'Padawan' Jordan Love eager to keep learning from Aaron Rodgers

Packers’ second-year quarterback is “super excited” for the upcoming preseason

QB Jordan Love & Aaron Rodgers

GREEN BAY – Jordan Love took what appeared complicated and kept it all very simple this offseason.

Despite all the hysteria filling the airwaves regarding Aaron Rodgers' future with the Packers, Love focused on the task at hand when the team reported back for the start of the offseason program this past spring.

The inescapable fact was the absence of Rodgers, the NFL's reigning MVP, meant Love would be charged with leading the offense during organized team activities and minicamp, and likely take nearly every available quarterback rep.

Until No. 12 was back, No. 10 knew he needed to be QB1.

"The whole time I had to convince myself that I was going to be the starter. That's the only way you can look at that situation," said Love after practice Thursday. "I feel like if you don't, you won't be ready. That's how I looked at it the whole way – is in my head he wasn't coming back, I've got to get myself ready to be the starter."

Rodgers, having supplanted a Hall of Fame QB himself, had a pretty good idea what Love was feeling this past offseason and reached out on a few occasions to see how Love was doing, including before OTAs.

Love tried not to pry too much, but Rodgers aimed to be transparent during those conversations and provide his perspective on things.

"I just felt that's what I would want in that situation, just to hear from the guy," Rodgers said. "Also, there's a love and an appreciation and a friendship there, just like it was with me and Brett (Favre). So, I wanted to make sure I checked in with him and let him know I was thinking about him."

In the end, Rodgers and the organization worked through a few things and the three-time MVP returned for an unprecedented 17th season with the Packers. With Rodgers back at the helm, Love has settled in with the second-team unit this summer.

The spring reps still proved valuable for the 22-year-old quarterback, who didn't see many during his rookie season as the No. 3 behind Rodgers and Tim Boyle.

While the game is still slowing down for the former Utah State standout, Love has had some big moments this offseason. He had arguably his best practice in front of the media during mandatory minicamp on June 9 and just appears more confident in the pocket with his throws.

From a temperament standpoint, Love is still very much his same, easygoing self despite all the outside chatter.

"It was funny, I was talking to him in pre-practice today just about how things are going, and he seems so calm this year," said veteran guard Lucas Patrick.

"You can tell that he's picking up on everything, and I think those OTAs reps were crucial for him. Just a ton of reps to say the cadence, say the play call, go through things, hit strikes on quick stuff. Yeah, so I think he's handling it well."

Rodgers hasn't missed a beat through the first week of camp. Accurate and cerebral in team periods, the 37-year-old QB brought the crowd at Nitschke Field to its feet on Thursday when he dropped a 50-yard pass into a net during individual drills.

Whether it's on the practice field or in the meeting room, Rodgers, Love and third-stringer Kurt Benkert have had a lot of productive conversations. Benkert, who entered the NFL in 2018, praised the collaborative nature of Green Bay's QB room, while adding it's "the most fun room I've ever been a part of."

Love has enjoyed sitting beneath Rodgers' learning tree, as well.

"Me and Aaron have a good relationship," Love said. "Obviously, it's kind of like the Master and the Padawan kind of thing. Just trying to learn as much as I can from him.

"Anytime there's something in the quarterback room that Aaron feels I need to continue to improve on or do a better job, he's right there to let me know."

The biggest test, and opportunities, lie ahead for Love. With Rodgers unlikely to play much, if at all, during the preseason, Love likely will take a majority of the snaps in the Packers' three exhibition games.

When Love takes the field next Saturday against Houston in the Packers' preseason opener, it'll be the 6-foot-4, 219-pound quarterback's first game since the Senior Bowl in January 2020.

"I'm super excited for it," Love said. "This is the moment I've been preparing for even since last year not having preseason. It's almost like I've been training a year just for this first preseason game. I'm sure excited to get out there and get back to playing ball."

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