A lot has been written and said about the offseason phases, programs, workouts, etc in the National Football League. None will be covered and made more of than the window, for all to see with their own eyes, of opportunity that is being presented in Green Bay this week.
The Packers start the portion of their offseason this week that includes on field work, which means we will actually see their 2020 first round choice that has gotten more attention for doing less than any other player in the past six months, former Utah State QB Jordan Love. His number one fan should be current Packers legend, Aaron Rodgers.
Aaron has always attended all of the volunteer sessions and OTA’s in the past. He is already giving up his $500K in offseason workout bonus (which he needed to attend 85% of to attain). He would also be subject to another $93K or so in fines, if the team elected to for missing the mandatory mini -camp, which most teams have in June. Fines escalate for missing training camp (50K per day) and those are mandatory and could approach $2 million in total. Keep this in mind, Aaron Rodgers has made 241M in his career and has resolve to the point where he doesn’t even speak to his family. So, this one is far from simple.
I realize we really don’t know what A-Rod wants except to say - OUT OF GB. If he truly wants that to happen, the Packers have to have more than a hunch that their next leader is already on their team. The first tangible gauge of this, as minuet as it might be, are OTA’s this week. Jordan Love didn’t take a snap last year, in fact, he was the third quarterback for every single game. A true redshirt year, by anyone’s definition. No preseason, no mop up duty, nothing outside of some classroom work and a view of the job, he will inherent, from a distance. He has not taken a meaningful snap of football since college. This fact sent me back to the 2019 film room.
It is easy to see what Green Bay decision makers saw when they made the move to not only draft Love in the first round, but to trade up to do it. Let this serve as a reminder for the pros and cons. Love has “big time” arm talent. He can physically make all the throws. He has confidence to fit balls in tight windows, a quick release and at times, the ball jumps off his hand. His quick release reminds me of the current NFL’s elite. He has rare velocity on a skinny post and can drop a dime down the deep sideline that reminded me of former Ram great Kurt Warner in style and substance. He is athletic, he can extend plays with his feet by moving around to avoid the rush both inside the pocket and when flushing outside.
Unfortunately, there are a few question marks that showed up as well and these factors are what gave most of the NFL some pause to not be as bold as the Packers were when they acquired him. He will flush early, he will make some head shaking decisions as to when and where to throw the ball. He lacked consistent instincts and anticipation and will force the ball to a predetermined target way too often. I watched several films but vs LSU in 2019 he showed both the “WOW” factor of rare arm BUT also 3 decisions that ended up being INT’s that make you question “if he’ll ever get it”.
I have seen nothing new to date to change my assessment of Love from 2019 pre-draft. There is a reason that every video clip that the media shows, when speaking of Love, is him on the phone with Packer officials on draft day. It’s the only thing in the Jordan Love vault. Now, based on what the Packers OTA’s consist of, he should get his first chance to add volume to the video vault and we will have something tangible to assess his narrative with.
I’ve been on record that I would not trade Aaron Rodgers, but I also have the feeling that this situation might just be different. The circumstances are very unique and IMO might include some outside pressure of family, friends, etc that you need to connect the dots on and when combined with the quirky principled nature of Rodgers, this might create the perfect storm that gets his career headed west.
At any rate, Jordan Love’s biggest cheerleader is none other than Aaron Rodgers. It’s his best ticket out of town and that probably puts a lot of Packer fans in a quandary. There will also be a lot of interested fans in Chicago, Detroit or Minnesota because this is a big week for all of them. Be careful what you wish for.