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What Jordan Love’s first-team reps at Green Bay Packers minicamp say about his readiness

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Green Bay Packers QB Jordan Love runs a drill during an NFL minicamp. Love took first-team reps with Aaron Rodgers holding out.

Green Bay Packers QB Jordan Love runs a drill during an NFL football minicamp Tuesday, June 8, 2021, in Green Bay, Wis. Aaron Rodgers’ absence from the Packers’ minicamp means more opportunities for Love, the 2020 first-round draft pick who now must prepare for the possibility he could open the season as a starting quarterback after not playing a single down his rookie year.

Morry Gash, Associated Press

For this week at least, Jordan Love was QB1 for the Green Bay Packers.

The former Utah State star took the majority of quarterback reps as the team held its mandatory minicamp Tuesday through Thursday, with reigning NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers holding out amid his frustrations with the organization and missing minicamp for the first time in his 16-year NFL career.

How Love performed in practice with the bulk of the quarterback reps dominated the headlines around a franchise that’s enjoyed consistency at the position over the past nearly three decades with Rodgers and Pro Football Hall of Famer Brett Favre.

How did Jordan Love look at minicamp?

ESPN’s Rob Demovsky gave an excellent breakdown of how Love looked during the three-day camp — Love had a bad first day, a solid Day 2, followed by a so-so final day.

“If it looked like Love was overwhelmed on Tuesday, when he struggled with accuracy and rarely threw the ball much beyond the line of scrimmage, then Wednesday was a 180,” Demovsky wrote. “He hit receivers in stride down the field and showed poise during a successful two-minute drill.”

Here are the passing numbers Love put up during the three days of camp:

  • Love completed 40 of 70 passes (57.1%) during 11-on-11 drills, per Demovsky, and that included his most effective effort on Wednesday, when he completed 20 of 31 passes, led a scoring two-minute drive and had several long throws.
  • Love had a pair of touchdowns on Thursday in a red-zone heavy day, while also throwing an interception and losing a fumble, Demovsky reported. This came after completing 12 of 23 passes on Day 1, with an overthrown pass on fourth down ending a two-minute drill.

The Packers gave Love the chance to run their full offense, too.

“No, we installed our offense and kind of threw everything at him,” Green Bay coach Mike LaFleur said Thursday, per ESPN.

Even with quarterbacks like veteran Blake Bortles and Kurt Benkert also at practice, Love got the majority of QB snaps. On Thursday, he took 26 of the 31 snaps in 11-on-11, Demovsky reported.

Love is confident he’ll be ready to start if needed

If the opportunity presents itself, Love expressed confidence he’ll be ready to start if he’s called on for the Packers’ Week 1 matchup against New Orleans on Sept. 12.

“100%. This is a time where I’m getting a lot of extremely valuable reps that I might not have gotten in normal circumstances. ... I was drafted here to play QB so I’ll definitely be ready Week 1,” he told reporters Wednesday.

Love missed the chance to gain valuable reps last year as a rookie, when COVID-19 prevented offseason workouts and the preseason. Opportunities like this, though, give the young quarterback the atmosphere to learn from live situations, and not just film study.

“That’s been my mindset since I got here,” he added. “I have to get myself ready to play and be able to go out there and take charge of the team.”

Others’ impressions of Love during minicamp

Several media members, along with Packers coaches and players, shared their perspective on Love and how he is progressing.

By no means is anyone in Green Bay ready to crown Jordan Love the third straight Hall of Fame starting quarterback to don the green and gold after Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers, The Athletic’s Matt Schneidman wrote. But, if anything, Wednesday’s practice provided the first glimpse of justification in more than a year for why the Packers liked Love enough to trade up four spots when they selected him in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft.

Just trying to get a feel for how much he can really handle, and I think he’s done a great job of being intentional about his work, how he goes out to practice every day, and I think it’s paying off for him. I think he’s made some progress, LaFleur said, per ESPN.

I think he’s doing a good job right now, Green Bay wide receiver Davante Adams said, per The Athletic. He’s locked in, and I can see, he may be a little bit nervous, but that’s what comes with it, it’s a lot of responsibility, a lot of things on his plate. He’s just gotta have his mind right, ready to go. I’m definitely letting those guys know, look, whatever happens, you know you’ll have our support.

There are going to be ups and downs with Love throughout this offseason, Game On Wisconsin’s Jacob Westerndorf said. That’s true for any player. With Love, every low is going to be examined under a microscope because of who is not currently with the team. … While all that is going on, Love continues to focus on what he can control.

What numbers could Love put up if he’s the 2021 starter?

Pro Football Focus shared its projected numbers for Love if he’s called upon to start for the Packers, predicting the second-year quarterback would throw for 4,149 yards, 24 touchdowns and 15 interceptions.

Here’s how those numbers compare to PFF’s 2021 fantasy projections for three rookie quarterbacks: Jacksonville’s Trevor Lawrence, the New York Jets’ Zach Wilson and Chicago’s Justin Fields.