After waiting for more than 600 days to play in a real live football game, Green Bay Packers quarterback Jordan Love was forced to leave the outing early with an injury.
The 2020 first-round pick was solid in his debut, throwing for 122 yards and a touchdown. He finished 12-for-17 but his final drop back of the night resulted in a sack-fumble and an injury to his right shoulder.
“I’m feeling good now,” Love said after the Packers fell 26-7 to Houston Saturday night in the preseason opener for both clubs. “Just, obviously, that one play, the strip-sack one, got my arm hit on that play and kind of dinged my shoulder up a little bit.”
Love returned on the final drive of the first half for three straight handoffs, but his night was done after being checked out by trainers in the locker room.
“I really don’t know yet,” Love said of the severity. “It just kind of feels a little strain-ish. We’ll see the trainers (Sunday) and find out from there.”
Before going out with the injury, Love showed promise in his NFL debut. After two 3-and-outs to start the game, the second-year signal caller found tight end Jace Sternberger down the middle for 34 yards on third down to jump-start the offense. Love would end up 6-for-6 for 89 yards on the drive, including a screen to running back Kylin Hill for a 22-yard touchdown.
“I felt like I played good. It was a slow start — the first two drives not being able to convert those third downs,” said Love, who was expecting to play deep into the third quarter. “But I think we started getting into a little bit of a groove on offense and had that next drive which was good. Overall, I think I played good. Couple plays where I messed some things up but things I’ll learn from.”
Coach Matt LaFleur felt his young quarterback played solid. He lauded his command of the offense and was generally complimentary of his decision making. But there are also plenty of important teaching points.
“If there is one thing just to encourage him to continue to do is, ‘hey, man, you got to let that sucker rip when you see it, trust what you see. Don’t worry about being perfect. Don’t worry about throwing a perfect, on-target pass,'” LaFleur said. “Usually when you do that you’re not as accurate. You’ve got to let the ball go. But by in large, I think he did a really nice job.”