Jordan Love era has begun for Packers

Ross Litscher, Sports Editor

The long-awaited Aaron Rodgers to the New York Jets trade was finally completed on April 25. This means that for the first time since 2004, Aaron Rodgers will not be on the Packers roster. More so, this is the first time since 2008 that we’re starting a new quarterback era in Green Bay and it will only be the third time since the early ‘90s that the team has shifted main starting quarterbacks.
That’s some crazy consistency that you just don’t see very often in the NFL. The Packers are the only team since 2008 to have one quarterback at the top of the depth chart every season, and only the Steelers (Ben Roethlisberger, Kenny Pickett), Ravens (Joe Flacco, Lamar Jackson), Chargers (Phillip Rivers, Justin Herbert), Giants (Eli Manning, Daniel Jones) and Cowboys (Tony Romo, Dak Prescott) have had two quarterbacks at the top of their depth charts in that span.
Quarterback turnover is something Packer fans aren’t used to but are going to have to get adjusted to quickly. Bring in Jordan Love.
The Packers stunned everyone in 2020 when they used their first-round pick on quarterback Jordan Love out of Utah State. This was surprising for a lot of reasons, the main one being that the team had a future hall of fame quarterback in his prime on the roster at that time.
What was more surprising was that Rodgers was apparently not aware that the team was going to take a quarterback in the first round. So it’s safe to say, the Jordan Love era didn’t get off to the greatest start.
Love sat behind Rodgers the first three seasons of his career (not unlike Aaron himself, who backed up Brett Favre the first three seasons of his career). Love went from being third string and not appearing in any games his rookie year to being the primary backup the next two seasons, slowly developing and appearing in limited action in 10 games. He made one start for the injured Rodgers in 2021 at Kansas City, a loss where Love threw for 190 yards on 19 of 34 passing, throwing one touchdown and one interception.
He’s always had the physical traits to be a starting quarterback, and limited appearances in 2022 gave Green Bay confidence that he could take the reins fully.
So now we’ll get to know the new starter.
Love was recruited to Utah State out of Liberty High School in Bakersfield, California. The Aggies were the only Football Bowl Subdivision school to offer Love a scholarship. He began his freshman season in 2017 as a backup before starting the final six games of the season. His breakout year was 2018, throwing for over 3,500 yards and 32 touchdowns, both second in school history; the team went 11-2, tying a school record for wins in a season. It was only the third 10-win season in Aggies’ history.
He slumped a bit in 2019, going through numerous coaching and player changes around him before the season started. He decided to forgo his senior year and enter the 2020 NFL Draft. He ended his college career with 8,600 passing yards and 60 touchdowns, both second in school history.
Love has always had the physical traits to be a great quarterback, and learning from one of the best to ever do it for three seasons has surely grown how he approaches the game from a mental standpoint. Although expectations for the Packers aren’t too high this season, Love will have some pressure on him for a couple reasons.
First off, the 2020 quarterback class is turning out to be one of the best quarterback classes we’ve ever seen. Joe Burrow and Jalen Hurts have already played in Super Bowls, Justin Herbert won rookie of the year in 2020 and has put up some insane stat lines and Tua Tagovailoa has proven to be a quality starter.
Of the first five quarterbacks selected, Love is the only one who has not been the main starter for his team up until now. Love will be compared to those guys for most of his career, as well as the Packer starters before him. Most teams don’t just roll out two straight Hall of Fame quarterbacks, but that’s what the Packers have done with Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers. Even the storylines are similar; I already mentioned both Love and Rodgers spending their first three seasons on the bench, finally getting an opportunity when the guy ahead of them got traded to the New York Jets (yes, Favre too; Hollywood can’t even get away with a script like that).
Being next in line after that won’t be easy, but I believe it’s a challenge Love will take well.
Going forward, we shouldn’t get impatient if there are some growing pains for the first-time starter. We may not see a return to the postseason this year, but the flashes of Jordan Love’s arm talent will no doubt be exciting to watch.
I’ve been saying for a while that the future of the Packers could be extremely bright, which was why trading Rodgers made the most sense. Love throwing to the young duo of Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs could be explosive for years to come and is something I can’t wait to begin watching on fall Sundays this year.
So while we thank Rodgers for everything he has done for the green and gold, aA new era has arrived in Green Bay and Jordan Love is at the center of it.