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What Jordan Love showed the Packers with Aaron Rodgers not at offseason workouts

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Green Bay Packers’ Jordan Love throws during a 2020 practice. Love took first-team reps during offseason workouts this week.

Green Bay Packers’ Jordan Love throws during NFL practice Friday, Sept. 4, 2020, in Green Bay, Wis. Love, the former star Utah State quarterback who was the Packers’ first-round NFL draft pick in 2020, took first-team reps during Green Bay offseason workouts this week in the absence of All-Pro quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

Morry Gash, Associated Press

With reigning NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers not at Green Bay Packers offseason workouts this week, it’s given the Packers more opportunities to assess their first-round pick from last season, former Utah State quarterback Jordan Love.

Impressions Jordan Love made this week

Green Bay star running back Aaron Jones said he’s seen an increased level of confidence from the second-year quarterback.

“You can tell he’s just a lot more comfortable out there, even from communicating in the huddle to the command of the huddle to just everything,” Jones said Tuesday, per ESPN’s Rob Demovsky. “He’s had a year under his belt, he’s had time to watch and learn, so you can tell it’s a little bit different from what it was before. He’s going to continue to grow, and I’m happy to be here working with him.”

A challenge facing Love this week was that the Packers’ projected top five wide receivers — Davante Adams, Allen Lazard, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Equanimeous St. Brown and Devin Funchess — were not practicing the day media was allowed to watch, multiple national media outlets reported. That left Love, who received all the first-team reps with recently signed Blake Bortles sitting out for an unknown reason, working with other seldom-used pass catchers like Malik Taylor and Reggie Begelton, as well as rookie third-round pick Amari Rodgers, per ESPN.

“The Packers didn’t put him through any strenuous drills Tuesday, limiting the 22-year-old to mostly short throws under no pressure during team work,” The Athletic’s Matt Schneidman said in assessing Love during an open media portion of practice.

“He did seem to have more zip on his passes than last season, though, and running back Aaron Jones said Love is noticeably more comfortable, specifically in how he commands the huddle, than in his rookie season. It remains to be seen who will receive the bulk of first-team snaps when Bortles returns, but Love begins offseason work with a chance to inject even the faintest sliver of optimism into a fan base starved for it.”

Packers coach Mike LeFleur praised the work ethic Love has put in to improve his game over the past year. 

“He’s definitely matured over the course of the year,” LaFleur said, per NFL.com’s Nick Shook. “You can tell that he’s put in the time this offseason, not only just lifting and running and coming in in good football shape, but also you can tell he’s put in the time in his craft in trying to continue to work on his mechanics, his fundamentals that are so critical to playing the position at the highest level possible.

“So he’s still got a lot to learn. I think he can tell you that, but he’s going to take it one day at a time. He goes out there with purpose. I like his mindset right now.”

Why these reps are so important for Jordan Love

Love did not have a normal offseason as a rookie in 2020, with the pandemic altering the offseason schedule for all NFL teams. That left him with much fewer opportunities to gain valuable reps, and he was inactive for all 16 games behind Aaron Rodgers and then-backup Tim Boyle.

With Boyle gone to Detroit now, though, Love is the backup behind Rodgers heading into 2021. Unless, of course, the discord between Rodgers and Green Bay ultimately leads to the All-Pro being traded, which has been the subject of countless discussion since the NFL draft late last month.

What’s next for Love and the Packers?

Green Bay will host organized team activity offseason workouts for three days each of the next two weeks, before the team’s mandatory minicamp June 15-17.