Countdown to Camp is a series of stories that'll examine the Packers' roster, position by position, leading up to training camp. The first installment features the quarterbacks.
GREEN BAY – For the first time in five years, the Packers drafted a quarterback.
For the first time in 15 years, they used a first-round pick to do so.
Back then, there was no question Aaron Rodgers would begin his rookie season as Brett Favre's top backup. This is different.
The coronavirus pandemic, which limited the offseason to virtual meetings only with no on-field work, and which threatens to shorten if not eliminate preseason games this summer, could make it exceedingly challenging for first-round pick Jordan Love to beat out third-year pro Tim Boyle for the No. 2 QB job behind Rodgers.
At a minimum, the situation practically assures the Packers will keep all three on their roster to begin the regular season.
Love's selection in late April, which General Manager Brian Gutekunst traded up to make, is the Packers' biggest personnel story of the offseason, but it may not be much of a story at all as 2020 unfolds.
Gutekunst made it clear on draft night that Rodgers remains Green Bay's QB for the foreseeable future. He's under contract for four more years while Love admittedly has a lot to learn at the pro level.
Moreover, there's genuine excitement to see just what Rodgers can do in his second season in Head Coach Matt LaFleur's system after the two-time MVP had to learn a new offensive scheme for the first time in over a decade as an NFL starter.
Despite the arduous transition and a receiving corps that never established a true No. 2 threat, Rodgers topped 4,000 passing yards for the eighth time in his career, posted a solid 95.4 passer rating and threw just four interceptions in leading the Packers to a 13-3 record plus one playoff victory.
The following is the first installment in a series of photos examining the Packers' roster position by position. This installment examines the quarterbacks.
Heading into 2020, he's not about to feel pressured by a first-round rookie, and he's said in the past he plans to play well enough to make it difficult for anyone to take his job. Rodgers also indicated he'll have no qualms about his relationship with Love as the Utah State standout learns the pro game from him.
Which brings the spotlight in training camp to the top backup position, and whether Love can make a run at Boyle despite the aforementioned limitations.
Boyle made huge strides from his rookie to second season in 2019. After a rather nomadic and nondescript college career, Boyle came to the Packers in 2018 as an undrafted prospect with the build (6-4, 232), arm and other physical tools to find his way.
He did, emerging last summer as the clear No. 2 behind Rodgers with an impressive 112.9 passer rating in four preseason games. And he's certainly not done growing and maturing as a player.
Love is obviously the one with the most growth in front of him, entering the NFL at just 21 years old with a season of college eligibility remaining.
After rising up draft boards with a dynamite 2018 season (64% completions, 32 TDs, six INTs), Love's numbers fell off last year (62%, 20, 17) when Utah State changed coaching staffs and lost the bulk of its offensive personnel to graduation.
But he's never shied away from doing what it takes to succeed and establish himself as a leader, qualities that attracted him to Gutekunst along with his strong arm and athleticism on a 6-4, 219-pound frame. In discussions with LaFleur, Love also took accountability for his shortcomings last year, which spoke to his maturity.
The fourth quarterback on the roster for training camp is undrafted rookie Jalen Morton from Prairie View A&M. Like the Packers' other young QBs, Morton has the size (6-3, 237) and arm strength NFL teams look for. He also has with more than 5,000 yards passing and 1,500 rushing to his credit as a collegian, along with a degree in mechanical engineering.