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Love Must Learn From ‘Teachable Moments,’ Dominate Scout Team

Asked why Jordan Love didn't learn from the first mistake, Packers QBs coach Luke Getsy said: “I think the hardest thing for young guys to do is to let a play go.”
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GREEN BAY, Wis. – Matt LaFleur called Jordan Love’s interception and near-interception “teachable moments.” What will define Love’s career is whether he actually learns anything from those plays.

Love, the Green Bay Packers’ first-round pick in 2020 and potential starting quarterback in 2022, had a rag-tag group consisting of mostly second-stringers moving the ball up and down the field against the Buffalo Bills’ defensive starters on Saturday. However, two bad throws helped spoil a strong outing.

On the second possession, Love’s fourth-down completion to tight end Dominique Dafney gained 23 yards to Buffalo’s 21. However, on first down, Buffalo’s A.J. Epenesa was in Love’s face immediately. Love could have thrown the ball away and lined up for second-and-10. Instead, he chucked it toward Malik Taylor in the end zone but was picked off by Pro Bowl safety Micah Hyde.

On the third possession, a 2-minute drill, Love had the Packers rolling again. Sparked by his 27-yard completion to Taylor, a big-time throw, Green Bay had a first-and-goal at the 10 and a second-and-goal at the 3. A 2-yard loss by Kylin Hill and a delay of game backed up the offense to the 10 for third down. Again, Love had pressure in his face. Again, he threw an ill-advised pass. This one glanced off the fingers of Buffalo linebacker Andre Smith.

So, it’s fair to ask whether Love missed the lesson from those “teachable moments” and, instead, has a troubling flaw to his game.

“I think the hardest thing for young guys to do is to let a play go, right?” quarterbacks coach Luke Getsy responded. “He feels like he can make a play every single time he has the opportunity. So, when you talk about teachable moments, that’s slowing the game down. The interception was on first-and-10. We’ve got three more downs to go get it. The other one, it’s later in the downs and we get to kick a field goal.

“I sat him down right after the second opportunity and I just said: ‘Hey, dude, look. It’s 13-0, you’ve had 200 yards of offense in the first half, you’re kicking butt. Look at how important the ball is in this league.’ And so, I think it’s those moments, when you just sit back and say, ‘Look, this thing could be 13-10’ or whatever. That’s what he didn’t get last year not having preseason and all that stuff. So, really glad he was able to get that. That’s, to me, the biggest (thing): taking in the whole picture, seeing how valuable the ball is and move on and let’s get to the next play and see what happens.”

Love completed 12-of-18 passes for 149 yards and the one interception. In three first-half possessions, he led the Packers to 197 yards. That’s a heck of a day considering all the firepower watching the game from the sideline. Ultimately, though, the only things that matter are the scoreboard and the turnover table.

At Utah State, Love threw 17 interceptions during his final season – most in the nation. His mentor, three-time MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers, threw 17 interceptions the past four seasons. With Rodgers owning the best interception percentage in NFL history, it’s little wonder why the Packers are perennial winners.

“Especially coming off of that little bit of an injury, I thought (Love) did a really good job,” offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett said. “I think that he had a couple of those errors that you just want to take out of his game. When people were running right at him, that’s the first time you get to see how he’s going to react. So, I think that’s good for him to put in his memory bank, that (if) he can just take care of the football, those drives are going to be even better. I thought he strung together a couple really good drives — and versus a really good defense, and at their house. So, it was really good, and he’s just going to keep getting better.”

The process of getting better will change for the next four-plus months. Assuming Rodgers stays healthy, Love’s competitive work will be relegated to running the scout team against the No. 1 defense on the practice field. Rodgers used to relish those opportunities – the “championship belt” celebration was born from throwing touchdown passes against the starting defense. Now, it’s time for Love to take ownership over that part of the team. Thursday padded practices will become his Sunday.

“It’s his turn to really step up in the room and have a bigger role in our game plan and have a bigger role in finding things for Aaron on film and say, ‘Hey, these are some keys, these are some tips,’” Getsy said. “The mental side of it, he’s got to dominate. And then when we’re on the practice field, he’s got to dominate and take advantage of all those repetitions that he’ll get against our defense or in those moments where he’ll take reps for our offense, too. But he’s got a lot of work to do, and I think there’s a lot of opportunities to grow mentally and physically as we go through the season to help him prepare for whenever his opportunity is.”