GREEN BAY – As the Packers emerged from the tunnel for the team's first practice in Lambeau Field on Thursday, Jordan Love paused for a second to take it all in.
Despite a chaotic start to his NFL career due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the rookie quarterback has enjoyed his introduction Green Bay and getting his first taste of the one of sports' most iconic venues.
"That was awesome, just coming out of the tunnel and seeing it," Love said. "It's a lot bigger than I thought it was, but finally getting the first practice in there was a crazy feeling."
Love and the rest of the Packers' incoming rookie class spent their first NFL offseason largely behind computer screens, learning the playbook through daily team meetings and video calls with position coaches.
Love would talk through installs with Packers quarterbacks coach/passing-game coordinator Luke Getsy and take whatever feedback he received to work on those areas with his own QB coach back in California, whether it be footwork, progressions or route concepts.
Now in Green Bay, Love has put months of preparation to work during the team's first five practice sessions. On Thursday, with ambient noise filling the stadium bowl, the 2020 first-round draft pick ran his first live two-minute drill in pads as a member of the Packers' roster.
Down two points with 53 seconds on the clock and one timeout, the drive had its ups (a 22-yard pass to Darrius Shepherd in the middle of the field to complete a third-and-10 situation) and its downs (a sack on the first play).
However, it ended on a positive note with Shepherd pulling down a contested 10-yard pass on the sideline to set up a 48-yard Mason Crosby field goal as time expired.
"That was my first kind of live go at it. It was pretty good," Love said. "We were able to get into field-goal range and kick the field goal, so I definitely felt comfortable in there."
Head Coach Matt LaFleur excused Aaron Rodgers and the rest of the veterans to the locker room after 1 hour and 54 minutes to allow Love and third-year backup Tim Boyle to run one more team period.
Love then closed practice with a deep ball to Malik Taylor down the sideline, earning a congratulatory slap on the backside from Boyle. These types of live reps are what Love missed the most during the virtual offseason.
The 6-foot-4, 219-pound quarterback tried to simulate those situations as much as he could back home, but there's no way to replicate the situations Love has been presented in 11-on-11 periods of camp.
Both Rodgers and Boyle have been helpful in assisting Love with adjusting to the playbook and scheme. When he's not under center, the rookie quarterback has been watching the two veteran QBs closely during drills and team periods.
General Manager Brian Gutekunst, who drafted Love 26th overall back in April, has liked what he's seen from the rookie. Certainly, there's a long way to go but the tools the Packers were drawn to on Love's Utah State film have come as advertised.
"I think obviously the physical gifts are all there," Gutekunst said. "Now it's getting himself into a comfort zone and all the different things that the coaches are asking him to do and then allowing those physical gifts to come out.
"Again, learning how to play quarterback in the National Football League is a pretty big accomplishment, and I think these things will take time. But he's certainly done some very good things in the short time he's been here."
More than anything, it's just been invaluable for Love to finally be around Rodgers in-person. Love knows his job right now is to listen, learn and improve. He speaks when spoken to and offers his opinion when warranted.
Love says he's taken a seat behind the two-time MVP in the quarterback room and appreciates hearing from Rodgers on film review and plays.
"It's definitely been a lot for me just in terms of learning the playbook and trying to get a grasp on that right now, but that quarterback room, it's a great room, great environment to be around," Love said. "I've got two dudes that I can learn from; I've learned a lot so far from them and will continue to do that."