Pandemic Sidetracks Love’s Development

Bill Huber

GREEN BAY, Wis. – The NFL’s coronavirus-driven offseason has been a challenge for second-year Green Bay Packers coach Matt LaFleur.

But, hey, at least he’s not a first-year coach.

“I don’t even like thinking about it. It brings on anxiety,” LaFleur said on Thursday’s “Wilde & Tausch” on ESPN Wisconsin.

LaFleur also is fortunate that he has a veteran starting quarterback in Aaron Rodgers. The team used its first-round pick on Jordan Love, who had a brilliant sophomore season at Utah State but struggled through a coaching change and personnel losses as a junior in 2019. Under the best of circumstances, getting a rookie quarterback ready to play is a challenge. These, of course, are not the best of circumstances given the state of the world and its impact on the NFL.

To be sure, it’s quite a contrast between the quarterbacks. Rodgers has the best touchdown-to-interception ratio and lowest interception percentage in NFL history. Rodgers’ ability to make big plays while avoiding big plays for the opponent is a defining characteristic. Love, on the other hand, threw 20 touchdowns vs. 17 interceptions last season, the latter number being the most in the nation.

Love is a project, albeit a talented one. He will need time to reach his potential. The pandemic and resulting loss of offseason practices has at least sidetracked that development.

“I think anytime with a young quarterback, there’s so much to learn,” LaFleur said. “Obviously, you’d love to have him in the building so you can put him through the proper fundamentals, because I think when you look at the quarterback position – and all positions, really, for that matter – it all starts with the fundamentals. So, we have got to try to show him as many good examples of what it looks like, because the challenge is he’s going out on his own and working those different techniques and fundamentals but you’re not there to be able to correct him or show him the right way. So, we’ve got to present as much to him so he can get that good visual so that he can go out there and replicate that.”