfortable.
Wednesday was the complete opposite for the former first-round pick.
Love caught fire during the team’s 11-on-11 work, including a stretch where he hit running back AJ Dillon perfectly in stride on a wheel route, took advantage of the defense jumping offsides to find wide receiver Allen Lazard for a huge gain down the middle and then came back for another dime on a wheel route to running back Aaron Jones. He concluded his day by leading a two-minute drill that went 70 yards in 10 plays and was capped off by a touchdown to a leaping Lazard. Love went 7-for-10 on the drive, 21-for-30 on the day and at one point had tight ends coach Justin Outten trying to cool him off by fanning him with his play sheet.
“There are some ups and downs, no doubt about it, and every day is a new learning experience,” coach Matt LaFleur said of a young quarterback’s progression. “There’s just a ton of learning that’s going on. It’s great to see when he does have success because that will build the confidence and that’s really what we’re looking for.”
The key for Love, according to LaFleur, is just approaching things the same way whether something good happened or something bad popped up.
“You can never get too high and never too low in this game,” LaFleur said. “I guess one of the biggest emphasis for Jordan is just to treat each play as its own entity. We’re always grading the decision making, the timing, the accuracy and we want to see the consistency just continue to get better and better. With any young player, whether it’s a quarterback or whatever position, there are going to be some tough times and you have to be resilient and you have to persevere through those tough times. I think a lot of times, just people in general, will learn more from their mistakes than they will their successes. We just have to make sure we continue to work and get better every day.”
Love is getting all the first-team reps and more because of the absence of Aaron Rodgers, who is currently at odds with members of the front office. His status for training camp is in doubt, which also leaves his status for Week 1 at New Orleans in doubt. So will Love be ready?
“A hundred percent,” Love said. “Obviously this is a time where I’m getting a lot of extremely valuable reps that I might not have been getting in a normal circumstance. I’m going to take it day-by-day but that’s what I’m here for. I was drafted here to play quarterback, so I’ll definitely be ready Week 1.”