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'Great learning experience' for all Packers involved with QB Jordan Love's first start

Game-planning for Seahawks will include Aaron Rodgers as he eyes return

Head Coach Matt LaFleur and QB Jordan Love
Head Coach Matt LaFleur and QB Jordan Love

GREEN BAY – Matt LaFleur wasn't any happier on Monday about Jordan Love's first NFL start and the loss in Kansas City.

But after reviewing the film, LaFleur feels both he and his Packers coaching staff will be better for the struggles they battled through to find any sustained offensive success with Love, which finally came in the fourth quarter of the 13-7 defeat.

"I think it was a great learning experience," LaFleur said. "It was a learning experience for all of us involved in terms of what we need to do better as a staff to help prepare our players to go into an environment like that."

The specifics of his post-mortem didn't change much. He felt he didn't give Love the right blitz beaters against the Chiefs' onslaught of pressure – both in terms of the play calls and protection calls – while the protection execution and throwing accuracy weren't as reliable as needed either.

He also noted the run-pass balance got out of whack, as Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon finished with a combined 20 rushing attempts while Love had 39 drop-backs – 34 pass attempts and five scrambles.

"If you would've told me (those numbers) before the game … I'd say that's probably not a good recipe for success and that proved to be right," LaFleur said. "We shouldn't have put him in that position.

"I think there's going to be some negativity that gets unfairly cast on him that falls on all of us."

He praised Love for how he got the offense out of some tough field-position holes during the game. He also was impressed with how Love hung in there – physically in the pocket with blitzers bearing down on him, and mentally through the frustration and disappointment of getting shut out for more than 3½ quarters.

"Because what he did, and the hits he took, and for him not to panic, not to flinch … it can get frustrating when you go time and time again and you have no points to show for it," LaFleur said. "I didn't feel him get down at all.

"The moment wasn't too big for him. I thought he showed a great resiliency, and that's stuff that you can't coach. Now, we can coach a lot of the other things."

Love will get another full slate of practice reps with the starting offense this week as Aaron Rodgers waits to be reinstated from the reserve/COVID-19 list. Rodgers is first eligible to be activated on Saturday, and LaFleur said he will start on Sunday vs. Seattle if he's medically cleared.

The coaches' approach will be to work on the game plan with Rodgers via Zoom and have him in all the offensive meetings virtually. Come Sunday, Rodgers would be starting a game without having practiced for two full weeks, but LaFleur has revealed no hesitation in proceeding this way, as strange as it is.

"He's a big part of our process in terms of how we game plan, and that won't change this week," LaFleur said. "The communication will be crystal clear. We'll make sure he's involved in everything we do."

Injury update: LaFleur said he expects All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari to be activated from the physically unable to perform list (PUP) by Wednesday's deadline, but he gave no indication whether Bakhtiari would play Sunday or when he'd be ready.

Also, the injuries on defense from the Kansas City trip to rookie cornerback Eric Stokes (knee) and Pro Bowl defensive lineman Kenny Clark (back) are not considered long-term issues at this point, but the players' availability for this week is uncertain.